Dog walking can be a rewarding & fulfilling way to earn a living. As the business owner of a dog walking business, attracting new clients is crucial for your business growth. A steady customer base will generate a constant revenue stream for you but finding new customers may take some patience, time & hard work on your end. If you have decided to become a full-time professional dog-walker or you already are in the industry for a while & looking for tips to grow your customer base then read ahead because in this post, we share some quick & inexpensive tips to help you in getting started & attracting new clients.
1. Invest in your website
Your website acts as the digital flyer for your business. Your website will help you in attracting attention, displaying relevant business information, sharing your experience with dogs & also facilitating a 2-way communication between you & your potential customers. Start by defining your target audience & understanding their mindset.
Your website should act as the ultimate guide for customers who’re interested in knowing about your business. Include important elements on your website like your unique value proposition (what makes you different from your competitors), introduction, contact information, customer testimonials, answers to frequently asked questions & relevant disclosures. Don’t worry about the aesthetics, but focus on sharing relevant information with your potential customers. Use pre-defined templates from your content management system Wix, WordPress, Squarespace, etc. & customize it according to your taste.
Once you’ve successfully built your business website content, fill it with stunning images & personalize it with your pictures & br& elements. When your website is ready to use, promote it extensively on all modes of communication. Harness the power of social media & engage with your audience via pictures. Submit your website to free online directories like Rover, Pawshake, Dogtopia, Urban Sitter, PupKeep, DogVacay, Fetch, Care & so on to allow potential customers to find you at the right time.
2. Add enough call to action on your website
A call to action is the text on the website which urges the user to take some specific action. Common examples of call to action text are “Hurry! Book Now!”, “Sign Up Today”, “Click to Know More” & so on. Without a clear call to action, the visitors will not know where to go next to purchase your services & your efforts will be wasted. Having a clear call to action text on the homepage will allow your visitors to seamlessly navigate through to the relevant next steps.
One of the easiest ways to urge visitors to book is to create your own dog-walking online appointment booking schedule. Utilize one of the unlimited free trial software like SuperSaaS which allows you to set up your booking schedule online without the need to share any payment information. Once you set up your availability in your online booking schedule, simply integrate it into your website & your visitors can directly book an available session with you. Offering a first free professional demo session will allow you to attract many new customers & build trust with them.
The free version of SuperSaaS online booking system allows up to 50 upcoming appointments which are sufficient for a budding dog-walking entrepreneur. You can upgrade to a paid subscription when your business grows. With a system like SuperSaaS, you can automate many dimensions of your business like sending automated text/email reminders & follow-up messages, accepting payments from customers, managing customer information & more. In addition to that, you can also gather more customer information with the help of custom forms. Request more specific information about the dog or the pet-owner before meeting them to customize your communication with them.
Utilize a dog-walking online booking system to give your business a more professional feel & lure more customers to try out your dog-walking services.
3. Don’t leave your home without business cards
You must be wondering why you need a business card at an age where most customers can find you online. Well, for most pet owners their pets are like their kids & they trust word-of-mouth from fellow parents (pet-owners) above any marketing material. This means, sharing business information via your business card is a great way to reach out to a wider audience.
Your business card is the first impression of your business on your customer, so make sure your business card is styled accordingly. You can use the free designing service Canva to design your card & use a low-print package online to get your first few business cards printed.
You can use one of the predefined templates, or simply add your photo with your favorite dog & add your business information on your business card. include a call to action text on your business card like “Book Your Free Session Today” QR code which redirects users to your online booking schedule or something like “Find out more at” with your website address. Share these business cards with family & friends, promote it to your neighbors or few potential clients who are interested in knowing more about your business.
Here are some other great ideas where your business cards will prove handy for you:
i) Hospital Bulletin Boards: Post them on hospital bulletin boards to reach out to patients who are unable to take care of their pets & may be looking for help.
ii) Veterinarian Clinics: Reach out to pet owners who own a dog & may be interested in your services.
iii) Pet-Owning Households: Anytime you see a household with dogs drop your flyer or share your business card with them. They might be looking for services like you.
iv) Local Pet Food Shop: Don’t forget to share your card & flyers with local pet-food outlets.
v) Anyone You Work With: Share it with your hairdresser, dry cleaner or anyone who you meet locally. They may have a friend or a colleague looking for such services & handing out the business card to them will make it easier for them to connect you to the relevant audience.
4. Network with established dog walkers & pet sitters
Networking with relevant people can help you land many new clients for your dog-walking business. If you really want to become a part of someone’s network, simply meeting them once wouldn’t be enough. You need to build credibility & trustworthiness so people feel confident enough to refer you to their network.
