Archive for Marketing


Christmas Is Almost Here

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The holidays are upon us; for most of us, things are beginning to slow down, so this is a great time to think about some specialty marketing. As professional dog trainers, we know the potential hazards awaiting the family pets during these times:

  • Christmas trees
  • Ornaments
  • Icicles
  • Lights
  • Presents
  • Visitors
  • And so on and so forth . . . .

In other words, a lot of new stuff, a lot of excitement, and very little supervision! Holidays can be a dangerous time for dogs and cats.

Trainers, on the other hand, can take advantage of these hazards and use the opportunity for some much needed education and marketing. Here are a couple of ideas to think about (there are plenty of other ideas out there, as well – just put your thinking cap on!).

Newsletter – Create a newsletter addressing holiday safety for pets. In addition to sending this e-mail to your clients, have a bunch printed professionally and leave stacks in vet and groomer reception areas, pet stores, etc. Not only does this put your name in front of a whole bunch of potential clients, it provides much needed information to the clients of non-competing professionals – and hopefully, they’ll remember when it comes time to refer!

Live presentation – Offer to do a short, informative presentation on holiday safety for local businesses and/or organizations. You could do one for vets, local pet stores, your community shelter, the Better Business Bureau, the Elks, schools, churches, department stores . . .   There are too many possibilities to list!

Free clinic – Get together with some of your training buddies and have a “Holiday Pet Safety” clinic, where you present information and brainstorm with pet owners. It could be an all-day event at the local shelter. Have a basic 30 minute presentation then 30 minutes of brainstorming, and just keep repeating that format throughout the day. Participants will come and go, and they can make donations of food or money to the shelter.

Santa Paws – Team up with a professional photographer to offer pictures of dogs with Santa Clause; the photographer can take the photos and you can provide help and guidance to customers while they’re awaiting their turn.

These are just a few ideas, but there are many creative ways to take this extra time and put it to good use. Have a happy and safe holiday!

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I was so happy to get this up, and so pleased with my new look, that I really wanted to do something special. I was mulling it over, wishing I was a storefront instead of an Internet-based business, when I thought “Why can’t I have a grand opening? There’s no rule that says grand openings are only for physical stores.” So I took that thought and ran with it. The advantage of a website grand opening is that it doesn’t have to be just one day – it can be all month long!

And so it will be; Raising Canine’s Website Grand Opening will take place throughout the month of October. There are all kinds of things going on this month – here are just a few of the highlights:

  • Free telecourses
  • Great prizes
  • A remote group hypnosis session

We have four Grand prizes up to $1500 in value, and we also have a bunch of first prize DVDs and books which will be given away throughout the month. Everybody who enters will win something. Below is a list of the telecourses that will be going on this month, so check them out. Here’s the link to the Grand Opening page on my website so you can enroll in the drawing, if you want. While you’re there, please take the time to fill out the survey. Thanks for participating!



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Branding: My Personal Journey

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For those of you who aren’t aware, I launched my new Raising Canine website about a month ago. This has been a project three years in the making! Because it’s been such a long and arduous process, I thought I’d share my thought process with you.

When I started this incarnation of Raising Canine, I planned on addressing education for all companion animals (i.e., dogs, cats, parrots and horses). I recruited speakers for various species and do have a nice selection of cat and parrot courses. During this process, I realized that my business name, Raising Canine, was not helping me when it came to the other species offerings, so I decided to change my name. After some thought, I came up with the name “Animal Ed.”

Changing my name from Raising Canine to Animal Ed was an emotionally difficult transition, as I love the name Raising Canine, and it is a well-known name in our industry. However, I decided this is a business decision – not an emotional decision – so I decided to gird my loins and do it. I used Animal Ed for about a year, and even put out one major product using that name – Cara Shannon’s DVD, “Bad to the Bone.”

After about a year, I took a look at my financials and decided that I would be better served targeting dog trainers, rather than consultants for other species. I wasn’t as well known with other species and I didn’t have the contacts to create a rich and varied selection of educational offerings, as I did with dogs. So, I decided to go back to Raising Canine. What a mess! However, I’m very glad I made that decision, even if it was bit of a sticky wicket.

So, the moral of this story is, market narrowly and deliver broadly. Does this seem to be a recurring theme with me? I have a lot of really great education for dog trainers; however, probably half (or more!) of that education applies equally to consultants of other species. So, I’ll target dog trainers and if cat consultants want to learn from my offerings, great! I’m happy to oblige.

Next month (October) will be the grand opening of my new website, so check it out! We’ll have some great prizes (4 grand prizes worth over $500 each!), and everyone can win something.  Hopefully, we’ll have all the glitches worked out by then.

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