Petsit Business Advertising

Marketing & advertising your pet care business

Whether you're just starting out or have been in business a while, marketing and advertising your business will probably quite high on your list of priorities that you'll be concerned on an ongoing basis. If you're like most business owners you'll constantly be on the lookout for ways to get the most out of your money as you work to get your name out to the people who are likely to need your services. While the subject of marketing can obviously be a never-ending subject, the following will help get you started and hopefully spark some ideas to get your business noticed.

Decide who your ideal client will be.
If you take time to put down on paper the type of client you want to cater to, you may see some trends that will make your marketing strategy more effective. For example, if you intend to specialize in caring exclusively for dogs, you may decide to put flyers on a public bulletin board at a dog park. If you're more interested in cats, you may want to speak with a veterinarian who only cares for cats. Whatever your audience is, once you identify who they are, you may then be able to identify where they are so you can get your information to them.

Investigate possible advertising options.
When you're deciding how and where to advertise your services, try to determine where you'll reach the largest number of pet owners with the least amount of effort and expense. The more targeted your audience is, the better your chances will be of gaining new clients. For example, an ad in your local newspaper may bring in some clients but advertising in an area pet-related publication will most likely be more effective. Similarly, advertising in a citywide newspaper, may not be as effective as advertising in a newspaper targeting the neighborhoods that you serve.

When you consider a certain type of advertising, check with other business owners in your area to see if it's been effective for them. In some communities there may be certain types of advertising that may be more effective than others for pet care businesses. Talk to other business owners and find out what has and what hasn't worked for them. Listen to what they say and evaluate their comments for your particular business. Then, once you decide on how you'll advertise, create the best ad of that type possible.

Be consistent and patient with your advertising.
When you decide on a particular venue for advertising, give it a chance to work. There's a theory that advertising is most effective when the potential customer sees an ad three times. For example, if you decide to advertise in your local paper one time, don't stop with just that one time ad. Let your ad run for a minimum of three inserts before deciding whether or not to discontinue it. It helps people to become familiar with your service or product and seeing it each week when they open their neighborhood newspaper may be what it takes to get them to call you.

Evaluate the effectiveness of your ads.
You may advertise in five different places and although you will want to track which of these five ads prompted someone to call you, it may not always be possible to do with complete accuracy. A potential client may see all five of these ads over time and give you a call because your name has become ingrained in their mind for the service that you offer. When they are asked where they heard about you, they may remember one or more of those ads, or none. This doesn't mean your advertising is not working! It's just the opposite. Because they saw your ads repeatedly and in different places, this made you more memorable than the one (and only one) ad they may have seen for your competitor. Keep asking people where they found you, keep tweaking your ads, and over time, you'll decide what combination of advertising works best for you.

Keep an ongoing advertising presence for your business.
You'll want to keep your name out there but kick it up a notch for times when you know people will need your services. You obviously want to get new clients throughout the year, but if you're just starting out, or have lost a number of clients for various reasons, take advantage of the times when people are more likely to go out of town and need your services. September through early December, and again a few weeks before spring break in your area are prime times when you may want to put a bit more time, energy, and even expense into your advertising efforts. Since many people go out of town in during these times, you'll have a lot of pet owners who are looking for pet care. You'll also have a lot of established pet sitting and dog walking businesses that are booked and will need to turn people away.

Having a website is important.
Since we live in a wired society, I can't stress enough the importance of a website. Your website is an always-available document that allows you to sell yourself and your business. Whether you design it yourself, or hire someone to do it for you, you'll invest some time at the beginning but then once it's created, it allows you to tell potential clients about your services, your credentials, satisfied clients, and more with very little ongoing effort. And, unlike traditional print advertising that will have a per/person cost, your website allows for unlimited views with no added cost.

A few things to keep in mind about your website.
When you ask a potential client where they found you, they may simply say, "I saw your website." They may not remember all of the steps they took to get to your website. You must keep in mind though, that they had to get to your website FROM SOMEWHERE. They didn't just go to their computer and see your website magically appear. They may have found it by doing a search on Google or Yahoo for pet care professionals in your area, from a link on a veterinarian's website, or from a directory such as Your best bet to track where visits to your website come from is to install a statistics program (often referred to as web stats). There are many versions available, and you may in fact have free web stats with your website hosting.

Presenting your business in writing in a professional manner.
When you put something in print, whether it be brochures, a website, letter, email, or handwritten notes, present your material in the most professional way possible. Everything that you put in writing is a representation of your business and should be as clean and error-free as possible. Although you won't want every letter or email you write to be stuffy and formal, follow the rules of good writing:

If the written word or artistic endeavors aren't your forte, hire someone to do this type of work for you. Presenting professional material to the public will show that you pay attention to detail; a trait your clients will want from someone who cares for their pets and home. Putting information out that is not professional will reflect poorly on you and your business, and in fact, may even be the deciding factor when a potential client calls on someone other than you to care for their pets.

Network with other professionals in the pet industry.
A very important part of your marketing efforts will be to network with other professionals in pet care businesses. This may other pet sitters, dog walkers, dog daycares, veterinarians, owners of pet supply stores, event managers, and others. Seek out networking groups in your area that cater to your specific niche. For a list of some of the groups throughout the country, see our network page. Network groups are a great way to learn, share learning experiences, and trade referrals. The more industry related people who know about you, the greater the likelihood they'll refer potential clients to you, or may even contract your services themselves.

If you truly believe you offer exceptional service in your industry, work toward making your advertising materials equally as impressive. Put some time, effort, and resources into your marketing plan and your advertising materials and you'll most likely have more than enough clients to keep you busy!