Promoting your new or existing pooper scooper business can be a full time occupation all by itself. There is no longer “traditional” advertising or marketing in any business. I would venture to guess that most entrepreneurs who start up a service business like a pooper scooper, would be a little short on funds to run TV commercials, radio spots during drive time, or even a half page ad in a local newspaper.
That’s where creativity comes in.
I could probably come up with a hundred different ways to advertise your pooper scooper business with little or no cash outlay, but decided to limit it to the following 5 ways. Maybe later I’ll do 5 more. Enjoy!
1. Real Life Social Interaction
I know we like to spend stupid amounts of time on our computers socializing with our friends, but your friends already know that you pickup dog poop for a living. How about meeting new people, in your area, that have dogs? This is easy, tried and true.
Grab a handful of your favorite business card, postcard or flyer and head over to your local Petsmart, Petco, or any large pet store in your area and hang out in the parking lot. Well, don’t just hang out there doing nothing, look for people that are coming out of the store with a large bag of dog food.
When you see one, casually walk up to them, introduce yourself and offer to help them load that huge bag of dog food in their car. While you’re doing that, make sure you let them know what you do and hand them a flyer. They may or may not use your service, but I can guarantee they’ll tell someone about it.
For me, this has worked best in the late afternoon/evening, and on weekends. All it cost was some time and the cost a some flyers. Of course, I used postcards so they were easy to grab and hang on to.
2. Craig’s List
What better way to get the word out about your new pooper scooper business than doing it online, for free! In case you’ve been in a cave for the past few years, Craigslist.org is an online classified advertising web site that is free to use and is available in most cities nationwide. Like any type of advertising, it helps to be consistent. That means re-posting your ad everyday and several times a day.
What I do is make several different ads, headlines and image ads, then post them everyday in a couple of different categories like pets, pet services and small business ads. You can probably find some others like yard cleaning, landscaping etc.
You can also open a free account with them and renew your posts with the click of a button. While you can find several automatic posting software out there, you should use at your own risk as Craigslist has some strict automated posting restrictions.
There’s a whole section in my E-book, The Professional Scoop Master, that explains how to post several times a day without getting flagged and explains in more details the intricacies of Craig’s List. Did I mention that this was free?
3. Walking Sign
Chereese from Yard Guards on Doody turned me on to this fun little marketing technique. She sprung for a nice dog costume and a bone shaped sign then hired her daughter to stand on street corners and wave the sign around. On the sign was simply “We Scoop Poop” followed by a phone number. You can research the traffic patterns of your town to find the busiest intersection and be seen by hundreds or even thousands of people in a short amount of time. Just search “traffic volume- your city.” Quick, easy, simple and not a whole lot of cash, after the initial investment of course. One caveat… make sure you’re not in violation of any sign ordinances in your area.
4. Pay Others to Promote Your Business
Alright, how much is this going to cost me? Isn’t this article about low cost ideas? Yes, it is. There must be a dozen ways to twist this idea, but I’ll list a few here. Pay others to promote your business. Ever heard of an affiliate program? If you were in that cave from #2 above, let me explain. An affiliate program is a method of letting others promote you for a fee. The best part is, your affiliate does not get paid unless they get you a paying customer.
The trick is to make it worth their while. Find out how much a customer is worth to you. Let’s say a typical customer pays you $50 a month for service. Is it worth it to you to pay some college student, neighborhood kids, or even a perfect stranger, $50 for a new customer? You bet! Can you talk said person into making just 2 sales a day? Maybe. It would be a great incentive to lay out the plan for them to follow. I.E. Get 2 new customers a day and make $100 bucks a day. You can even give them the flyers or postcards to use. For that matter, refer back to #1 and send them to the pet store!
You may say to yourself, “wait a minute, I’m losing money if I do that.” Maybe you will, but most of the time, the customer will keep your services. When you factor in how much it cost you for customer acquisition, you may discover that $50 is pretty good. I’ve had some years where customer acquisition was near $200! It’s a good thing most of those customers stayed on for several years.
5. Google Adwords
This may not be your idea of low cost marketing, but if you’re new to the pooper scooper industry and you have competition in your area, then Adwords is a must to get your new business web site seen. It doesn’t have to cost a lot, maybe $50 a month to start, or at least until your website shows up on the serps organically.
Hey, Tim! What in the world are you talking about? Serps? Organically? Sorry, I’ll explain the process and the terms.
Mrs. Customer decides she wants to find a pooper scooper service to clean up after Fifi. Like most of the world, she turns to Google and types in something like “pooper scooper” and her city. Those are referred to as keywords. What comes up next is the serps or the Search Engine Results PageS. From there, she can look at the list of pooper scoopers and start shopping for a service. If you’ve ever done a search, you know what I mean. The first three listings and all the listings on the right side of the page are paid results. Businesses pay, through Adwords, to be listed there.
The other 10 listings on the left side, or the main part of the page are the “organic” listings, meaning they show up without being paid for. To make a long story short, through some complicated Google algorithms, the web sites with the highest likelihood of showing up organically, are older, more established web sites… not yours, (if you’re new).
This is why Adwords is so important for your new web site and business, you can pay to be seen. And it doesn’t have to cost a lot. You only pay when someone clicks on your ad. Typically, when someone clicks on your ad, they are looking for what you have to offer, thus it makes it a cost effective way to gain new customers.
This can get really complicated, analytic and time consuming to get the correct wording for an ad and targeting the most cost effective keywords. For more information or help, visit www.NoTimeForAdwords.com
So there you have it, quite possibly my top 5 low cost methods for promoting your pooper scooper business. Each one has been tested and tried and if they didn’t get results, I wouldn’t be doing it. The only one I haven’t personally tried is #3, only because I live in a city that has strict sign ordinances and holding street signs is not allowed. Doesn’t mean you can’t use this method at trade shows, outdoor events or street fairs. Happy scooping!