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How to advertise dog walking

How to advertise dog walking

Exercising your dog is important for their physical and mental health and the best way to do that is to take them on walks. As the saying goes – a tired dog is a good dog! Too much pent-up energy could lead to destructive behavior and no one wants to come back to a completely trashed home after a long day at work. In general, dogs need around 30 minutes to two hours of exercise in a day and ideally, you want to break that up into two or even three walks per day. If you have a busy schedule and can’t walk your dog yourself, it may be time to consider a professional. Dog walkers are a godsend for busy bees and though it may take time to find someone you can trust with your pooch, it’s so worth it!

Choosing a Dog Walker

Ask Around

The best way to find a good dog walker is to simply ask around. Start with friends and family and also check with people at your local dog park. You’re bound to find a couple of good leads to begin with. From there it’s all about research, reviews, trial, and error.

Go Online

The internet is a gold mine when it comes to finding the perfect dog walker for your pooch. Try websites like Rover.com and PetButler where you can go through hundreds of local profiles and reviews, filter out the ones you don’t like, and shortlist a few that work for your needs and wallet.

How to advertise dog walking

Try Social Media

Social media is a great way to meet all kinds of people, make friends, and even find a dog walker. Tweet about it or check hashtags on Instagram by typing something like your city’s name and “dog walker” (For example, #dogwalkersinnewyork or #dogwalkernyc). Something good is bound to come up.

Professional Service

Professional dog walking services may work out to be a little more expensive but they do reduce your workload. These walkers are usually screened and interviewed and come with great references so you don’t have to worry about your furbaby with them.

Once you’ve found a few options, it’s time to move on to the next phase. Meet them, interview them, and do a trial walk with your dog. Some important questions that you should ask are:

  1. What is your experience level and can you provide references?
  2. What is the maximum number of dogs that will be walked at the same time?
  3. Are you trained in Pet first aid and CPR?
  4. Do you have insurance?
  5. All schedule-related questions.
  6. If your dog has any behavioral or temperament issues mention it and ask how they would handle it.
  7. How will they manage any dog fights that may break out?

Before finalizing a candidate, let them take your pooch on a test walk. Observe them in action and see how well your dog responds to them and how confident and patient they are. They could be the best dog walker in the world but if your dog doesn’t bond with them, it simply won’t work out. Do try out a few candidates before making the final call.

How to advertise dog walking

How Much Do Dog Walkers Charge?

It’s important to consider the cost of a dog walker before deciding on the one for you. In general, dog walkers don’t charge per day but per walk. They usually offer a few options – 15 to 20-minute walks which cost about $15-$20 or longer 30-40 minute walks which are around $20-$30. Multiply that by two walks and you can expect to pay anywhere between $30-$60 a day. Add another $5-$10 per walk if it’s on a big holiday like Christmas.

Regular customers could bag a discount especially if you hire a walker four to five times a week instead of just once or twice. You can also expect $5-$10 off if you don’t mind other dogs joining yours. If you have more than one dog, it is typically about $5-$10 extra per walk. It’s also best to find someone who lives close to you as travel costs are usually $1-$2 per mile if the walker has to travel more than ten miles to get to you.

For late hour walks after 7 or 8 pm, walkers usually charge around $5 more and for any last-minute requests expect to pay an additional $10.

Some walkers offer added services like picking up your pooch and taking him to a dog park for an hour or two and then dropping him back. These usually cost around $45 per hour.

If your furbaby has behavioral issues, it’s always better to get a certified trainer and dog walker who can handle negative situations well. These trainers cost around $10 more than regular walkers but they are worth the peace of mind.

Other combined services include playing with, feeding, giving medicines to your dog, and sending you videos of him while you’re away. They may even water your plants and bring in your mail if you ask them to, all for an additional charge of $0.50-$1 per minute. You can even pay someone to pick up dog waste from your yard for $15-$20!

