What Your Marketing Needs To Attract More Of The Right Clients
By Tenille Williams
Why Your Dog Training Business Isn’t Working
If you’re not making the kind of money you want to make and you’re feeling like growing your dog training business is an uphill battle, the number one question you might ask is, “how do I get more clients?”
You may think that more clients is the answer – if you just had more people come through the door more steadily, all your business problems would be solved.
And it’s partly true. Obviously a business needs paying customers or it’s not a business at all.
But what I’ve found is that people are so focused on lack of clients that they aren’t looking at the other steps they need to take to market their business. Most trainers know a lot about dog training but not much about marketing and running a business at all. And sadly, being a wonderful and talented trainer isn’t enough on it’s own. You need to also be a marketer.
And that’s why a lot of training businesses fail – they’re great trainers. They’re not great marketers.
Marketing is any activity you do that helps your ideal client to get to know, like and trust you and ultimately become a paying customer. It’s not just advertising. It’s any activity you plan for your business that people will lay their eyeballs upon.
One big mistake people make in their marketing (and I’ve made this mistake myself early on) is trying to attract anyone and everyone. Like casting a big fishing net and hauling in whatever they can get, including rubbish.
This is a sure way to attract people you’d rather not work with. The people who complain about your prices, try to bargain with you, don’t take your advice seriously, argue and don’t do their homework. Of course, they then don’t get results which is a sucky outcome for all parties involved – you, them and their dog.
In fact, it actually costs you money. You lose time, energy and you could have been spending that time on an enjoyable client who loves you and results that make everyone feel good. We want more of that!
So what to do? Well, you want to aim your marketing to your ideal client. It’s more like using a fishing line with specific bait that attracts the big juicy fish you want to catch.
YOUR IDEAL CLIENT
Ideal client, ideal customer, avatar – there’s a few different terms for this. So if you hear someone asking who your avatar is, they’re referring to the movie with the blue aliens.
But your ideal client is important to know, because when you speak in your marketing to a certain type of person, they will feel more understood and more connected to you.
You may have more than one ideal client type. That’s ok. But let’s start with one so you can get started right away with the tweaks you need to make to attract them.
Your ideal client can be totally made up or based on a real client you have met before who you loved to work with. Think of the person (or imagine them) who you would be happy to work with every day. It’s enjoyable, they listen, they get you, they do their homework.
Now write out the following specific details about this person:
The type of help he/she needs with their dog the most:________
That last one is important too, because as dog trainers, we’re working with two beings at once – the human and the dog. Not only can we determine who our ideal human client is, but we can aim for ideal dog clients as well as our favourite types of behaviours to work with.
Then, every time you write a post on social media, a blog, send an email out, write an ad, film a video, you’re going to speak as if you’re talking to that one ideal dog owner who has that ideal dog case you love to work with.You can even be as specific as breeds of dog you prefer to work with.
Love German Shepherds? If you talk about and post photos and videos of German Shepherds the most, guess what breed of dog you’re going to get more enquiries for?
PUGS! Just kidding, German Shepherds.
It works the same way if you talk most about a certain type of service you offer like classes. For example, when I ran group classes I would get an influx of enquiries for classes after every class, because I’d post up photos and videos from class on Facebook. But when I decided that I wanted to focus on one on one training, I made an effort to talk about that a lot and phased out my class posts.