Dog walking can be a very rewarding job. Spending time outside with dogs is, however, not all you have to do to have a successful dog walking business.
Advertising and marketing are a part of the deal. In order to have clients you must first somehow attract them.
This doesn’t have to be a daunting task. In this article we are going to discuss the most common and effective ways you can advertise pet sitting services nowadays.
We are going to have a look at how you can use social media in a practical way. We’ll talk about leaflet distribution as one of the best forms of local advertising and we’ll touch on other auxiliary ideas as well.
We’ll keep our focus local, which in our case is London. We are not going to discuss how you can build a multinational pet sitting business with billions of Instagram hits.
We’ll focus on practical ways you can advertise dog walking and pet sitting services in your local area.
How to use social media as a pet sitter
Making interesting and engaging content for social media can be a real challenge for most businesses.
As a pet sitter or a dog walker you however have a unique advantage. Content with pets and dogs is interesting and engaging just by the fact that the pets in it.
On top of this, pet owners are often open to looking up new training methods, places to walk their dogs in their area, nutritional tips and more.
You are going to be best served by using visual platforms like Instagram for your pet related content.
The biggest challenge in using social media, that everyone has to contend with, is the intense competition that takes place on these platforms.
Because of the possibility of reaching a huge number of people, some of the most creative minds in the world are paid a lot of money to focus on creating content that is meant to capture the attention of millions.
On top of this large brands spend tens of millions of pounds on social media.
You don’t have to feel like you have to compete with this.
You should mostly care about people in the areas you can serve with your services. If you are a dog walker based in West London, you don’t need a hundred thousand people from Australia watching your videos.
You can create informative and engaging content about pet nutrition, training or local walking spots and pay Instagram to serve these posts to people that live in the areas you are working in.
You can then combine these useful and interesting posts with ads for your services.
This way, you can get yourself on the screens of people that have pets, are interested in pets and live in your local area. You can do this without having to compete with everyone else in the world at the same time.
How to use flyers and leaflets as a dog walker
Keeping in the spirit of mostly focusing on your local area, leaflet distribution is an excellent way to market a dog walking or pet sitting business.
Leaflets are one of the most effective ways of advertising locally in London. The physical nature of the flyer is something that digital formats can’t replicate.
You can have a look at the statistics about how many people keep the flyers they receive and how they interact with them in our leaflet distribution statistics blog here.
One of the best things about leaflet distribution is the fact that you can reach every single home in the area you select.
As long as the home has a letterbox, they will receive your flyers. This is very different to social media advertising. On social media only the people that use the particular app you are using will see your advertising.
Leaflets simply make it into every household that has a letterbox.
It is important that you have at least a basic understanding of how leaflet distribution works before you start spending money on it.
Please feel free to refer to our page dedicated to explaining all the important terminology and concepts relating to leaflet distribution here.
The idea could be summarised this way. Make sure to use a reputable company that has experienced working in your local area (in our case London).
Make sure that you can speak to real people in this company about where you are with your dog walking businesses and what you are looking to achieve with your flyer delivery campaign.
See if this company can help you or advise you on the design of your flyers, printing and storage.
On the more technical front. Go with A5 leaflets, shared delivery and try repeated drops where possible.
Should you have a dog sitting website?
Most businesses can still benefit from having a good website. Even though most of people’s attention online is on social media, clients that are seriously interested are likely to visit your website.
You can use your website to include testimonials, display any accreditations you might hold and give more detailed information about your services.
If you like writing in longer form, you can also keep a blog. If you have useful things to share in written form on your website, you can benefit from this as search engines reward websites with useful written content by better rankings in search results.
Dog walking and networking
Since the beginning of this article everything we’ve discussed has been focused on advertising locally to where you actually do business.
Your networking should take on the same philosophy. Are there any local pet shops or groomers in your area?
They might be open to cooperating with you. You can recommend your clients use the services of your friendly local pet groomer and they can recommend your dog walking services in return.
These partnerships can be very lucrative as an in-person recommendation from a trusted source is infinitely more powerful than any form of advertising.
With that said, make sure that the local businesses you are partnering up with are reliable and are doing a good job. Once you partner up in this way, you are tying your reputation to whoever you are recommending.
Local reputation is everything in the dog walking business. People need to trust you with their pets and sometimes even access to their homes. You need to care about the reputation of your pet sitting business and you must make sure it isn’t carelessly damaged.
It can also be very helpful to get to know the other dog walkers in your area. It’s good for you to have someone you can recommend instead of yourself when you get a call from a client you can’t serve.
What if you get ill? Can you have someone take over your duties for a while?
Having relationships with reliable and trustworthy local dog walkers and pet sitters can make the difference between you enjoying your job and being a slave to it. If you can develop a local network of people in your line of work – do it! You will not regret it.