In the last few months I have been taking a hard look at my large yellow pages directory bills that arrive each month. I’ve been wondering – am I really getting the best value for my marketing dollar? I always make sure to ask new pet sitting clients where they found me and usually people find me on the internet or pick up my flyers at a local store. About one in 10 find me in the yellow pages directory. That’s a big expense when other marketing methods are working more effectively for me. Next year I’m considering dropping the expense of the yellow pages and branching out to other marketing opportunities.
This week I finally thought about how I can use a locally focused pet blog to attract community pet owners. In the past I have always thought about the internet as being a medium that is very wide reaching (global in fact!) and therefore wouldn’t be suited to marketing to the target market of my pet sitting business – people in the surrounding cities to Euless, Texas.
But when you think about ways in which you use the internet to find local information – you will discover that there are plenty of sites on the web that are very targeted to local markets. Just to take an example – how do you use the web to find out what there is to do in town this weekend? I would visit the Dallas City Guide or Fort Worth City Guide. These local sites provide community members with valuable information.
In my county I did a search and I couldn’t find a good website that provides local pet owners with comprehensive and up to date information about pet events, dog parks, local pet service providers, and news. A one stop guide for new residents who are pet lovers. When you look at it – this type of site would be an obvious place to market your locally based pet business right? Well if you don’t have such a website in your city – why not create your own. Provide pet owners with a resource and create a place online where you can give your business great exposure – for FREE!
It will take some time and effort on your part to set up the site and you want to set it up so that it will be readily indexed by the big search engines (Google and Yahoo) to ensure people can find you. The best way to attract search engine traffic is by setting this site up as a blog. A blog is a list of articles that are published to one webpage – and if you are reading this at Workingwithpets.com then you are currently reading a blog.
Blogs are one of the simplest types of websites to create – if set up your site with a web host who has the Cpanel application (for example I use and recommned www.hostmonster.com) then setting up a new blog on your own domain with WordPress can take as little as 5-10 minutes.
I have started setting up my site this week – you can see the beginnings of my new blog by clicking here – Tarrant County Pet Owners Guide.
I have just made one post today – a brief guide to local dog parks and some basic dog park tips. I also plan to visit some local dog parks and do a few reviews – maybe even include some photos or videos so that residents can see the park before they plan their visits.
Some of the other topics that I’m considering publishing on the blog are spotlights of local pet rescue organizations, reviews of new pet businesses, and other ways that local pet owners are having fun with their pets.
You can see from the layout that I also have room to place advertising on the right side of the text. At first I plan to insert an ad for my pet sitting business and partner with friends to fill the other spaces. As traffic to the site grows I will be able to ask a reasonable fee for ad placement and add another income stream to my business.
To get your blog going you will want to publish new articles regularly – at least 2-3 times per week or daily if possible. If you are limited for time and don’t think you will be able to post regularly why not recruit other members of your family, your employees, or local writers looking for contract work and pay them a fee per post. You will need to set specific topic, quality and length requirements for them but they may come with other creative ideas for your site. I am going to ask my contract pet sitters if they would like to write articles about their city pets or pet attractions for a flat rate per article to boost their pet sitting income.
Take a look around and see if your community has a local information hub for pet lovers. If not then think about creating your own as a way to publicize your local pet business.
If you would like help to set up a blog please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be more than happy to offer advice and give you more tips to get your new site started.