Why Digital Marketing Is A Secret Weapon For Your Dog Training Business
If you own a dog training business, you’re probably aware that you have a great opportunity to utilize your website and social media channels to generate interest in your brand.
Where do you start, though? This article covers some of the fundamental principles of digital marketing for dog trainers – and you can also download our guide to help put those principles into practice.
If you work in the dog training industry – whether as a trainer for an established organization, or perhaps you run your own training facility – you’ll be aware of the increasingly competitive nature of this field. Although word-of-mouth is one way to get your dog training business off the ground in the early stages, eventually, you’ll need a way to expand your reach and build your brand authority.
One way to differentiate yourself from your competitors is with a solid digital marketing strategy. A professionally designed website, a tailored Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy and a considered approach to social media are the pillars on which your online success can be built.
At True Boost Digital, we’ve got a proven track record when it comes to helping brands in the dog training industry. That’s why we’ve used our experience to produce a comprehensive digital marketing guide for dog trainers – ‘Sit. Stay. Grow.’ – to help you build and sustain your online presence.
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Download your copy of 'Sit. Stay. Grow. The Digital Marketing Guide For Dog Training Businesses'
In this article, we’re going to explore some of the ways you can use digital marketing to grow your dog training business. It’s easy to think that just throwing a couple of photos on Instagram of the latest pup you’re training will do the job. Although that might buy you a couple of social interactions in the interim, it doesn’t amount to a strategy – and it’s unlikely to bring true success in the long run.
Think about your business goals
If you don’t often have the opportunity to review your website and social media output – either because marketing and/or technology isn’t your specialty, or perhaps you want to spend time actually training dogs – It can be sorely tempting to dive straight in to your website and make sweeping changes without a second thought. Let me give you some advice – don’t dive in and make sweeping changes without a second thought! Eventually, I can assure you that you will have a second thought, and then a third one and a fourth one, and you’ll soon realize you should have taken more care initially.
It’s important to have the fundamentals in place before you click, type or do anything else to affect your online output. You don’t build a house without laying the foundations, and it’s a similar story with building a website. You need to consider these wider questions about your business itself:
- Which services does your business offer?
- Which locations does your business serve?
- What is unique about your service offering?
- How do you currently obtain clients?
- Who is your competition? What are their strategies?
These questions are probably things you thought about when you first launched your business and may have formed part of your business plan. Whether you’re a brand new startup or you’ve been in business for twenty years, it doesn’t hurt to revisit these questions in more depth. It may be beneficial to write your answers on a sheet of paper or separate document to refer back to in the future.
Once you’ve undertaken this exercise, you’ll want to compare your answers with how your website and social channels tell the story of your business. Is your website a true reflection of how you would like your business to be portrayed? Does it clearly outline your services and locations? Is there a clear and obvious unique value proposition?
In addition, you’ll also understand where you are currently obtaining clients from. Is it primarily word-of-mouth? Social media recommendations? Website contact forms? If you don’t have the data at hand (because you have nothing in place to track it), going forward, you should prioritize being able to monitor how you are acquiring customers. This will help you to make better marketing decisions based on the way your audience is interacting with your business.
Don’t overlook the basics
When it comes to any form of marketing or advertising, there are a handful of self-proclaimed ‘gurus’ who will try to sell you shortcuts and quick fixes. My advice is to avoid these people like the plague.
It is really of no use to spend money on flashy Facebook Ads, social media consultants, a sales funnel, or essentially anything else until you’ve got the basics sorted on your website. This is for a really simple reason. If you overlook the basics, then whichever tactics you adopt will either fail to live up to their true potential, or even worse, may fail completely. You’re wasting money and not maximizing your return on investment. Even worse, you’ll still need to sort your website fundamentals.
So what do I mean by “the basics”? These are things like technical infrastructure; responsive web design; well-written content; securing your website; and numerous others. There are certain technical tips that your website will need to follow (if you’re pushed for time, we covered a few things you can check in a matter of minutes in a previous article).
When it comes to the dog training industry, there is an extremely wide range when it comes to the quality of the websites in the niche. For every website which meets the basic requirements, I would hazard a guess that there are 15-20 which would fail. Yet worryingly, those in the latter category are perhaps more likely to spend money on social media ads which won’t convert because the landing page copy is poor. They don’t realize that the problem doesn’t lie with the Ad, it lies with the fact that their website can’t be viewed properly on a mobile device. And so on.
How to optimize your website
Assuming you have the fundamentals in place, you can then start to think about putting together an SEO strategy to help your website appear at the top of search results for relevant terms and phrases.
We explore this in more depth in Sit. Stay. Grow., and in even greater detail with our clients, but you really have to work backwards when it comes to SEO. Writing the content you finally publish on your website is actually the very final part of the process. The process is something like this:
- Who is the audience for my product or service? (Audience research)
- Which search terms and phrases are my audience using? (Keyword research)
- How can I deliver content that meets the needs of my audience and will help me to rank for those search terms and phrases? (On-page SEO)
Armed with the answers to these three questions, you can then think about writing content to attract your potential audience to your website. Of course, it takes time and knowledge to formulate the answers to each question, and implementing them is another matter altogether.
Every business is unique, and that is no different in the dog training sphere. Despite their similarities, no two are exactly alike. Some dog training businesses cover a vast area whilst others serve a single town. Some will offer a multitude of services, and others will simply provide one-to-one training. Your SEO strategy should be just as unique as your business itself – and it has to be aligned with the services you offer and the locations your business serves.
Social media guidance
There is no shortage of guidance out there when it comes to social media. It is definitely a great way to get more eyeballs on your brand. It is definitely not a substitute for a fully-functional website you can use to generate new client after new client.
Dog trainers have an advantage over other industries – people scrolling through Facebook or Instagram really like to look at photographs of dogs. Compared to, for example, a glue manufacturer or a tax accountant, dog trainers have an abundance of ways to generate interest on social channels. Yet that also poses its own dilemmas. How many platforms should you be active on? How many times should you post per day? And what exactly should you be posting?
If you’re a dog trainer and you’re wondering how to tackle social media, my advice is to follow these simple rules:
- Don’t feel like you have to be on every single platform. It’s better for your brand to have regular output on a couple of social media channels than it is to be inactive on a dozen.
- Don’t pay for social ads until you have a strategy for organic social growth. In time, paid advertisements on Facebook and Instagram can have value and build brand awareness. But before you do that, make sure you have a strategy in place to post regular content to engage your audience.
- Be consistent. This rule is the most important one. Regardless of your strategy, just be consistent. When you’re thinking about post frequency, you should think about what your audience wants and expects – and you should also consider how viable your strategy is. If you know you won’t be able to post three times a day, don’t put that in your strategy. Instead, come up with a plan you can stick to.
In fact, consistency isn’t just great advice for social media – it is great advice for every facet of digital marketing. Whether it’s SEO or blog content, you’re aiming at a constantly moving target. You don’t just set it and forget it.
Just as you should set time aside for accounting and other functions of your business, make time at regular intervals to review your website’s digital marketing strategy. By paying attention to it, you’ll give your dog training business the opportunity to leapfrog your competitors and maximize the chance for growth.
We cover each of the points we’ve made in this article – and a few others, too – in our digital marketing guide for dog trainers, ‘Sit. Stay. Grow.’.
Download your copy for free today and unleash the power of digital marketing for your dog training business!
Download your copy of 'Sit. Stay. Grow. The Digital Marketing Guide For Dog Training Businesses.'
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