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15 Marketing Secrets that Every Pet Sitting Business Entrepreneur Should Know

by Kristin Morrison on October 10, 2011

in Dog walking, Pet Business Marketing, Pet Sitting

Have you owned your pet sitting business for a few years and your new client calls have dwindled to….none?

Are you a new pet sitter and not sure what is most important when it comes to marketing?

Here are 15 secrets (shhhh!) that will help rocket your pet sitting business profit higher than it’s ever been (while at the same time putting a smile on your clients’ faces):

  • Know the power of repetition in your marketing, logo and message. Keep your marketing, logo, and message consistent year after year so clients recognize your company year after year.
  • The most important call you will ever get from a pet sitting client is the second service request for your pet sitting or dog walking services. Why? At that point you have the capability to keep that client for the life of your company.
  • Pay attention to the ‘why’ behind all of your client calls. Has this particular client heard good things about your service? Is this client needing last-minute care? Holiday care? Did their neighbor or friend back out of the sit at the last minute so they need a professional company who won’t let them down? Getting to the ‘why’ when clients call will help you target -and market- to similar clients in the future.
  • One of the most common mistakes most pet sitting business owners make in using the phone is failing to track results when it comes to client calls. Are you tracking your new client calls? Some clients are very busy and require a minimum of 2 or 3 callbacks in order for you to book the service. Keep a log of new client calls and a record of how many times you’ve called that particular client. You don’t want to ‘bug’ them but you do want to show your motivation in gaining them as a new pet sitting client. Most people will appreciate your consistency and follow through.
  • Marketing activities in your pet sitting business should be designed and implemented to increase profits. Sounds basic, right? Yet many pet sitters will conduct expensive marketing campaigns but when asked how much profit those campaigns generated they will often have no idea! Pay special attention to profit generated as a result of your various marketing campaigns (especially those expensive campaigns!) Keep a marketing log: track how clients found out about your service and keep a record of the ratio of ‘marketing costs to profit generated’ as a result of a particular marketing action.
  • Don’t forget about your current pet sitting clients when you are marketing to new clients! Did you know that it costs five times as much to generate a new pet sitting client as it does to keep an existing pet sitting client? Remember this when you are talking to your existing clients—treat them with love, respect and care and they will be your clients for life. (And you can spend less on marketing. Yay!)
  • Pay attention to what services your clients request from you. If you find various clients asking for a particular service over and over and you don’t currently offer it then consider offering that service as a new income stream. They will be happy and so will you!
  • Don’t think that having a superior service or a large company will sell you. Selling your service involves: clarity about what you offer and the ability to communicate that in your marketing materials and via email and the phone,  consistency and exceptional service, exceptional follow through and impeccable service, listening to what the client wants and a helpful attitude in providing what they most need.
  • Guess what? People don’t buy pet sitting or dog walking services, they buy the emotional benefit and solution they think that your pet care service will provide. What are those benefits? Peace of mind, a feeling of relief that their beloved pet (child) is taken care of, release of guilt for leaving their pet when they travel, etc. Knowing the benefits you are providing for a particular client will help you speak to the emotion behind what your clients really want from you.
  • To reap powerful marketing results with a direct mail company will cost you a minimum of $1.50 per piece. Ouch. Try doing your own direct marketing instead: get dog license owner addresses/emails from your local humane society or city hall if they are available. Or ask your local pet rescue organization, pet store, or dog groomer for their email list or to be included in their next online newsletter. Offer to pay for advertising or to highlight their business in your next monthly newsletter in exchange for their doing the same for your pet sitting business.
  • Did you know that the average pet sitting and dog walking business never hears from approximately 96% of its unhappy clients? Here’s what you can do about this: Email or mail a customer service survey to all clients every time they use your service. Your clients are more apt to write down their complaints about your pet sitting company rather than verbalize their complaints to you. Call clients when you receive an unhappy survey and ask with loving kindness: “How can I make this right?” This question, (and I know this from personal experience), will usually soften the heart of even the most unhappy, disgruntled client. Asking this question means you really care and that caring in your voice and your kind offer goes straight from your heart to theirs. It can turn a disagreement with a client into a virtual lovefest. Try it. You’ll see what I mean.
  • Did you know that 50% of your pet sitting clients who complain about your service would do business with your pet sitting company again if their complaints were handled satisfactorily? How are you handling complaints? What can you do differently to solve client issues about your service and win over your unhappy clients?
  • Your pet sitting and dog walking clients are at least three times as likely to talk about a bad experience with your pet sitting company as a good experience. It’s important to listen and learn from your client’s unhappy experiences. That’s one of the ways that a pet sitting company matures: dealing with client complaints.
  • Marketing is everyone’s business, regardless of position in your pet sitting and dog walking business. What is your role when it comes to marketing? What is your staff’s role? Encourage your staff to market by dropping off flyers to vets, groomers, and pet stores. Purchase T-shirts for staff to wear while walking dogs. Pay your staff member a monthly amount to put a logo on their car.
  • Get to know your ‘top dog’ clients—the 20% of pet sitting or dog walking service users who account for 80% of the total use for that particular service. These clients are your bread and butter. Treat all your clients with love and respect and give these clients extras to keep them coming back: find out when their –and their pets- birthdays are, send them a holiday gift, send them a free visit or walk coupon ‘just because’, verbalize your gratitude for them when they call to book service.

© All Rights Reserved by Kristin Morrison and Six-Figure Pet Sitting Academy (TM)

Kristin Morrison is the author of the book: Six-Figure Pet Sitting: Catapult Your Pet Sitting Business to Unlimited Success. She is also the founder of the Six-Figure Pet Sitting Academy and has provided business coaching for hundreds of pet sitting and dog walking business owners from across the country and Canada. Kristin started her own pet sitting and dog walking business in 1995 and has created a pet sitting business that thrives without her constant involvement. Kristin can be reached at the Six-Figure Pet Sitting Academy.


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