The following information and suggestions have been designed to help all Angels get more bookings for themselves in their local area. Use the links below to go straight to that section.
Section 1: Useful Facts to Know
The following section covers some useful marketing information about our business and our customers. This may help you gain a greater understanding of what sort of customers you want and how you can design your Pet Angels schedule.
Understanding our Services
Pet Angels services are divided into two key types:
1. Dog Walking
This is an all-year round business and customers are likely to want the same Angel to walk their dog on a regular and on-going basis. So this is an excellent steady and predictable income stream for you if you are profiled as a dog walker. For instance, we have just booked one client to walk her dog every day for 45 minutes indefinitely. For the lucky Angel that is $260 a month. If the same Angel had two other dog walks in the same area, one for 30 minutes three times a week and one for 60 minutes two times a week, that would be $500 a month on an on-going basis. In addition to any other income that Angel might have. So you can imagine the possibilities!
Dog walking customers are most likely to be busy professionals. Their primary motivation for wanting an Angel is ‘guilt’! They love their dog and feel terrible about leaving it alone all day, without stimulation or company. A regular daily walk will make the owner and the dog feel better. There are some other reasons people want their dog walked (for example, we have one older customer who needs help and one mother of a newborn baby who doesn’t like going in the buggy), but people at work will be the majority.
2. Holiday Services
This type of booking will peak at key holiday times, such as Christmas, Easter and other school and statutory breaks.
Pet feeding (mostly cats but some rabbits, goats, chickens, etc), house sitting and home boarding will be the services people are looking for when they go away. The bookings will be for a limited period at a time, but the ideal scenario would be for a customer to always want to re-book you for the next time they are away. The key here is obviously to do a great job for them and build a feeling of trust with them.
Your Pet Angel Schedule
If you are down for dog walking and all or some of the holiday services, your ideal schedule would see you with a number of regular dog walks that fit into your own life, topped up with some extra pet feeding or house-sitting/home boarding during holiday periods.
If we go back to the Angel scenario mentioned above, the Angel could add 2 daily half hour pet feeds per day and one home board for 10 days to their dog walking in one month to see their income increase to $1020 for the month, on top of any other income they may have.
That’s just a sample of what’s possible, depending on how many or few assignments you want to take on. If you are very keen and have the time you could easily double this amount or more, and still be working part time and allowing time for other things in your life.
Pet Angels HQ Marketing Plan
Based on the two different types of business outlined above, our marketing will have an on-going focus on dog walking with a view to achieving many consistent, regular and loyal customers to create regular income for you and for the company.
We will also have campaigns to target holiday business around key holiday times such as public holidays, Easter and Christmas.
In the early stages, we will need to bring new customers on board and so will need to be out there with promotions and sales efforts. As our customer base grows, we will be able to focus more on repeat business, encouraging clients to try other services and gaining referrals and recommendations from happy customers.
Section 2 – Achieving Maximum Success as an Angel
So how do you do it? Here are the six keys for maximum success as an Angel:
- Remember there are two types of services. Dog walking / ongoing / not seasonal and holiday services / more likely to be seasonal and peaking around public holidays. So you will always be looking for people with dogs who work during the day and/or people with cats and other animals that need looking after when they go away on holiday.
- Make sure your profile and calendar are always up to date on the website. If a customer enters a requirement and you have not updated your calendar to show you are available, you will not appear as an option. All of HQ promotions from now on will be telling people to search and book online so if you want customers … you must be there!
- Decide what your ideal Pet Angels Scenario would look like. Would you be like the Angel described above, with a number of regular dog walk customers providing year round consistent income, topped up with some holiday services? Or are you more interested in the holiday services and keen to promote yourself in this area? Take a look at your next six month period, think about what you will be doing, how much work you really would like from Pet Angels and what sort of income you’d like it to bring you. (We can help you with this, if you tell us what sort of monthly income you’d like and what services you want to do most, we can show you some scenarios that might work for you).
- Put some initial energy into generating interest in your local area. Look at the guide outlined in the next section. Follow the steps, use the materials and support provided and put some energy into generating a number of clients for yourself. How much you have to do here will depend on the scenario you’ve drawn for yourself from the point above. If you only want a few customers, you can stop once you have them or just rely on HQ marketing to send customers your way. If you want to be quite aggressive in the income you want from Pet Angels, you can give yourself a better chance by doing a bit more and for a bit longer until you’ve reached your target.
