I’m sure you’re well aware of the fact that you are not the only dog walker or pet care provider in your area. You likely have dozens if not hundreds of competitors in your very city or county who offer the same thing you do. It’s overwhelming and exhausting trying to keep up with it all.
So as we struggle to differentiate ourselves from our competitors and truly stand out from the other pet service businesses in what we call a ‘saturated market,’ we fall even more behind because we panic and focus more on posting more frequently on Instagram or trying to get more eyes on our brand through Facebook Ad boosting.
While this can help a bit in the sense that if more people see your stuff, it is more likely based on statistics that you’d get another lead or two. But instead of just focusing on the number of people that see your business, what if you focused on creating an elevated experience that draws potential clients in, captivates them, and makes them feel heard and understood so that even if a smaller number of people see your business, you’ll be more likely to convert them into paying clients (and loyal ones, too at that!)
The message here is that it’s not really about getting your brand in front of more eyeballs. It’s about creating an elevated experience that brings in the right people, so you have a business that you love that draws in people you love to work with and captures people who value what you do.
So, how do you do it?
Here are 7 different ways to create an elevated experience for your pet business clients:
1. Create a Streamlined Onboarding System (SOS as I call it)
This is EVERYTHING and is a huge component in compiling an overall onboarding process.
But first, what is an onboarding process?
Your onboarding process is the process your clients (and you) go through every time they first land on your website or social media and last… with them booking with you.
Take a minute to write out an ideal process you’d want your ideal client to go through in order to feel taken care of and supported (and while you’re at it, figure out what can be streamlined and automated so you can save time on the backend)! Think… creating automated emails, creating a client profile, going on a meet & greet, setting up a call scheduler on your website, letting them know what comes next at each stage of the process, etc. Implement this process, testing it and evolving it as you go.
2. Be clear and purposeful on your website
There are a lot of things missing from most websites that could have been really useful in not only generating more leads for your business but helping remove leads that aren’t the best fit. The best way to go about doing this is by being super clear and purposeful on your website.
Here are some suggestions for you to help with this:
- Use your FAQ page properly – Write in questions that are actually frequently asked vs. what you think people may want to hear (i.e. you probably don’t need the question ‘what is a professional pet sitter’ or ‘why choose a professional pet sitter’ and instead consider questions like… ‘what happens in case of emergencies’ or ‘what vaccines are required before service?’)
- Tell your website visitors what to do next at each stage of the game! – Your website should have one main call to action (CTA), which tells the visitor what the next step is to work with you.
- Have a booking process page or section on your website, allowing them to see what the full process looks like to work with you.
- Offer support or tutorials in the form of blog posts or links, so they can continue to move forward should they run into any issues.
3. Don’t confuse or cause them to burn brain calories
You must make it clear what you do, who you do it for, and where you’re located. Otherwise, people will move to the next website. Remember that people are searching for something and if they can’t figure it out easily, they will find a business that gives them what they need quickly and easily.
As humans, we want to preserve as much energy and calories as possible – that’s what it means to survive. It’s our evolutionary and biological response. So, the more you confuse or overwhelm your website viewers… or to put it simply, the more brain calories they have to burn to find what they’re looking for, the quicker they’ll be gone.
4. Give them a clear transformation
We focus so much on the fact that ‘we offer dog walking’ or ‘we offer dog training’ that we forget that’s not necessarily WHY people purchase from us. Remember there are most likely several other options for dog walkers in your area, so there’s no reason to purchase from you simply because you offer dog walking. That won’t be what sells them. They’ll purchase from you because you help them cross over that transformation threshold, whatever that means for your business. Is it that they feel like a good dog mom, that they won’t feel guilty anymore, that their dog will finally relax at the end of the night, that they always worry when their pet is alone at home, that they’re tired of adding to their plate another walk or cleaning up another mess, that they feel heard, that they know the process will be easy and online, etc. It’s the transformation. They can see that in your website copywriting, your storytelling, your client spotlights, your testimonials – you name it! Let them see what it could look like for them on the other side of booking with you!
5. Don’t be afraid to let things go on in the background
Many of my clients worry about losing ‘the personal touch’ in their business. They think that if they send an automated email or integrate a call scheduler into their website that somehow the business will feel like a robot and people won’t move forward.
I’d argue that by saving time in implementing what can be implemented, you’re opening up way more time to have personal conversations or attend meet & greets – whatever it is you want to do!
Remember the priority here is that your potential clients want answers, results – whatever it is that your business grants for them. And they want it all fast and easy. So, the more you delay things, the more likely they’ll be gone and move on to the business that responded to them earlier or allowed them to book a call online. Millennials are impatient. We’re in the age of 2-hour delivery and Amazon Prime. Businesses need to adjust to accommodate that mindset and this is just one of the ways you can do so easily!
6. Implement the software already!
I know… I’m a broken record here for so many of you haha! So many business coaches and pet industry professionals recommend implementing a booking software or CRM into your business. But for good reason!!
Any time I’ve ever had a client resist this implementation in their business, they were ALWAYS 100% happy that they did it afterward. Yes, it’s a lot of work. Yes, it takes time. Yes, it can be an adjustment. But it’s also so worth it. It allows you to be more professional, take on more clients, feel more organized, create a better user experience for your clients, and increase bookings with your current clients.
7. Be personal, yet professional
Just because we’re talking a lot about streamlining and automated functions in your business doesn’t mean you can’t be personal (retouching on my point from number 5 here).
But my pivot here is focusing on making sure you still keep the human and personal side of your business. Don’t be afraid to still have personality and keep to what makes your business unique. If your brand is all about sass or humor, keep that in there – please! That’s wonderful.
You can be professional and personal at the same time, no matter what process or system you have in place for your business. It’s just a matter of automating things and then tweaking and customizing the templates and information from there.
The main point here is to save time in the right places so you can personalize what needs to be personalized to give them a custom experience. It’s all about balance, after all!
I hope this was helpful!
To learn more about creating a streamlined onboarding system for your pet business, check out our other resources below:
– 8 Reasons People Are Leaving Your Pet Business Website Without Booking
Mikaela is the founder of Pet Marketing Unleashed, a company focused on helping petpreneurs build optimized and stress-free pet businesses through web design, VIP Days, digital products, and education. She is all about creating systems and strategies that reduce stress and get pet businesses working while away from the desk or out with the dogs! Mikaela is also the host of the Facebook group, Unleashed Petpreneurs, a community filled with other pet industry entrepreneurs looking to upscale their marketing, processes, and websites with ease. Outside of work, you’ll find Mikaela walking with her humorous pup, Wilson, posting #wherewils Stories on Instagram, or reading books with her husband in their small TV-less cottage in sunny, San Diego.