Many dog trainers experience a decline in inquiries and sales once the holidays start to roll around and through the winter months but that doesn’t have to be you!
You can avoid the perceived business slow down by being prepared with a consistent marketing plan and implementing it early!
Here are our top 5 ideas of ways to drum up winter business right now and keep your business growing.
Reach out to previous clients
You should be staying in touch with previous clients through email marketing anyway so make sure to send them a pre-holiday check in email by early November. This can be a great way to offer them a lesson or two to brush up on their dog’s manners before the holiday rush and add income to your third quarter.
Clients that have finished their training six or more months ago will likely be feeling like they could use a quick refresher so have a “special offer” ready just for them.
Create a social media marketing plan for the holidays
The holidays are busy for everyone but we don’t want to neglect our social media channels. Creating content in advance helps us stay consistent and be prepared for days when we might forget.
Take note of special days during the month (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Small Business Saturday, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years, and more) and create connections well in advance that you can schedule to automatically post on that day.
This lets you truly unplug from your business for a bit without sacrificing your future reach.
Host small workshops to work on specific manners
Time is precious and clients may not want to commit to a lengthy training program or class right before the holidays so offering short, one day workshops can provide them with targeted help quickly.
Workshops should be focused on one or two key behaviors that can be taught in less than 3 hours. Some ideas are rapid recalls, recovering jumpers and mat manners. Make sure you include in your marketing how this one skill can keep Fido from stealing holiday dinner or knocking over grandma.
Create a Small Business Saturday offering or participate in Giving Tuesday sales
Do you have a bundle of items that you can package together for a special sale? Maybe it is a set of a few lessons and your favorite harness or ebook that you’ve never sold together before.
The key to a successful bundle sale is to add 2 or 3 products or services together that clients would typically buy anyway and offer them together for a small discount.
Make sure that you highlight the once a year offer and that your bundled offer is complementary services or products.
Want to participate in Giving Tuesday? Offer a special bundle for the regular cost and donate a percentage to the charity of your choosing. It is a win-win!
Stay consistent as possible with marketing efforts
I’ve been tracking patterns over the years from trainers that experience lulls in their business and in my own business. What I have found is that slow downs in business are almost always a result of backing off marketing efforts.
The summer months are so busy that we get booked out 4 weeks in advance and have little time for sleeping or eating much less working ON our business but we can’t let the important stuff fall to the wayside when we are stuck in the weeds.
The trainers who keep consistent with their online and offline marketing are the ones who fare better in the stereotypical “slow” months. Even if you can only manage to do one thing each week, DO IT!
TAKE ACTION NOW!
Okay, I added another bullet point but at DTU, we are all about taking action. So what is the one thing you can commit to doing this week that will help your business in the next 3 months?
Will you create a post for the next holiday coming up and schedule it today?
Can you block out an hour on your calendar once a week to prepare marketing or to follow up with referral sources?
Will you craft your end of year offer this weekend?
Can you start building your client list of who to contact to check in and follow up with?
Whatever is, make the commitment to yourself, your business and your clients and plan it now.