Conclusion

As with everything, it also comes down to location and demand. Expect higher prices if you live in a city or a rural area where the demand for these services is more. If you have many options to choose from, naturally the cost will be slightly lower.

Based on your requirements and budgets, you can always negotiate a good deal with your dog walker. Keep the lines of communication open and you will be good to go. Now that you’ve found the perfect match for your dog, it’s time to move on to the next steps.

Ensure that you give the dog walker all the information he may need including your contact details, your vet’s contact details in case of an emergency, any medication that your dog needs, any allergies he should be aware of, and feeding instructions if needed. Don’t be afraid to ask the walker for regular updates and keep an eye out for any signs that things aren’t going well. At the end of the day, you want your dog to be safe and happy so don’t be afraid to pull out all the stops!

There are a lot of ways to make money in this world, but what about making money by doing something you like and passionate about it?

You're passionate about pets and you love pets, having a full time job that deal with pets while earning a lucrative amount sounds like an ideal and perfect job for you.

Thinking about it makes you excited, but you don't know where and how to start to advertise or market services that you're providing.

Today, we're here to guide you on how to start a dog walking business in your neighborhood first!

Step 1: Market Research on Dog Walking Opportunities

Observe your surrounding or the area you live in, how many households do have dogs at home. In the business world, that's called conducting market research, and it gives you essential details about your prospective clients.

Step 2: Buy Dog Walking Equipment

Fortunately, the dog walking business doesn't involve a lot of types of equipment. Hence the investment is not hefty. A few leashes, bags of kibbles and plastic bag, and voila, you're good to go!

Step 3: Establish Prices for your Dog Walking Business

For the majority of the household, a professional dog walker is a convenience. If pet owners could, they would like to do it themselves, but time was not on their side. Setting a price that is too high, making it harder for you to get clients, but you need to make sure that your prices aren't too low not to compensate your time and the supplies cost.

Step 4: Create social media accounts to advertise your Dog Walking Business

Now you know how much to charge for your services. Start shouting about your service that you're providing to your friends or neighborhood friends; they could refer you to their friends if any pet owners need dog walking services.

Step 5: Client Scheduling

After you shout about your business, you probably start receiving calls or text from pet owners who want to hire you for your services or inquiries. Set up a date and time with them and discuss the details in person so you could have a better understanding of their dog's condition.

How to advertise dog walking

Ideas to Promote your Dog Walking Business

In the early days of your business and possibly throughout the life of the business, you may want to offer promotions to acquire new customers. Here are some ideas to start you off.

New Customer Discounts?

How to advertise dog walkingOne of the easiest ways of encouraging new customers is to offer a new customer discount such as a 20% discount for any new customer when they book their first ten walks or book five walks and get a 6 th walk free. The great thing about a dog walking business is that most of your clients become long-term clients, so giving away some of your profit in the early days with a new client is generally recouped very quickly.

You could also offer a loyalty card, similar to those seen in your local coffee shops. These are pretty easy to make yourself, and you just stamp or sign the clients’ card every time they have their dog walked. Once the card is full, give them a free dog walk and a new card – this will keep customers coming back for more and more.

Word of Mouth

When you have a few clients and you do a good job for them, they will in turn become your greatest advocates. So why not ask them to ask their dog-owning friends if they need a dog walker? Then, if you get a new client, give both the new client and the current client a discount of some sort – after all, you wouldn’t have a new client if it wasn’t for your current client.

You could also offer seasonal discounts – such as ‘Black Friday’ discounts for all new clients.

For other Ideas to promote your dog walking business, think about what you could do by way of promotions to get new clients and try them out as soon as you can. If they work, then do more of them to build up your client base. If what you try doesn’t work out, then try something else. With these sorts of offers you have lost nothing but a little time.

