You’ve thought about trying something new to market your business.
In fact, you’ve already imagined those new clients filling out your schedule! Maybe you’ve even thought a bit about what you could afford to spend, or done some brainstorming on what you might want to try.
But you haven’t quite settled on what new marketing tactics you want to try…
Back when I figured launched the site I shared 10 Marketing Tactics to help you find new clients, and today I’m back to share even more.
A big thanks to all the folks who participated on Facebook when I asked for things they’ve tried!
Host an Event
Have some space? Consider hosting an event!
There are lots of options, depending on the focus of your business. You could host a free training day at a local shelter for recent adoptees, do “ask a trainer” events once a week at a local pet store, or even host a fun run, match, or trial.
If you don’t have your own space, you could offer to give presentations to the local vet clinic, 4H group, school, or Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts troop.
Gifts for Other Local Pet Businesses
Most dog trainers have tried to get an in at their local vet or pet store — but have you gone the extra step of dropping off yummy treats on occasion?
Popsicles or fruit pops at a local vet in the summer, pizza at the local pet store, or other goodies can sweeten the relationship (litereally) and help score some extra points that might net you extra referrals!
Attach a card with some information about your business and hand deliver the treats to chat with the staff when you drop it off.
Train in Public
Training your own dogs in public made my initial list — but I wanted to put it back here again with a new twist! This time, I want to suggest you think about scheduling client lessons in a public place.
Your clients’ dogs practice working in new places, helping build their skills, and you train in public which lets potential new clients see you out and about well a well trained dog! You can also do this with a group class — just meet in a new location each week and you’ll be surprised how many members of the public will be interested in what you’re doing.
Locally, we used to do group dog walking events, where students were invited to join for a free or low cost “dog walk” at a local park once a week to socialize and ask a trainer any questions they might have, all for free. There wasn’t a professional curriculum, so it was less work than a full class, but still plenty of fun with real value for both students and trainer.
Whichever option you try, just be sure you’re packing some extra business cards to hand out to anyone who expresses interest!
Invest in Public Relations
Reach out to local news organizations — local newspapers, magazines, television stations and radio stations — and offer up your expertise!
If you have specific news, or something newsworthy and dog-related happens, you can reach out then, or reach out seasonally with ideas they could cover! For example, you might want to pitch them on talking about teaching your dog better greetings around the Holidays, Tricks in September around “back to school” time, or puppy training in the spring when most people tend to get little ones!
Wear Logo’d Gear
As the owner of your business, it’s worth remembering you can be your best advertisement! Wearing a shirt or jacket with your logo and the words “dog trainer” displayed somewhere can easily open the door to conversations with other members of your local community.
Just be prepared for the “How could I fix…” questions that are sure to come your way.
We’ve talked about social media before; NextDoor is an app that’s a private social media platform targeted at just specific neighborhoods. It’s intended to help neighbors chat, share complaints, and share recommendations! If you service a few specific communities, joining NextDoor and participating there can be a good way to stay on top of the local happenings while also making it a little easier for clients to recommend you.
And one of their “topics to follow” is dogs!! Check out their website at www.nextdoor.com.
Creating handouts (or leave behinds) is another great way to spread the word that you know what you’re talking about, give a little bit of help for free to the masses, and potentially lead new clients to your door!
You can create handouts that can be dropped off at other local pet businesses or even handouts that you can literally ‘leave behind’ when you visit clients, that they can use and/or pass along to their fellow dog owners!
These handouts can be about your business, sure, but it’s often even better to have them be about common problems people run into with their dogs, and how to solve those problems.
If handouts aren’t your thing, at least one Dog Trainer weighed in on Facebook that magnets work well for her! She hands out a few to each of her clients and they often pass them along to their friends… she says it’s not uncommon to go to a new client’s house for the first time and see her magnet on their fridge!
While I’m not usually a big fan of text message marketing, when I asked for ideas in the Facebook group one person shared a text message marketing plan that I thought was pretty clever.
She said she offers 15 minute sessions with a trainer one day a week at a local pet store, where folks can come and ask her questions and get quick help for a few minutes… and then later that week she text messages them, asking how the solutions she shared are working, and if they’ve run into any hiccups that might need additional help!
I love the idea of using texts in that personalized way — and this idea could be adapted for most “in person” marketing events with a little bit of tweaking…
Follow Up with Old Clients
And finally, every marketer’s secret weapon… the easiest way to get new clients is to sell something to someone who has bought something from you before. It’s ALWAYS easier to convince someone who had a good experience with you in the past to come back and spend more money!
One way to approach this is by reaching out using my testimonial template — then, when they tell you the problem they’re struggling with most right now, respond asking if they’d be interested in help!
There’s a good chance you’ll get both a testimonial AND a sale… all with just a few short emails.
As a reminder… The key with marketing is NOT to do ALL the things, but to do the *right* things — work smarter, not harder. After all, your marketing should work for you — you shouldn’t have to spend all your time on your marketing.
Have a question or want to share a tactic that’s worked for you? Leave a comment below!