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Need to promote business or flyers?

(21 Posts)
welliesandwine Mon 01-Aug-16 15:14:08

Need to pick some business brains!
Run a tiny petsitting and gardening business, I have regular clients that have been mainly from word of mouth and I also subcontract to another local dogwalker
Having done the family budget I need to be bringing in some more money ..its a very trendy business model recently though and new petsitters seem to be popping up everywhere !!
I am debating between a website/facebook/twitter approach or a leafleting campaign.. Can't afford much

EssentialHummus Mon 01-Aug-16 15:20:11

For this sort of business I'd expect flyers at the vets and in local parks to be the most effective. Can you advertise on a local FB group for the area?

welliesandwine Mon 01-Aug-16 15:31:16

Thanks for the reply you think a leaflet without a web address is acceptable? I could add a facebook pagelink I suppose....
There are a few dog walkers/meet up pages but they don't allow 'advertising' as there are so many businesses..they get inundated.

EssentialHummus Mon 01-Aug-16 15:45:54

I think a FB page is enough IMO - you can add all the info you need there re your availability, areas covered, services, your insurance, contact details and maybe a few pics of you with the dogs.

You can put up a professional-looking website for free or cheap these days (I really rate Jimdo, but there are lots of good providers), but you will likely spend a lot of money driving traffic to it if you are not good at marketing.

ClarkL Mon 01-Aug-16 15:50:39

Hi Wellies
My husband has had a website for years which isnt great, but his facebook page has got him some great coverage and recommendations so I would really recommend looking at the social media side especially as it is free.
We are eventually going to invest in some horseboxes to do up and sell as a side line for when he is quiet, so we have started our own horsebox selling page, We keep the page on topic, building up the numbers (over 150 in 3 months) and when the time is right and we have the perfect selling platform we can start promoting our own work there. Perhaps the solution to the dog walking pages is to start your own? Organise a few group walks and recommend good routes You could stipulate people only advertise as a page document or in response to direct answers.
If you have some regular dogs you walk and the owners are happy some photos like a diary of what you've been up to, what you've seen etc to really engage people with the 'story' and fun times the dogs have with you

welliesandwine Mon 01-Aug-16 17:19:36

Okay brill ..thanks will have a play about with social media tonight (I am useless with Twitter though so will start with FBsmile) ..looked at websites and the price just seem to add up with the marketing etc don't think I have enough info to fill a website

welliesandwine Mon 01-Aug-16 17:22:46

Love the idea of setting up a general pet/dog page ...would never have thought of that!
Chicken sitting is my most popular service so might push that as after nosing at the other local petsitters ..none of them mention chickens..

ClarkL Mon 01-Aug-16 17:27:01

I am no expert when it comes to Facebook pages, I have set up one for my own business and my husbands as well as the generic interest page so feel free to PM me any questions but from my limited experience time and patience is key as well as having a few friends to share the pages to start you off

ClarkL Mon 01-Aug-16 17:28:13

BTW, great idea focusing on something 'competitors' don't do, especially as chickens need a lot of care, anyone who things they are easy has never faced a redmite invasion!!

MrsMargoLeadbetter Mon 01-Aug-16 19:54:37

I agree with FB being the best place to start as long as you think your target audience is on there. Maybe start sharing pictures (with the owners consent) of your charges, fellow animal lovers might enjoy that!

It is worth noting that FB pages on their own - without advertising - have limited reach. FB wants you to pay to boost it, so they limit what % of those that like it see it... However, it gives you a presence, a URL and somewhere you can grow fans/followers.

It is a US org, but Hubspot do good free guides.

Ensure you start pushing people towards it on flyers, invoices, receipts, email footers etc.

I would also ensure you are in any local 'parenting' or local FB groups. I (in London, which is more densely populated I know & with the chickens reference you might be more rural) am in c5 local groups covering a couple of towns are there are c10,000 locals across these groups. I'd tread lightly, responding to requests for recommendations only unless they allow 'advertising' on certain days. There is a FB Groups mobile app which is good for dipping in and out of groups and you can search for terms.

MrsMargoLeadbetter Mon 01-Aug-16 19:56:11

Sorry I should have said that our local FB Groups are really active. Lots of people sharing day out recommendations and also asking for recommendations from decorators through to childminders etc.

welliesandwine Mon 01-Aug-16 20:48:46

Thanks Margo ...I'm playing about with a flyer design at the moment and have done the bare bones of a FB page .. I am rural but on the edge of Chester so hoping to get a few more from there.....need 6 more regulars I reckon and I'm going to point existing clients towards the FB page by getting a new business email address and doing an email footer like you suggest
Thanks everyone its good to get some fresh ideas

justatoe1 Thu 04-Aug-16 11:14:09

Look at Instagram in addition to Facebook. Well taken pictures of gardens and pets are popular!
Quality images, twice a day and almost treat it like a lifestyle blog. Research hashtags and see what others are doing.
Facebook is essential for you, but expect to pay to get your name out there (you don't need a huge budget but organic reach is low on FB now)

Lonecatwithkitten Thu 04-Aug-16 13:29:30

I am going to disagree with justatoe I work in a similar industry and organic spread can be really powerful in fact most of the industry specific advice is not to pay on Facebook. For me puppies/kittens are very powerful, but also sharing lost/found pets in the local area as others will share to help the pet get home.

Thewolfsjustapuppy Thu 04-Aug-16 13:44:47

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and google plus are great ways to get your message out and generally free. Facebook are quite clever at not putting adverts on organic reach - e.g we use FB a lot and most of our posts are fairly broad information/ education type posts with cute pictures or links to other people's interesting blogs, these get anything up to 1000 views and good click through etc, as soon as we try putting anything up that is directly related to our business - offers, availability, news - the reach will drop to 4. They want us to sponsor (pay for) posts, I was quite good at getting round it but recent changes have made it really hard to get through their filters. I do sponsor occasionally and it is quite cheep for the reach and normally effective.

justatoe1 Thu 04-Aug-16 15:14:57

Probably the message with Facebook is to try and see if the engagement and reach matches your expectations and then decide whether you wish to pay to promote.

springwaters Fri 05-Aug-16 20:09:04

Go on streetlife- people often ask for recommendations for services there. Post a bit on relevant threads as well

GrumpyOldBag Sat 06-Aug-16 20:10:16

I would suggest setting up a Facebook page first - it's free.

You could do some cheap flyers with your FB address on too which you could print at home.

VeganCow Mon 08-Aug-16 14:23:24

I went to a business start up meeting and they recommended a facebook page as the main source of business.
I did that, followed by setting up my own website, I bought my domain name for less than a tenner for 2 years from, and I also set up my website with their free website builder, its free if its 2 pages or less. then lastly had 100 leaflets done on ebay, again, less than a tenner. So, the wole thing took lots of time, as in designing the website and facebook page and designing my own leaflets, but then the cost for the lot was around £20.

alexthedog Sun 21-Aug-16 20:23:43

I am just starting out too with a dog walking and pet sitting business in York. I have got my first clients from tailster, and I also found out about another dog walker who was stopping through this so I contacted her. I have paid her a small fee for some referrals. I now have five regular dog walking clients.

I am just wondering whether to try contacting other local established walkers to ask if they would like to meet and if they have any referrals if they are full. Does this seem a bit too forward? Or too direct?

justatoe1 Mon 22-Aug-16 17:45:12

Great idea....just modify the approach when meeting to see how you could help each other ie is there anything you could do to help their business and by the way if they are at capacity could they send dogs your way?

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