Flyers

How to advertise dog walking

Where should you advertise? Where should you drop flyers? The simple answer is everywhere, but most importantly everywhere your customers are likely to be. Some of your perfect clients will work in offices and they could read your flyer on their office notice board and take action. Just one leaflet on an office notice board equals potentially dozens of clients. Other less obvious places to place your flyers are libraries, banks, post offices, convenience stores, gyms and kindergartens.

And here is a list of the obvious places you should also leave them: Dog trainers (who you do not compete with), pet stores, dog groomers and vets.

As mentioned earlier, your current customers will become your best advocates The best and cheapest form of marketing is word of mouth – it costs nothing and works the best of all. Do a good job for your clients and they will naturally promote your business for you. To help that process along in the meantime and reach a wider audience, you can ask for and use testimonials. Testimonials will re-enforce your trustworthiness and reliability.

With all your marketing, you constantly need to monitor your efforts. See what works and what doesn’t then do more of the stuff that works for your dog walking business.

For even more Ideas to promote your dog walking business, see this article: Free and Low cost ways to promote your Dog Walking Business

The most successful dog walkers recognize how critical marketing is to the longevity of their companies. After all, most people are capable of walking their own dogs. The challenge is finding, maintaining, and growing your client base. Fortunately, it’s possible to market your dog walking business without breaking the bank.

Be Identifiable

In the dog walking business, thinking outside the box is the key to differentiating your business from the competition. Ideally, your name should be the first to come to mind when someone is seeking a dog walker, so you want to brainstorm ways to stand out in your area. For example, you could make branded neon orange bandanas for dogs that feature your company’s logo and contact information. Not only will people immediately recognize your four-legged clients, but the bandanas also serve as an additional identifier if a dog gets off the leash. Give your dog walkers matching shirts to wear to draw even more attention.

Implement Monitoring Technology

Dog owners want the best possible workout for their pups, and they also want reassurance that they’re getting the most mileage for their dollar. One of the best ways to guarantee a set amount of exercise is to use dog activity monitors to create performance reports. Much like the devices that humans use to track their workout performance, location, mileage, and other fitness goals, dog activity monitors provide valuable information that your clients are sure to appreciate. Some of your existing clients may not be willing to pay an extra fee for this service, so poll your customers before you invest in a large quantity of dog activity monitors. You can always buy more as they become more popular.

Connect With Your Community

Dog walking is as local as business gets. If you’re not using direct marketing in your community, you’re missing out on a huge amount of growth potential. One simple and effective option is to make an attractive flier or business card, and hand it out to anyone you see with a dog. Even if they don’t end up calling you, referrals are a major source of business for dog walkers, and they might have a friend who needs a dog walker. You can also often leave fliers and business cards in coffee shops, pet stores, and other local hangouts.

Use Social Media

Social media and dogs go hand-in-hand. All businesses should have accounts with the major social media outlets, at very least. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are free, and the reach potential is limitless. Most dog owners would be thrilled to have their pooch’s mug plastered online for the world to admire, but it’s still a good idea to check with your clients before taking and posting photos. Updating your social media accounts with a “dog of the day” photo is sure to attract new clients who would love to make their dogs famous too.

Be Friendly

In the world of dog walking, a warm smile goes a long way. Developing relationships with your clients is naturally going to lead to referrals and more opportunities. Dog owners want to be confident that their pets are happy with you, so make it a point to be cheerful and upbeat. Have a good time, and your clients will recognize your enthusiasm. Marketing a dog walking business is all about connecting with your community, so take a natural, relaxed approach. Treat your clients well, and you’ll receive the same.

You have probably asked yourself: “How do I advertise my dog walking business?” or “How do I advertise my dog walking business for free?” At Dog Walks Near Me we want to help all dog friendly businesses thrive so we have put together 6 tips to help you make your business a success!

New dog walkers often make two mistakes: They wait too long to begin advertising their dog walking business. They expect to get clients right away.

To make your dog walking business successful you have to begin advertising weeks before you plan on taking clients.

Remember that finding your clients may take some time so try not to be disheartened if you don’t get a flurry of phone calls on launch day.

