When you are just starting out, it is tempting to take shortcuts in order to get more clients. There are endless ways to get the word out, but some can be costly with a low to no return on investment if you aren’t careful. You’ll be bombarded by calls from social media agencies and Yelp advertising reps, but don’t succumb to the temptation to give away a bit of cash for dreamy promises.
Social Media Agencies
There are a lot of companies out there that claim that they can get you more “likes” or “followers” for a certain cost. Some companies that approach you can seem truly legitimate and some may even be listed in the “Better Business Bureau” directory. However, their fees can add up very quickly. Ultimately, social media is about building relationships with people in your area. Spend some time getting to know how to target your shares to specific, local areas for the best results.
Facebook in particular now allows you to limit and target posts towards a certain audience. Use these options to your advantage. Don’t spend hundreds on companies that give you false hopes.
If you’re considering Facebook ads, check out this insanely detailed article on narrowing your target audience to limit spend and increase your return on investment.
Email Marketing Agencies
Just like with social media, many companies will gladly take your money in exchange for email newsletter creation. Again, taking the time to learn about free alternatives is a great way to save money. It is actually extremely simple with free services like MailChimp. There are also tons of free “how-to” videos on YouTube. To learn about what you should include in an email newsletter, read my article on “Key Components To Creating A “Must Read” Email Newsletter.”
Local News Sites
Local news sites often reach out to new businesses with “special” or “exclusive” ad space availabilities. Whether advertising in a newspaper or on local news sites, this old school method of advertising is unlikely to lead to new clients. Spend advertising budget wisely by advertising in places where people are already looking for services like those you offer – Google! Read my article on digital marketing tactics for dog trainers.
Google Adwords is the ultimate place to find new customers because your business only shows up to people who are already looking for businesses like yours!
Business & Marketing Courses for Dog Trainers
Looking for up-to-date information and advice on running your dog training business? We’ve just launched a waitlist for a few courses for dog trainers. Learn the ins and outs of running and marketing a dog training business from experienced, certified professional dog trainers. Check out our starting list of courses here.
You’ve realized your website needs an upgrade and have decided to use WordPress to build it. One of the cool things about WordPress is you get to start with a template. Templates are basically a design framework that allow you to plug your own photos and text into and you end up with a snazzy site. Some templates come with plugins built in and some templates integrate with plugins better than others. Before purchasing a template, make sure it’s going to integrate with what you want to do.
We’ve put together the best options for paid and free templates. Why pay for a template? The paid options below come with technical support. If you’re new to WordPress and aren’t quite sure you can get started alone, paid options with support are a nice medium between full DIY and paying someone to build a site for you.
Our Favorite WordPress Themes for Dog Trainers
Image via Organized Themes
Organized Themes has a full range of templates available for your site. While some of them are designs for restaurants or stores with huge photos to showcase products, templates designed for non-profits are awesome, especially if you are a non-profit. Rescue organizations and humane societies can use the “Donate Now” button on the front page for fundraising efforts. If you’re not a non-profit, use the large action button for “Register today!”
All Non-Profit Themes, but we specifically like the Forward theme.
Support is delivered by a growing Knowledge Base and Support Forums. All questions in the forums are answered by the developer himself. Since he doesn’t have a full support team, customer support does have specific hours: Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 5 pm, Central Standard Time GMT -5.
Pricing for these templates are based on either a single theme or period of access to all themes. A single theme with lifetime support and no monthly fee is $59. If you want to try out a bunch of themes before you settle on one, choose the 6 month membership for $89. This gives you access to all the templates as well as support for 6 months. If you don’t need support after the 6 months is up no further payment is needed.
Image via Elegant Themes
Elegant Themes has 87 templates, which can make decisions difficult! Since Google now drops your search placement if your website is not Mobile friendly, stick to browsing the Responsive templates. We like the clean look of the Trim template. Remember, if the template has huge photos you will need to fill those spaces with your own graphics. For many of trainers that could be a problem.
Support is delivered by Documentation, step by step guide for template installation, and Support Forums. All questions in the forums are answered by Elegant technical support.
Pricing is an annual membership fee that gives you access to all 87 templates. The best option is $69 for a year. Once you’re all set up you can cancel your subscription and keep your final website for life.
Image via WordPress
If you’re ready to go full DIY, you can download the free version of Cuztomizr, or get the Pro version, which includes access to Premium Support.
Customizr lives up to its name. It’s fully customizable with the Live Preview option, so you see your changes “live,” but unpublished. Checkboxes toggle front page items on and off, the color picker means you get to choose the exact color you want, and you get to use your own logo. This template supports most plugins and is fully responsive for mobile users.
Free Support is available through the official WordPress Customizer forum. Questions will be answered by either SuperUsers or the developer, but Super Users are more common. Start with the Documentation, some of your questions may be answered there. Paid Support is available from the developer though a Support Forum using an activation key. Questions are answered by “WordPress Experts,” which means carefully chosen Super Users and not necessarily the developer. Paid support is $44.95 per year.
Image via WordPress
i-transform is template with smaller spaces for photos, which means you don’t need to come up with huge, splashy graphics on the home page. It’s Mobile friendly and comes with a toolkit plugin for customization. While the finished theme looks awesome, this is very much a DIY project that will require you to read the documentation on the theme and the toolkit plugin that comes bundled with it to make the initial setup easier.
Free Support is available through the official WordPress i-transform forum. Questions will be answered by either SuperUsers or the developer, but Super Users are more common. Start with the i-transform Tutorial available from the developer. Some of your questions may be answered there.
Image via WordPress
Hueman is one of the more complicated templates due to the variability of sliding menus, headers and footers, and widgets. If you offer a lot of services, have multiple locations, or a lot of staff, utilize the three column front page so visitors can find what they need easily. This template is a very difficult DIY project, so you’ll need familiarity with WordPress and templates and some coding.
Free Support is available through the developer’s Documentation, and the official WordPress Hueman forum. Questions will be answered by either SuperUsers or the developer, but Super Users are more common.
Recommended Article: 5 Must Have WordPress Plugins for Dog Trainers Websites
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