One of the great things about having a dog training business is that it’s such a deep well of information that you can share, for free, to help people.
I can already hear you! You want me to tell them how to fix their dog for free? Why would I do that?
Hang on, we thought the same thing. Here’s what happened, they kept coming back, telling their friends, calling for training and our business grew so fast it wasn’t even funny. It wet their appetite for Jim to come train their dog.
Why? The term is reciprocity. What this means is when you give something to someone, they are more inclined to want to give you something back. For the majority of people this is an ingrained, common feeling to want to do or give something to someone who has been kind to them or helped them. As long as this is not abused it can be the beginning of creating a community around your business.
Here’s how we give something away and get something wonderful back – a community of dog owners we can serve.
We have, on our website (the one for dog training in Houston) a 7 day email course we give them for free. They simply give us their name and email and Jim shows up in their inbox for 7 days in a row, helping them fix 7 very common training mistakes they are making. It solves a problem for them.
This Causes a Couple of Things to Happen.
It starts the process of allowing a dog owner, who does not know us, to begin to see how we train and to begin to start connecting with us. It starts a connection that begins right off the bat with the dog owner getting something they need. It was easy for them to get, simple for them to do —and it cost them nothing.
We then receive their name and email which allows us to send them our outstanding helpful newsletters. Remember that newsletters are a marketing tool that gets eyes on your business.
You Are Doing Newsletters Online? Aren’t you?
The goal of a newsletter is to display your knowledge and expertise, as well as build trust among your readers.
If you’re still doing newsletters the old fashioned way of printing them out you are missing so many opportunities to have more and more people learn about your business, and you’re spending a lot of money on printing. Doing online newsletters is very cost effective. We send out over 2,000 online newsletters two times a week to our dog training clients and to those who received our free training. It costs less than $30 a month to do this. How much do you spend printing newsletters?
PLUS and yes, here I go again, a printed newsletter does not have links that are clickable that take them to your site right then and there. I so want to impress upon you how critical this is.
Also remember this, when you are done training a customer’s dog, you immediately get them on your newsletter list. Why? Having them receive your newsletter consistently, allows you to always be on their mind when they get a new dog OR a friend asks for a referral.
Remember the article I wrote called “The Eyes Have It”. The point of that article was to get you to realize that the more people that “see your business” the more your business can grow.
Giving away free information and then following up with an online newsletter is one, of many ways to accomplish that.
The other amazing part of giving free info and then being able to communicate to those folks is that they share their online newsletters with their friends.
So one pair of eyes that read your newsletter now multiplies by the number of times that newsletter is shared. All of a sudden, you have a whole bunch of “eyes on your business” that you didn’t have on your business a month ago and it cost you almost nothing!
Guidelines for giving away free info.
You must give something away that has high value and is aligned with your business. Think of a common question you get and make your give-away how to fix that problem. I think as dog trainers we immediately think about some major behavior problem to fix. Reality is, the majority of dog owners out there would prefer a “how to” on one simple thing that can solve many problems.
You would be surprised how many people do not know how to teach a proper “sit”. Your job would then be to put together a step by step of how to get a great sit, show what problems it can solve, then you put it up for free on your site.
BUT: you don’t call it “how to teach your dog to sit”. Make it interesting. Something like:
One command that solves multiple dog problems. Then your report would show how a sit can fix those problems. Pick maybe 3 common problems that a sit can fix and explain step by step how to achieve that. Make it good and you’ve got a potential new customer.
See how ours looks on our dog training site. Look at the upper right hand side of the site. Hint: it’s proven that when someone looks at something like a website, the first place their eyes go is upper right hand corner. That is where you want you opt-in to be.
All of this allows you to begin to build a community that revolves around how you can help dog owners and build your dog training business.
Please notice that I put helping dog owners first and build your dog training business second.
Your first and foremost goal should always be to serve your client.
I hope this has helped you think about growing/marketing your dog training business in a way you might not have thought of but a way that is also easy to do. Just like all the other ways we market our dog training. If it’s not easy and something Jim and I can do, we don’t do it.
Leila Martin, is the brains behind the success of petiquettedog.com on the marketing side. She has run our online and offline marketing system since 2006. Leila’s ability to grow our online presence using both a website and social media in the dog training world has been a critical part of our success. She has tripled the number of visitors to our website and increased our revenue by 25% each year. Our appointment book is always filled.Bottom line: We do what we teach and we teach what we do.
In her spare time Leila can be seen in her office dancing with our black lab Sammy Burwell