1. Create a Google business profile
If you were looking for a dog walker, how would you search? Chances are that you would head to Google. Creating a Google business profile will mean that your new dog walking business will appear on Google map searches as well as in Google’s own directory for dog walkers.

Create a Google business profile here.

2. Create a Facebook page
It may seem obvious, but a Facebook page can be an excellent way for clients to find and contact you. Creating a new page for your business can help separate your personal life from your new business, meaning that any clients and potential clients won’t see how many kitten pictures you have shared (you are supposed to be a dog walker after all). You will also be able to take advantage of Facebook’s targeted advertising.

Once you have your Facebook page, get your friends and family to “share” and “like” it, you can also advertise it on the page for your local area.

Create a business Facebook page here.

3. Invest in a website
I don’t just mean financially (although a paid for website almost always looks better than a free one). Invest time and effort into your website, it needs to be easy to navigate, mobile and desktop friendly.

If websites are something that you struggle with, Dog Walks Near Me offers to create a host a webpage for you. Find out more here.

4. Network with other walkers in your area
It might seem like competition, but many existing dog walkers may already be fully booked. Building a good working relationship other walkers may mean that they push clients your way when they can’t help.

5. Create a free advert on websites like Dog Walks Near Me
Dog Walks Near Me, like similar websites, offers a number of advert options for dog friendly businesses, taking advantage of these sites and creating free adverts helps to get your business names out there!

Find out about Dog Walks Near Me’s adverts options here.

6. Think like a client, how would you find a dog walker?
Imagine that it is you that is searching for a dog walker and make sure that your business is being promoted well, everywhere you would look!

If you’re marketing your pet business, one of my 51 awesome ways to get clients is to create flyers to post around in public areas.

But, if you’re creating dog walking flyers or pet sitting flyers that are actually going to attract attention and work, these are the 5 essential elements you’ll need to include.

The Title

Effective dog walking flyers have a large, attention-grabbing title.

How to advertise dog walking

In the dog walking flyer above, you can see that the title is “Dog Walking & Pet Sitting”. The letters are in a large and easy-to-read font and they jump out with white text and gray shadow background.

In this example, we’re calling out the service that we’re offering. So, someone who may be thinking of these types of services will take notice right away.

As it is, the title I’m using is relatively bland though. Having a title that says something very specific such as “Dog Walking: Only $15” or “Pet Sitting: Available On Holidays” singles out a specific benefit that may be of interest to a prospect.

What Is Your Special Offer?

Dog walking flyers should promote something specific if you really want to attract attention (the same goes for pet sitting flyers).

So, you’ll want to highlight an attractive offer to get people motivated to take action.​

How to advertise dog walking

The offer should be extremely easy to see. Don’t bury it in a paragraph of text. Make it plainly obvious in your flyer design.

In the example above, you can see that I added the offer right in the middle of the page. It’s in black text to contrast with the white title above it.

The offer also needs to be something that is going to be worthwhile to someone. A simple “take 10% off” or something like that is probably only worth a dollar or two. That’s not enough to get someone to take action.

Instead, make it substantial like “Free First Visit” or “Buy 2, Get 1 Free”.

The Image

Effective dog walking flyers also have an attractive image. Never ever make a flyer with just text. No one will ever notice it.

How to advertise dog walking

If you’re making dog walking flyers, then make sure to have a big image of a dog on it.

If you’re making pet sitting flyers, then you’re fine to have images of all types of animals that you may care for.

The key is simply to have pictures of animals somewhere on the flyer. Further, have the picture be in color, if you can.

Images will attract attention and help cement what you do in the prospect’s brain.

The Description

You don’t want a whole bunch of tiny text on a flyer like this because it will make it look too intimidating for someone to read since they’re probably just passively looking at it.

However, dog walking flyers with at least some additional information will enhance their effectiveness.

