There is one thing thousands of dog trainers have in common: They do not like sales and marketing.
The good news is that all of us, even those who work alone, have at our fingertips a salesperson who has the potential to be highly effective. That salesperson is your website.
The bad news is that many dog trainers I meet are not using their websites effectively.
First impressions matter. Your website will be many people’s first impression of you, and the home page will be their first impression of your website. It is crucial that you hook visitors in before they decide to “Just look around and see what else is out there.”
In this post, we will explore one crucial component of an effective website: The home page – and I will share with you one of my best tips to engage visitors and convert as many as possible into qualified leads.
Let’s dig in.
Here it is in its simplest form: The first thing your website needs to do is to identify your customers and the problems that you solve for them.
This may sound simple, and it is. Now let’s get into some examples so you can see what I mean:
Last week I met with a client of mine to help them with their marketing and sales. They had recently updated their website but had still been seeing a slump in new leads and thus a downturn in sales. They asked me to look at their site and give them some feedback. Here’s what I noticed right away. This was the first section of their homepage (the company name is removed for privacy):
“Here at _____________, we believe owner education is essential in improving relationships and working towards the goals we have with our dogs. We provide owners with the tools, knowledge, and support to communicate correctly with their dogs. Our facility provides a safe and structured learning environment for all our clients to help them develop the skills to live better with their dog.”
Take a moment and see if you recognize the problem with this paragraph.
Maybe that was a little confusing. The problem is not with the paragraph itself. It is a lovely description of the company’s values and the type of facility they provide. The problem is with its location.
The truth is that people don’t care about a company’s values or beliefs until they are interested in working with that company. And they aren’t interested in working with a company until they have identified that the company works with people like them and solves the kinds of problems that they have.
The paragraph above is great content for the “About Us” page, but it should not be the first thing a site visitor reads. What could we put in its place?
An easy way to identify the customer is by asking a question. For example, If you specialize in pet dog training and behavior, you might say something like:
“Are you struggling to get your dog’s behavior under control?” or,
“Does your dog suffer from excessive fear or anxiety?”
Both of these questions have something in common. They get your potential customer to say “Yes”. The website visitor has now self-identified as the kind of person you serve.
The second question has an added benefit in that it also identifies the types of problems you solve.
You can link together multiple questions like this to suck visitors into your website and make them want to learn more.
Another common tactic is to use if/then statements, such as:
“If your dog pulls, jumps, lunges, or barks, we have effective training programs to turn your pup into a model citizen. “ Or,
“If you are tired of feeling frustrated with your dog’s behavior, then you have come to the right place.”
Again, we are identifying the types of clients we work with and the problems we solve for them.
Once you do these two things, there is a much higher likelihood that the visitor will click deeper into your site and want to learn more about your programs. That is goal #1.
Goal #2 is to make them excited to work with you, but that is a topic for another post. In the meantime, here are some other ways that I might be able to help you:
I work virtually and in person with trainers from around the globe to help them make more money, work fewer hours, and get better results. Whether you are trying to sharpen your training and behavior mod skills, grow your business, or achieve a better work-life balance, I’ve got you covered.
Click here to learn more.
My mentorship community The Inner Circle is a forum where we trainers can share ideas and insights on training and behavior, business and marketing, employee management, and more. I am active in the forum daily, and we hold monthly Zoom meetings to dig deep into specific topics.
Click here to learn more.