How to Market Your Dog Walking Business During the COVID-19 Crisis: 6 Tasteful Ways to Attract New Clients

The coronavirus outbreak has hit the dog walking industry hard. Shelter in place orders prohibit commercial dog walking in some areas or only allow dog walkers to service essential workers. Clients working from home have put dog walking on hold, causing massive cancellations for dog walking companies. While you might feel that marketing during this time isn't a good idea, it's actually a great time to ramp up your marketing efforts so you'll be positioned for success when you return to business as usual. 


The Good News

First I want to share some promising news for dog walkers. Spurred by stay at home orders, many shelters, rescues and breeders have reported an increased demand for dogs and an uptick in adoptions. So we can certainly hope that once the stay at home orders end and new dog owners head back to work, the demand for dog walking may also increase. 

So continuing to market during this time is essential if you want to be ready for the potential surge in demand. If new dog owners don't know you exist, there is zero chance they'll contact you when they are ready to hire a dog walker. Take this time to accelerate your marketing efforts so you'll be perfectly positioned for success once this is over. 


#1 Create a Marketing Plan

If you've never tackled creating a marketing plan for your business, now is the time. Brainstorm all the ways you can get the word out about your service. Make a list of viable options, then block off time in your schedule to work on marketing strategies from your list on a regular basis.  


#2 Build Brand Awareness

Even if you can't take new clients right now, building brand awareness will help dog owners in your community become familiar with you and your service. Social media channels like Instagram and Facebook are a great way to start. 


#3 Change Your Marketing Message

Don't ignore the coronavirus pandemic, instead, alter your marketing message to address it. It's OK to acknowledge that clients may not need your services right now. You don't need to gloss over that. Tailor your message to attract clients who will need you in the future or essential workers who can hire you now (more on that below). 


#4 Target Essential Workers

If you're still able to service essential workers, why not try some targeted advertising? They may be in need of a walker now more than ever, so you'll be helping them meet a need with your service. You can target people by profession via Facebook ads, post on Nextdoor or in Facebook community groups (rule permitting) to name a few. You might consider offering a promotion exclusively to essential workers during this time in appreciation for their service. 


#5 Form New Marketing Partnerships

Increase your marketing power by reaching out to complementary businesses. You can help each other by promoting each others services. Just make sure the relationship will be mutually beneficial, a one-sided partnership won't last long. 


#6 Create or Update Your Website

Having a professional website gives you instant credibility and helps you harness the power of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This boosts your chances of having clients find you via online searches, so don't neglect this dynamic marketing tool.