When you’re just starting out connect with other dog walkers in the park, engage with conversation with other dog-walking groups and attend events & pet-friendly fairs to find a like-minded audience. Engage in conversation & learn from their experiences. To ensure they do not forget about you, send them a quick follow-up message.
It’s difficult to remember everyone you meet at networking events, so make sure you use a free CRM system like Hubspot CRM to maintain basic information about the people you meet. If you’re using the SuperSaaS booking system, you store notes about your specific conversations via a supervisor field or by connecting the system to the free Hubspot CRM system. Adding notes to each individual will allow you to refer back to the conversations & build a strong relationship with fellow pet-lovers.
5. Share your love for dogs on social media
Leverage the power of social media to share your love for dogs & expand your network via online channels. Utilize Facebook pages & Twitter business handle to expand your online presence. Share your love for dogs online with relevant content like pictures, tips & tricks, articles on grooming & so on. Engage with your audience by sharing content that touches their pain points & content which will genuinely improve their life.
Keep your social media handles alive by posting content regularly. However, this doesn’t mean that you need to spend time every day in promoting your business on social media. Instead spend one day a month on designing your promotions, thinking of new ideas to engage with your audience & schedule these promotional posts in advance for the upcoming months. Explore different times & days for posting your content on each channel.
If you’re unsure where to get ideas about the content, you can read through here for some tactics you can use for your content marketing:
i) Ask engaging questions: Posts asking questions about people’s pets like “What are the 3 things you love about your dog?”, “What is your favorite thing to do together?”, “How did you get your pet?” & so on.
ii) Photo contests: Conduct photo contests where you request pet owners to share a cute or a funny picture with their pet. If you don’t want to spend too much time in engaging with the audience, you can create “Caption this photo” contest.
iii) Share videos & articles: Share videos or articles around the pain points of the pet owner or the dogs themselves. When your audience reads content that is genuinely helpful to them, they’re more likely to become a loyal social media fan & promote your content in their network.
iv) Create a dog walking club:
Find out about the pet influencers in your area & connect with them to promote your business. You can also explore the avenue of becoming a pet influencer yourself to start earning some extra income by collaborating with outside brands.
6. Reach out to existing dog walkers & pet sitters
Despite what you may believe, you’re not the best & the most efficient in your work. It’s impossible to know all there is about the dogs. Analyzing what your competitors are doing & getting to know what they’re doing well can help you in taking your business to greater heights.
Attend local dog events & reach out to existing pet sitters to know more about their business. Build partnerships by sharing valuable industry information & by talking about your experiences. There’s a good chance you both have faced similar challenges. In addition, as a business owner, it’s important for you to not get stuck in doing the same things over & over again. Learning about what others are doing can give you insights into your own behavior as well as ideas about what you can do better.
You can start local networking by sending out a quick introduction email to the local pet sitters in your community & inviting them over for a quick cup of coffee. In addition to this, you can also offer free volunteering services to local dog shelter & rescue center. Even if you can spend 2-3 days per month, it’ll be a great opportunity for you to meet & connect with new dog-loving people. The group will be more likely to promote your services in their network & it’s a win-win situation for you.
Promotional discounts are attractive
Offering discounts work very effectively in enticing potential customers to try out your services. Discounts not only help shoppers in saving money but also helps you in attracting new customers who otherwise wouldn’t try out your services. Offering limited-time discounts work great for increasing your br& awareness & in also gaining social media followers.
Create a discount strategy which is competitive, helps you in generating profit & increasing your customer loyalty. When you create your online booking schedule for dog-walking services with SuperSaaS, you can also set up customized discounts & promotions for your customers. You can set up different discount offers at different stages of your business, for example, a one-time discount like sign up & claim 25% off during the pre-launch stage, sell packages like “Book 10 services for the cost of 5” when you want to encourage customers to book more often, offer time-based discounts like “offer valid only on weekend bookings” when you want to increase revenue during peak seasons or offer holiday offers to attract customer attention.
While offers & discounts don’t work for everyone, by understanding what kind of customer segment you’re targeting & what kind of offers seem attractive to them you can decide what works the best for your business.
About the Author:
A storyteller & an enthusiast marketer, Sneha Mittal works as the Marketing & Customer Service Manager for SuperSaaS dog walking & pet care services appointment scheduling system. Sneha is a foodie & wanderluster who pens her thought on her blog Mr & Mrs Sachdeva. She specialized in marketing, business development & productivity & helps entrepreneurs in growing their business.