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Marketing strategies for a Local Service

LiteheartedoneLiteheartedone subscriber Posts: 1
edited November 2007 in Marketing
Hi All!
I own a pet sitting service in North East Georgia.  I`ve been reading, with great interest  all of the helpful information on marketing.   
I have a business background strong customer service experience, great with clients, awesome with their animals,  can even keep track of the paper work/financial side of things....but am woefully out of my element with marketing.  I told a friend recently when I can afford to farm something out marketing will be the first task to go to a pro! 
I am however, limited in my marketing budget (temporarily!) so no consultants in my immediate future.......  Which leads to my question:
My business is local (just a couple of counties at this time), and is limited to the distance I can reasonably drive in a given time to care for animals in their homes. I`ve noticed a lot of advertising tips are focused on businesses which can distribute or mail products far and wide.
Any tips, suggestions, venues for local marketing would be most appreciated.  Also tips on establishing trust/comfort levels via advertising, as I do enter homes and care for precious pets.
Thanks in advance! 


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    stonesledgestonesledge subscriber Posts: 608 Silver Level Member
    I think that is a great idea. Could you possibly donate time at the local SPCA, humane shelters etc...in exchange for them handing out your service card or brochure? How about making partnerships with local Vet offices, pet supply retail, animal clinic`s even the PTA`s. Find the folks who own the pets, and get the word out. Also could you try to get a "how to" article in your local paper or write a press release about the holidays and how it is convenient to use petsitters while on travel?
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    stonesledgestonesledge subscriber Posts: 608 Silver Level Member
    Also, alot of areas have photography studios that specialize in pet portraits and also there may be a local pet bakery..check into it and make friends!


    Write a column in your local newspaper educating consumers about your area of expertise.

    Conduct a seminar on a topic related to your business.

    Sponsor an industry or community event.

    Create a community contest or industry awards program.

    stonesledge11/10/2007 5:38 PM
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    CookieMonsterCookieMonster subscriber Posts: 0
    I love the advice from Erin and Janie. It`s brilliant.
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    LiteheartedoneLiteheartedone subscriber Posts: 1
    Thanks for the tips everyone.
    I`ll be looking into some of these ideas ASAP.
    I`ve already done some of them (member of two pet sitting associations) and have been advertising in a local mailer.  That worked great for awhile but as time goes on less calls are being generated.  Tweaked the ad....still no improvement. 
    I give out referral coupons to my customers, i.e. refer me to a new customer and earn free visits. 
    A problem, as I`ve have mentioned is earning trust.  In conversations with my clients they have mentioned hesitation in calling a pet sitter due to concerns and trust issues.  Being that I am mature, bonded and insured once I get them on the phone and visit with the client I usually win them over.  It`s getting them to pick up the phone and call.  Thoughts, ideas?   (btw I do put my name and picture in my ads)
    Again thank you for taking the time to post replies.....I really appreciate it. 
    Liteheartedone11/11/2007 8:16 AM
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    DaleKingDaleKing subscriber Posts: 141
    An ad doesnt evoke trust. 
    I disagree. Many ads do instill trust. That`s one of the reasons they`re successful to begin with. If an ad is targeted to the right audience, is credible, has a solid guarantee, real customer testimonials and the company`s contact information, chances are, it will instill trust.
    Dale King
    DKing11/11/2007 11:29 AM
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    LiteheartedoneLiteheartedone subscriber Posts: 1
    Thanks again all! 
    I had considered joining the local chamber but thought it was more of a business to business connection.......but I will re-evaluate the idea!
    I`m glad I found this site..... 
    (btw vets board dogs also....so they view me as competition, let`s just say I often get a `chilly` reception from them when trying to network) 
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    MistressofMarketingMistressofMarketing subscriber Posts: 2
    As the owner of several dogs, I usually ask friends and relatives for recommendations and after that I would go the Craigslist services section. That`s where I`ve found movers, tree trimmers, cleaning people, dog poop scoopers and more ... another place I go is Angieslist.  http://www.angieslist.com/AngiesList/
    If you have a website, I`ll go there first. I`d want to see recommendations too!
    Hope that helps!
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