How to advertise dog walking

Great information to add will include a brief description of what you do, what areas you service, hours/availability, and prices. That’s about all you’d need.

Basically you just want enough info to pique someone’s curiosity and get them to call you.

Your Contact Information

The final component of the most effective dog walking flyers is ​your contact information.

Preferably, this should be in the form of “pull tabs” at the bottom of the flyer that makes it easy for someone to tear off your phone number and take it with them.​

How to advertise dog walking

Creating these pull tabs is very easy. Simply make a horizontal fold about 1/6 up from the bottom of the page and then use a scissors to cut between each area where your contact information is.

This makes it easy for someone to rip off just one tab without destroying your entire flyer at the same time.

How About You

Do you use flyers in your business? If so, where do you post them? Let us know in the comments below.

PS – you can have this flyer to customize for your own business as a member of the Pet Business Masters! Academy . Academy members get access to all types of marketing, operations, and hiring templates so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel .

About the Author John Reh

John loves animals and business. He put the two together and built a multi-million dollar dog walking/running and pet sitting business with hard work, systems, and great people. He now teaches everything he’s learned in the Pet Business Masters! community.

How to advertise dog walking

Starting a dog walking business is a fairly straightforward, low-cost way to enter the animal industry. You can get your business off to a great start by following just a few simple steps. Most people will probably start their business as a sole practitioner or as a limited liability corporation (LLC). It would be a good idea to speak with someone knowledgeable and trustworthy, and an accountant or attorney while setting up your business if you do not have experience in this area.

Form Your Dog Walking Business

A business set up as a sole practitioner is where the owner of the business makes all decisions and is responsible for all payment of debts and taxes. If you operate under a name other than your legal name, you will need to register the fictitious—also known as doing business as—name with your state. You may need to register for a business license in your town to operate a business legally.

Most dog walking businesses are formed as sole proprietorships or limited liability companies (LLCs). A sole proprietorship is a business created by one individual whose personal and business assets are not separate from those of the business. The owner is held responsible for all debts. An LLC separates personal and business assets; this makes the owner of the corporation not personally liable for the debts of the business.

Consider Insurance

Insurance is available that is specifically tailored to provide coverage for pet sitters and dog walkers. This coverage will protect you from potential legal action if a pet causes damage while under your supervision.

The cost is only a few hundred dollars and could save you a big legal headache down the road. There are many companies offering this service, such as Pet Sitters Associates LLC and Pet Sitter Insurance.

Pricing and Services

Most dog walkers offer services in blocks of time (15 minutes, 30 minutes, one hour). You can walk single dogs or a small "pack" from the same apartment complex or residential street.

You may also decide to offer related services such as pet sitting, obedience training, or pooper scooper services. Check out the local competition to see what the going rate is for dog walking services in your area.

Obtain a Signed Contracts

You should always work under a signed contract with your clients. Terms of service agreements spell out the relationship between the client (dog owner) and service provider (you). Be specific in what is and is not included for the contract. If the dog will be walked as part of a group or walked alone should be specified.

Use the agreement or contract to discuss what your service offers, payment options, cancellations, damages, and emergency health situations. Make sure you have full contact information and a signature before you begin working for a new client.

You may want to include a veterinary release as part of your contract terms. The release will state that you will try to contact the owner in case of an emergency and that you were given the right to seek veterinary care for the dog if necessary. The release should also specify who will pay for any incurred vet bills.

Keep Detailed Records

For each owner who uses your service, maintain a contact sheet that includes their address, phone number, email, and emergency contact numbers. Be sure to record information on each dog including breed, color, date of birth, health history (including allergies and any previous injuries), veterinarian's name, and clinic contact information.

A basic veterinary release form will allow you to take the animal to the vet with the owner agreeing to pay any resulting bills.

Get the Word Out

Design a flyer and business card to place on entryway bulletin boards in vet clinics, supermarkets, dog groomers, and pet stores. Consider having your contact information and logo made into large magnets to display on the doors and rear of your vehicle. Advertise on Craigslist, in church bulletins, and in neighborhood newsletters. Create a website with a personalized domain name.

