I know that many of you have been prospecting to get new clients, which consists of using your personal time to find people interested in your pet related service or pet related products. I prefer to market, which involves leveraging tools so that the right people find you!

Since 2002, I have been working with just about everyone in the pet industry. That includes hundreds of service businesses like pet sitters, dog trainers, veterinarians, and groomers. It also includes hundreds of product businesses like pet beds, pet supplements, and dog diapers. I’ve even built websites for pet celebrities, and celebrities’ pets. During this time, I’ve experimented with every type on online marketing available to attract quality leads to these sites. I took careful notes on the ones that had tremendous results, and those that failed miserably based on traffic volume and sales conversions.

Google Adwords is a great way to go if you have an unlimited budget, but many of my customers have a budget and don’t want to work for Google. Since I don’t like wasting time, let’s talk specifically about the marketing tactics that really WORK for you in the pet niche without breaking the bank:

  1. VIDEOS. They can be instructional videos (for instance a veterinarian showing how to identify ticks), or they can be funny. The best performing videos are (a) funny, (b) cute, and (c) involve animals. Think of something totally unique that hasn’t been seen before, and you can get tons of leads each day. For instance, a couple of years ago I came up with the idea of showing images of dogs who look like their owners. It took off like a rocket, and now I have close to 800,000 views: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=642qxehEcGg. Be sure to upload your videos to YouTube and some of the other high ranking videos sites, and put a link to your website in the description of the video and as a slide at the end of the video.
  2. PRESS RELEASES. Press releases are a real easy way to get thousands of eyeballs looking at your company. If it’s carefully crafted and newsworthy, you can even get newspaper reporters calling you for a story in their paper. Some of the top press release distribution companies (like PRweb.com) will charge you for the distribution, but there are many free services available as well.
  3. LINKS. How do certain companies get to the top of Google for their keyword? Simple. It’s a popularity contest. The more links you have on OTHER people’s pet related sites, the higher your site will rank in Google. So, contact everyone you know (suppliers, customers, professional organizations you belong to) and find out how you can get a link on their website. You don’t want to exchange links, as Google sees the reciprocal relationship and then discounts the link. You want one way links to your site only.
  4. ARTICLES. If you don’t have time or you’re not a writer, hire someone to write for you! Articles are a great way to draw potential customers in. Typically they will type their “problem” into Google, find your article that explains what to do, and then they click on the link at the bottom of the article that takes them to your website. These articles can be distributed all over the Internet, there are hundreds of article submission sites that are looking for original content such as yours!
  5. ONLINE CLASSIFIEDS. Newspapers are dead, but online classified websites have taken their place. Websites like Craigslist.org (and all of their competitors) are hotspots for pet people looking for pet products and services. Be sure to advertise your business website in the ad.
  6. BLOGS. Blogs are so search engine friendly. Google loves the fresh content. You can talk about pet news stories, funny pet videos, funny pet pictures, or just about anything! Once you start publishing content on a frequent basis, you will start drawing lots of traffic to your blog and then you can advertise your business all over the blog.
  7. FACEBOOK FAN PAGE. Facebook will allow you to set up a “Fan Page” for your business, which is an excellent way to drive traffic to your site. Start by inviting all your friends to join your business fan page. Once they are in, start posting pet related content on the fan page. When your friends log in to Facebook, your postings will come up in their timeline of posts, and they will (hopefully) make comments about your post. Then their friends will see the comments, and check out your fan page to see what all the talk is about. A great way to get free advertising for your company!
  8. TWITTER. I currently have almost 7,500 followers on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/petwebdesigner. Follow me to see what I tweet about! I generally post pet news, funny pet pictures, and funny pet videos. People love to forward this around to their friends and contacts, so many other pet lovers find out about me when my followers share my posts. It’s free and easy to build a large base of loyal followers that will go to the places you want them to go!
  9. EMAIL MARKETING. You should be gathering email addresses and sending out newsletters to your customers and potential customers at every opportunity. There are many services that are available that will record the names and email addresses of people that submit their information on your site, and then make it easy for you to market to these people on a weekly basis. That way, if someone is only interested in your product/service but not ready to buy, you can close the sale at a later date when you market to them via email marketing. It’s pretty typical that you won’t close the sale on their first visit to your site.
  10. BANNER ADS. Banner ads are a great way to draw visitors from other blogs, forums, or websites without spending big money. It’s actually much cheaper than you think. Find a pet related blog that has the right demographics (right age, right content, etc.) and contact them to see what their rates are for banner advertising. The same goes for popular pet forums and websites. You would be surprised to find out how reasonable the rates really are, and it is completely targeted traffic!

Take a real honest look at your business. Are you generating the kind of leads online using your prospecting methods? If not, try these marketing techniques that bring the right people to you. If you don’t have time to do these on your own, hire someone to do it for you. In the long run, you will find that it makes more sense for you to focus on your core business, and let these tools work for you. It will make your business much more efficient and effective. If you need help, contact me! 516-538-0933, or you can view my website at www.Petwebdesigner.com