- Gain a loyal customer base. Make sure your customers want you back again … make sure the pets and their owners love you. Leave notes if they are not home telling them what a fabulous time ‘Fido’ or ‘Fifi’ has had. Make sure Fido’s feet are always clean and his lead put where it is supposed to be, the house secure and key where it should be. If you are house sitting, leave the place as you found it - you could even add some other little touch to welcome the owners back. If you are home boarding, maybe take some pictures of Fidos’s week and update Fido’s Plog / diary for his owners. The key is to make sure your customers want to rave about you to their friends about the great experience they and their pets had and that they always want you as their Angel over and above any other!
- Gain more customers from your regular customers. Tell them about the other services you can do – house sitting or home boarding Fido if they go away. If they have other pets, tell them about pet feeding. Ask your loyal customers if they have friends who have pets they could recommend to you and make sure they always look for you by name when they come to book online.
Section 3 – Getting New Customers to Pick You!
Obviously all Angels will benefit from the marketing done by HQ and for some Angels, this will be enough. And as we are able to generate more interest in our online service, we will be recruiting more Angels across the country. But our focus will always be on generating broad awareness of Pet Angels – encouraging customers to come to our website and book any Angel.
The key to success for those Angels who want more customers to select them when they get to the website, is to make sure that there are more potential customers in your local area. Our experience so far has shown that customers do prefer to have an Angel who is based near to them. And of course, the closer the customers, the less travel, hassle and time management issues for you.
Tools you can use:
Available from HQ are:
- Branded poo bags – focus on dogs
- Coloured postcards – covering all services
- Colour flyers with an emphasis on dog walking, but covering all services
- Black and white copy of above – available for you to print out
- Sample scripts for talking to potential customers
Suggested approach to promoting yourself in your area:
Best use of post cards
These are generic and promote all of the Pet Angels services. They are designed to go into cafes, shops, vets, school notice boards, doctor surgeries, local events – anywhere where you know the local community in your area will see them.
The key is to think about the target audience for Pet Angels – busy professionals, people who love their pets and don’t mind spending a little extra to make sure their pet gets the best care in their absence. If you have a good relationship with your local vet, they will probably be happy to put the postcards out for their customers. Make sure you tell the vet about the services you can offer and ask him/her to refer customers to petangels.co.nz if they ask him about such services.
Note: Mail box drops are not the best use of postcards or flyers as there is a lot of wastage. Only a small % of households are likely customers for our services and you will find you quickly run out of materials and see little return for your effort.
Dog Walkers - Poo bags and Flyers
If you are keen to secure some regular dog walking as part of your Pet Angels portfolio, the poo bags and flyers are great tools. But they are better used in person, with people you know for a fact have a dog rather than just mail box dropped.
The team at HQ have been making up ‘doggy bags’ with our poo bags – stuffing a poo bag with more poo bags, a copy of the flyer and some dog biscuits. You may want to do the same. These then make great add value giveaways to dog owners. Just head down to your local dog exercise area and approach the friendly looking dog owners there. Early mornings and after work are the best times to get our ‘busy professionals’. Make sure you wear your cap to give you an air of professionalism. Use the sample script provided and see how you go!
If approaching strangers is too much for you, you could make up some doggy bags and take to your local vet and ask that they be given away to customers as an add value from Pet Angels.
These scripts are examples for what you might want to say when talking to people about Pet Angels, handing out poo bags, flyers, etc. This is just a conversation starter, depending on your rapport with the person, you will be able to go with the flow once you start talking. Just remember your goal is to get them to book you online! (Note, wear your Pet Angels cap when doing this ... it will help a lot!)
Version 1 – When approaching a person with dog
Hello, I’m (name) from Pet Angels
We’re promoting our dog walking services in this area and I’d love to give you this (doggy bag / poo bag / flyer) which tells you all about us.
What is your dog’s name?
What does (dogs name) do during the day?
Did you know he/she could have a Pet Angel come walk him/her?
It’s a great service and the dogs just love it.
If you are interested, just go to petangels.co.nz and you can search for an Angel in your area. I’ll probably come up as an Angel and you can book me to walk (dogs name)…
Version 2 – When approaching someone with no pet (but with view to give them flyer or doggy bag eg. Business person down Lambton Quay)
Hi, do you have a cat or a dog?
No – oh thanks! Bye
Yes – Great, then let me give you this flyer telling you all about our dog walking and pet holiday services. Just go online to petangels.co.nz and you’ll find an angel in your area – your dog will never be happier!