Word of mouth will eventually become your biggest source of referrals. When clients come to you, make a note of where they heard about your service (referral from a friend, website, flyer), so you will know what areas to focus on.

Start Walking

You might consider carrying pepper spray in case your dogs are approached by strays while walking. Also, make sure to invest in proper footwear and clothing for the season and climate. A great way to advertise while your work is to wear clothing customized with your business logo and phone number.

Your dog’s daily walk is likely one of the highlights of their day. Going for a walk can provide your dog with more than just a bathroom break. It can give them physical exercise, mental stimulation, and a chance to keep tabs on the neighborhood. To make sure your dog is truly enjoying their walks, be sure to avoid these three common mistakes.

Rushing Bathroom Breaks

Where dogs choose to go to the bathroom is an important decision. It’s not just about relieving themselves, it’s about communicating with the world-at-large. Dogs use their urine to signal their presence to other dogs. And in turn, smelling other dogs’ urine tells a dog all about the other canines in the community, including their gender, age, and health. This system of pee-mail keeps dogs up-to-date on what’s happening in their neighborhood.

While on a walk, dogs want to sniff out all the places other dogs have gone to the bathroom, so they can leave a fresh deposit on top. This is the equivalent of human graffiti, saying, “Rover was here.” Male dogs specifically will lift their back leg as high as possible to get their urine up to the nose level of other dogs.

If the urine or feces isn’t enough of a message, dogs sometimes scratch the ground with their feet to further emphasize their signal. Along with leaving an additional visual cue, they use special glands between their toes to leave extra scents on the ground as they scratch, adding even more impact to the scent mark.

All of this sniffing and scratching requires concentration and time. Giving your dog the opportunity to sniff the pee-mail and leave messages of his own will help him get the most out of his walks. If you want to keep your walk brief, or limit the areas your dog does his business, consider teaching him potty cues. This will let you tell him when and where you would like him to go.

How to advertise dog walking

Not Letting Your Dog Sniff and Explore

We have five or six million scent receptors in our noses, but dogs have up to 300 million, depending on the breed. They also have a far larger area of their brain devoted to their sense of smell, as well as a Jacobson’s organ that helps them detect normally undetectable odors such as pheromones. All of this adds up to a sense of smell that is at least 10,000 times greater than a human’s. It’s almost impossible for us to imagine the complexity of the information they gather with their noses.

So while we might advise a friend to stop and smell the roses when we think she needs to relax and enjoy herself, it’s a far more accurate phrase when it comes to our dogs’ walks. Dogs experience the world through their noses, and just as we might want to look around to take in the scenery, they want to smell all their environment has to offer. Dragging your dog away from an interesting scent, or asking him to heel the entire way around the block, prevents him from truly taking in everything around him and diminishes the mental stimulation a walk can provide.

Some dogs seem to be ruled by their noses and think of nothing else while on a scent trail. Proper training can help regain their focus when out on a walk. Consider teaching cues like “Watch me” or “Leave it” to take their minds off the smell and put their attention back on you. Reward short bursts of heeling or loose leash walking with frequent sniffing sessions to help foster good walking behavior.

How to advertise dog walking

Pulling On the Leash

From a dog’s perspective, humans walk far too slowly. To follow interesting scent trails and get where they want to go, dogs will drag their people behind them as fast as they can manage. One of the most common responses we have to a dog pulling on the leash is to pull back. However, this rarely gets the desired effect of a loose leash. Instead, we end up in a leash tug-of-war, and with a large and strong dog, chances are the human will lose.

This is because dogs have an opposition reflex, meaning that if you pull on their leash, they will pull back. If you try to drag them in the opposite direction, they will dig in and stop walking. They are not doing this to be stubborn or controlling, it’s simply the way their body naturally responds. But all that pressure on the leash is hard on their throat, particularly for small dogs or those prone to collapsing trachea. It’s also pretty frustrating for your dog because it keeps him from exploring and doesn’t provide him with any direction about what you want him to do instead.

