We’ve noticed a steep rise in the launch of directory and referral websites focused on helping people to find local dog pros—are you taking advantage?
What are they?
Websites with built-in referral databases looking to be the go-to place for people trying to find the best this, that, or the other.
Some are large, general, and exclusive directory sites you have to apply to. Others are referral sites focused on a particular kind of service, such as dog training or walking. Dog guardians land on these sites and then can search for a dog pro in their local area. It’s like 1-800-DENTIST for the 21st century.
Getting listed on most of these sites is free; a few come with low annual fees that are generally worthwhile. What’s a $50 marketing expense if it gains you even one dog walking client?
How they work.
Not everyone looking for something on the internet will do a specific, logical search that includes their geographic location. When potential clients simply tell Google to look for “dog training” or “dog daycare” there’s a good chance they’ll end up on one of these referral sites. If they do, they’ll find you—if you’re listed.
Having large sites with lots of traffic linked to yours can also boost your website’s search rankings, helping you to appear higher on the page when people do remember to search by location.
Which to join.
Private national referral sites. Sites looking to match dog owners with dog professionals are exploding in number. These sites allow visitors to search for dog pros in their local area. Some include a wide range of services, others are specific to a particular niche.
They are easy to join, though some of the best do strive to screen dog pros in some way, or ask them to agree to a statement about using positive, scientific methods. We’ve listed a few to look at here. Note that some of these sites are still relatively new; expect to see them add new functionality, areas, and services as they grow. A few are upcoming—you can be among the first listings.
www.dogwalker.com Site is exclusively dedicated to dog walking. They note Dog Walking Academy grads with a certification seal.
www.wooftown.com A site full of R+ articles on training and other dog care topics, they are busy adding a referral listing area for dog trainers, to likely be followed by listings for other dog pro services. They also plan to offer an affiliate program that allows trainers to make money by sending clients to the site to buy any recommended dog training and care items.
www.dogasaur.com Listings for trainers, walkers, sitters, boarding facilities, and groomers.
www.pawloyalty.com Paw Loyalty offers feature-rich client management software specifically for pet sitters, dog walkers, and dog daycare and boarding facilities. Paw Loyalty users have the added benefit of being listed automatically in their dog pro search database and are guaranteed to be in the top 7 search results for their location.
www.doggroomers.com Listing for groomers. This site is run by the same people who run dogwalker.com.
www.dogtrainersdirectory.com Listings for trainers.
www.embarkly.com Listings for pet boarding. They even free have reservation services so your potential clients can purchase your services online.
www.findpetcare.com Listings for pet sitters, boarding facilities, and daycares. They also feature reservation services so your potential clients can purchase your services online.
http://www.dognewsdailyservicesdirectory.com Listings for trainers, pet sitters, groomers, possibly others as they build.
www.dogseminarsdirectory.com A great place to list any seminars, lectures, or other events you’re holding at your facility.
Professional national referral sites. In addition to many other advantages, joining national professional organizations gives you access to free referral listings on their websites.
Pet Professional Guild www.petprofessionalguild.com Listings for trainers.
Association of Pet Dog Trainers www.apdt.com Listings for trainers.
International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants www.iaabc.org Listings for trainers.
Pet Care Services Association (formerly ABKA) www.petcareservices.org Listings for boarding and daycare facilities.
National Association of Professional Pet Sitters www.petsitters.org Listings for pet sitters and dog walkers.
Pet Sitters Associates www.petsitllc.com Listings for pet sitters and dog walkers.
Pet Sitters International www.petsit.com Listings for pet sitters and dog walkers.
Local referral sites. Similar to national referral sites, but focused on a particular city or area, these sites often come up at the top of local internet searches—so you should be sure to be on them.
Some are run by local dog enthusiasts, but more often it’s a group of dog pros who have come together informally for marketing support, or as a formal professional organization. You might have a local pet sitters’ association, for example, or a regional group of dog trainers.