- How to market a pet sitting and dog walking business
Do you have a new pet sitting or dog walking business? Thinking of starting one? One of the first challenges you'll likely face is getting clients in the door as fast as possible. That was certainly Joe Reeves' challenge when he started WaggnTails Pet Care in Oxon Hill Maryland, September of 2019.
Although Joe was ready to trade in his IT career for one that fed his love of animals, he knew that being a pet lover wouldn't automatically make the business successful. He needed to figure out how to build clientele quickly.
Joe knew that most pet owners go online to look for pet services. If they've heard of a service by word of mouth or an ad, they'll visit the website to check out the company before booking an appointment. In order to gain new clients and build a solid reputation in his community, Joe's business needed to be easy to find online.
Easier said than done.
Getting a website to rank high in search is a challenge for any business. Even more so in the competitive pet services industry. But Joe tackled it head-on – and was able to get his website, waggntailspetcare.com, ranked on the first page of Google for his most important keywords in only four months.
Here's how he did it…
1. A website designed with SEO in mind
Designing a website is easier than it used to be thanks to the wide variety of platforms and themes. But there are literally thousands of choices – Wordpress, Wix, Go Daddy, you name it. But they all have different capabilities, functions and limitations.
So, how do you decide the best one for your business? And once you do, how do you actually create the site?
If you've ever tackled this chore, you know what a task it can be. And if you're not experienced in web design, it can seem impossible.
Fortunately, Joe found Easy Busy Pets, and discovered that with our simple drag-and-drop software, he could create a professional looking site in no time – without needing any knowledge of coding or web design.
Everything he needed to open and run his pet service was housed right there, under one roof. From his own website he could…
Joe was able to manage his entire business in one place – no need for multiple apps or having to tie different software together.
Just as important, with its built-in, SEO-friendly features, the platform also made Joe's website easier to rank in search engines.
That can't be said for all website providers. Many of them actually work against you when it comes to ranking in Google, Bing, etc. That's because search engines don't really see the website. They see the code behind it. If that code isn't properly structured, or the HTML tags aren't correctly place, they can't understand what the site is about.
Ranking will also suffer if the site takes more than a few seconds to load when someone clicks on a search link. And many of today's website themes require huge resources to run, which slows downloading. Not good. Unfortunately, it can be hard to figure that out until it's too late and you've invested a lot of time and money.
Since everything is centered in one place and created for SEO, Easy Busy Pets makes it simple for pet owners, workers, managers, and the general public to find the WaggnTails website and gain access.
Better for clients. Better for Google. Better for Joe's business.
Once the website was up, however, Joe couldn't just sit back and hope people found it. He had to bring traffic to the site to start booking clients. And that's where local marketing came into the picture.
2. Online marketing specifically for local business
To help bring visitors to his site, Joe hired Pennington Creative, a marketing agency that helps small businesses gain online visibility in their local communities.
He asked Pennington to help his website rank in the search engines for his most important keywords: "dog walker" and "pet sitter."
It was a big ask, because the top search results for those keywords are consistently grabbed up by big-name companies, like Rover, Wag and Care.com.
How was a fledgling business supposed to compete against the big dogs with big marketing budgets?
Well, Pennington got to work and put together a very targeted program that combined specific keywords with Joe's geographic area. This allowed waggntailspetcare.com to show up whenever someone searched online for a pet sitter or dog walker within 30 miles of Joe's location.
They accomplished this by focusing on several critical areas for local businesses:
1. Google My Business
The Pennington team created a robust business listing on Google for WaggnTails Pet Care. Then they added high-quality content to it every week. This helped build visibility for the business' physical location, which in turn helped the website rank higher in local search results.
2. Correct business information across the web
Any misspelling of business information anywhere online (like using avenue in one listing and ave. in another) can reduce a local business' ability to rank in the search engines. Pennington ensured that all of the business information – name, address, phone numbers, hours, everything – read exactly the same across hundreds of search engines, and online directories.
3. SEO-optimized content
Joe provided plenty of content for his site, but it needed some polishing to improve SEO power. The agency revised his content to make it more readable. They also added Meta tags to headlines, images, page descriptions, and other key elements. This work helped the search engines understand the website and place it higher in their listings.
4. Back links
The Pennington team began acquiring links to Joe's site from other high authority sites. This told search engines that Joe's site was legitimate and high quality.
The combination of the Easy Busy Pets platform and Pennington's local marketing prowess, have made waggntailspetcare.com visible for several core keywords. Additionally, it typically takes six to nine months to get a website on page one of Google. Joe's site started ranking for his most important keywords within four months. Half the time.
And now this new site is successfully competing against the big dogs!