In honor of the 25th birthday of the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) program this year, we’re going to be featuring some articles with the “25” theme.
From some of our most active evaluators, here are 25 great tips for marketing your CGC classes.
#25- Web page
Most legitimate businesses have them. Having a well-designed web page is the mark of a professional. Web pages provide a chance for you to list your credentials and tell why your classes are great.
#24- Local television
If you have a local television station that covers pets, put together a media packet and go and meet the reporter. With some networking and follow-up you can become the go-to dog trainer for a local station (or the county channel, etc.).
#23- Ad in the phone book
I know- a lot of people don’t have phone books anymore. But some do, and many phone books (with business listings included) also appear online.
My local station sometimes does interviews. I gave them a media packet and they will call me for interviews about Christmas puppies (ugh!), dog events in our community, what to do when dogs are afraid of fireworks, etc. It is only every now and then, but it gets my name out there.
#21- Business organizations
I joined the Chamber of Commerce, the Junior League, and a local Women’s Business Network. Once a month, these groups have socials and I have become known as “the dog trainer.”
#20- Community Business Fair
My town has a weekend at the civic center where businesses get a booth or table. The public comes through and can learn about your business. I have giveaways (pens, calendars) with my business name, web address, and phone number.
#19- Newspaper ad/Column in Community paper
I maintain a small, inexpensive classified ad in the newspaper-some people still look for services via the Classifieds. There is also a small community newspaper in my city and I volunteered to write articles for that. One article grew into a monthly column.
#18- Feed store signs
Signs at the local feed stores (on the community bulletin board) reach dog owners who buy dog food there.
#17- Sign at local pet stores, pet supply
I had some professionally designed small (8 x 11”) signs made. I put them on the Announcements/Services boards at all the local pet supply stores that allow signs.
#16- Logo shirt
Logo shirts help you sell your business. My daily uniform shirt alternates between a CGC evaluator shirt (a lot of people ask about it) and my business logo shirt.
#15- Newspaper- Press Releases
Newspapers have ads and they also have news. You can do a press release (samples on the CGC page at http://www.akc.org) to announce recent graduates, a child who passed the CGC test with a dog, a senior, or a whole class. For one CGC test a year, we donate the fees to the local K9 unit. The newspaper covers the ceremony.
In the next blog, we’ll cover the remaining 10 tips for marketing your CGC classes. Meanwhile, let us know if you have any favorite marketing and PR techniques that you’d like to share.