Teach your dog to walk with a loose leash (having the leash hang down in a “J” shape between you) by stopping and changing direction whenever he gets ahead of you. When he turns to catch up, reward him with praise, a small treat, and the chance to keep walking. Only let your dog walk when the leash is slack. The loose leash will eliminate pressure on his throat and prevent you from triggering his opposition reflex. If you already have a determined puller, consider using a training harness or head harness while you work on developing your dog’s polite walking skills.

How to advertise dog walking

On my morning walk I was struck by a series of ads for a dog walking service. It’s interesting, because I’m not a dog owner, nor am I looking to become one.

The thing that resonated with me was how compelling these ads were.

Usually ads on telephone poles look a lot like the one below. Boilerplate, made in a hurry, with tattered little phone numbers to pull off. Price and the details of the service feature prominently.

This one was different because it told the story of Kona, one of the “many happy clients”. The ad makes it easy for a prospective client to imagine how happy their dog would be heading out for a daily walk with Oh My Dog.

Rather than chewing up shoes and pining for its owner, the dog would be running free through the park with its favorite toy. Plus, it would be learning proper dog manners. Could there be a better way to treat man’s best friend?

Beneath the surface, this advertisement does a great job of taping into the emotions of dog owners as they go through the buying process. How many of them feel guilty about leaving their dog behind each day, or how many worry that their dog is pacing around the house waiting for them to come home (rather than the more likely reality of them sleeping peacefully on the sofa they aren’t allowed on).

With Oh My Dog’s service they don’t need to worry about any this. It’s like their dog is going to a better place each day. Nothing like leaving your pooch with someone that may do a better job caring for it than you will. It’s clear that this dog walker knows their customer and their emotional state as they go through the purchase process

The dog walker understands that she has to appeal to two different customers. The dog owner is the purchaser, and the dog is the user of the service. The poster appeals to the purchaser by making them feel good about using the service. Since most dogs can’t read, the ad can’t appeal directly to the user of the service. As such, the owner is left to gauge whether the service will leave their dog happy. The image of the dog vividly conveys that there is a high level of care. This is supported with the language that Kona is “one of our many happy customers”.

There is also a lesson here about reaching your customer. As I meandered through the neighborhood, I noticed that as I got closer to the various dog parks, the density of the posters increased. The ads were on every pole near the park.

A good marketer knows where their target customers are and then tries to reach them there. The dog walker had numerous advertising choices – posters everywhere, postcards, Google Adwords, Craigslist, etc. The dog walker could have advertised broadly, but why bother. Virtually every dog owner visits one of the local dog parks on a daily basis. The dog walker reached virtually 100% of the target market, without wasting time or money plastering ads on thousands of phone poles, or managing a bunch of online ads.

Finally there is a pricing lesson. Price isn’t even mentioned in the advertisement. The role of the ad is to create awareness of the service (bold picture), generate interest (compelling story), create a sense of desire (promise to solve your problem), and spur action (phone for details). By leading with a story rather than the price of the service, the dog walker is creating an interested and motivated buyer.

It will be easier for this dog walker to charge slightly higher prices than dog walkers whose ads are only focused on the price of the service. Attention is directed to the benefits of the service, a happy and well behaved dog, versus the drawbacks, the monthly expense of dog walking. This framing makes a big difference.

Now it’s time to think about your business. Are you positioning your business as the tattered ad on the telephone pole, or the compelling story that piques people’s interest and makes them want to find out more about you. Do you know exactly who your target customer is? Are you reaching them in the right place, or are you taking more of a shotgun approach to finding new business? Are you leading with price, or trying to build up to a more compelling value proposition.

There are lots of marketing lessons that we can learn from my local dog walker.