June 28, 2021
How to Be Smart in a World of Dumb Dog Trainers
Hint: The answer may just be to steal.

dog dressed like a burglar in a suitcase full of money; article on how to make a swipe file

Did that headline make you click?

Because you’re reading this, I’m going to go with yes — and I can’t say I’m surprised. When I first saw the original version of it, it made me click too.

The original? It was How to be smart in a world of dumb bloggers (though he’s since updated and changed it), a blog post over on SmartBlogger. Yup, that’s right — I totally stole the headline from Jon Morrow.

And he says you should too.

In fact, he’s got an entire ebook about it… (No, really. It’s called Headline Hacks and it’s awesome — you can get it on his website.)

So what’s the secret? It’s all about learning how to make a swipe file.

The Art of the Steal

As Jon explains in Headline Hacks, “The best writers are the best thieves.”

But I’d take that one step farther and say the best marketers are thieves, too. (Sometimes they’re so clever about it you may not even realize you’re being marketed to.)

And I think this is one thing all too many dog trainers are missing out on.

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to marketing your dog training business; you just need to watch those around you, and copy what works.

Let me give you an example.

A local Chinese restaurant left a menu on my door the other night; I’d guess their delivery people carry them, and when they have a delivery, they stick a few flyers on the neighbors’ doors. If you’re a dog trainer who does house calls, is there any reason you couldn’t do the same — even if you only limited it to houses where you saw dogs in the yard or other signs of furry friends?

Or, consider this post: it’s a list of 50 ways marketing agencies can find new leads. Many of them are totally applicable (with a few tweaks!) for dog trainers. Why not try a few each week for the next month, and see where it gets you?

Use a Swipe File to Steal Like a Marketer

The concept of borrowing ideas from others in your industry isn’t a new one. In fact, marketers have been doing this since the early days of advertising.

So how do the pros do it?

They keep what’s known as a “swipe file.” Once upon a time, these were actual folders where marketing professionals would keep clippings from magazines, flyers, handouts, newspapers… any and everything that could inspire their work. Nowadays, with so many technological options, swipe files have gone digital. You can even use your Google Drive as a swipe file.

And what you choose to “swipe” is up to you — You may want to save content from other dog trainers you really love and want to recreate. Or maybe you want to keep a file on smart administrative tips and tricks. Maybe it’s stuff on being a great leader.

I’d highly recommend saving all those marketing ideas mentioned earlier!

Whatever you choose to save, make sure you do it in a way that works for you. Want to learn more about how to create a digital swipe file? I’ve got a whole post on it over at Dog Trainer’s Umbrella — check it out here.


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