I remember the weeks I spent searching for a reputable breeder in my area before bringing home my fur baby. Like many prospective dog owners, I knew the breed I wanted, but not much more.
I had a vague idea of gender preference . . . and a shroud of paranoia concerning all the whispered horror stories I’d heard of ill-reputed backyard breeders overcrowding litters and abusing dogs. As an animal lover with next to no connections in the breeding world or pet industry, I did what any self-respecting, wanna-be pet owner would do.
I turned to Google.
After my initial search, I was shocked and disgruntled to find myself almost no better off than I’d started.
While I found plenty of dog breeders “near me,” almost every website left something to be desired.
And let me be abundantly clear: in no way was I looking for a high-end, glitzy website with all the technical bells and whistles. I just wanted to find an online platform that didn’t look like it had been thrown together on a shoestring budget with no technical know-how sometime in the previous decade.
Worse yet, some breeders in my area didn’t even have a website, only a Facebook page and Google business reviews. Instead of searching available litters, I found myself skimming through cluttered website content and pages of Facebook posts trying to decipher which breeders where AKC certified, which offered health guarantees, and which had the most years of experience.
These breeders’ dysfunctional websites, or lack of websites altogether, made it harder for ideal customers like me to find, learn about, and then buy from them. Inadvertently, these breeders were hurting their own business by distancing themselves from their ideal clients.
In the technological era we live in, it is more essential than ever that breeders, like all small business owners, develop and maintain an online presence that showcases their offerings to potential clients.
You’ve heard that your business needs a website (why else would you be reading an article on the very subject?). But I’ve met many breeders and business owners in the pet service industry don’t realize just how critical a website is for their business in particular.
I’ve heard the excuses before:
If I have Facebook / Instagram / Youtube / Pinterest / Insert-Your-Own-Social-Platform, then why do I need a website?
I don’t know how to make a website, so why should I spend my time figuring out how to get one?
Aren’t websites expensive? I don’t have the extra money to spend on one! (A big, NO! to this last one, but more on that later).
Imagine me smiling, shaking my head, and sitting you down with a nice cup of tea for a long, long chat on all the ways those common questions miss the mark. There are many myths surrounding websites and web design – myths that are hurting small business owners who buy into their falsities. In a perfect world, each and every myth deserves a blog post of its own.
But, while we’re here:
- If you want to make a real profit and see continual success with your business, social media platforms alone just won’t cut it.
- With the online tools and affordable design and hosting options available today, you do not need to be technically savvy to boast a professional website.
- Sure, you could pay through the nose for a super inflated web design package to get your business online . . . but why would you when Top Dog’s comprehensive web design packages provide quality results at a fraction of the price?
There are so many reasons that a professional online presence is necessary for anyone in the breeding industry. Here are five reasons all breeders need to have a website of their own:
1. A breeder website proclaims you’re a business, not a hobby
Potential clients scanning the internet for their perfect future pet don’t know the passion and expertise you bring to your business . . . That is, not unless you show them with a website that complements your brand and breeding goals.
It’s hard for all business owners to take a step back and consider their offerings from the view of a new client. Sure, your returning clients know and love you. Heck, they even rave about you to their friends and family. But new clients? Clients with whom you have no connection?
Their only experience with your service is the one you present online. And (painful as it may be to accept!) if a potential client can only find you on social media and third-party sites, that delivers a strong message about your business: that you do not take your business or offerings seriously enough to invest time and money in a website. That your business is really more akin to their daughter’s jewelry crafting hobby or your uncle’s entrepreneurial ventures that never launch beyond a Facebook page.
That your business is, in essence, more of a hobby than an actual business.
Before you start bombarding my inbox, hear me out: I am not saying that your breeding business is not a real business! I’ve worked with plenty of breeders who boast incredible experience and knowledge of their trade, many of whom did not have a website. However, I am saying that not having a website makes it look to internet-browsing clients like you are running more of a hobby than an actual business.
True or not, it’s what potential clients will think.
Do you want potential clients to get that impression? Of course not! Many would argue with me that the same could be said for all business owners, and not just breeders. But I would disagree.
In your industry, clients aren’t simply looking for a deal on their next oil change or a comfortable new couch. Clients are looking to you to provide an additional, beloved member of their family. You better believe that they are going to want to buy from the most professional, well-presented breeder they can find.
And despite the excitement that surrounds getting a new pet, your clients have heard regular, repeat horror stories of abuse and mistreatment in your industry. Conscientious pet buyers are on the lookout for scams and malpractice. Having a professional website is the first step in alerting potential buyers that you take your business seriously. Your website also provides the perfect platform to demonstrate how your business stands apart from others in your industry.
Make the best first impression by getting your business the website it deserves.
2. A breeder website attracts the right clients
Remember those conscientious pet buyers I mentioned? Those are the people you want to sell to. For every horror story of “backyard breeding” malpractice, there are likely ten times as many pet buyers who purchased a pet before they were informed, ready, and able to train and care for it properly.
Because you love your animals, you want to ensure you are selling to people who will provide good homes for their pets. Of course, your adoption questionnaire or application will weed out many inappropriate candidates, but imagine having more of the right candidates contact you from the start? And less . . . we’ll say, inappropriate, candidates wasting your time with questions and price objections.
Show off your business to your ideal clients with a professional website. Not sure what you’d even include on a website? I’ve got you covered. My free website copy template, Breeder in Business, is a step-by-step guide that walks you through planning the content for each page of your breeding website.
3. A breeder website saves you time
A large aspect of any service industry will always be answering client questions . . . but what if your website could do some of the question answering for you? Instead of seeing your inbox and voicemail crammed with:
How much are your puppies?
Do you have any puppies available?
How do I _____? Where do I ______? Do you cover ______?
. . . let your website do the answering for you! Strategic website design is all about organizing information in a way that leads potential buyers on a path to your desired solution (for example, filling out an adoption application, signing up for your list, or sending you an email inquiry). Before beginning the actual website building for my clients, I always discuss with them the specific goals they have in mind for their website visitors.
Planning your website content around these specific goals means your visitors will have the answers they need precisely when they need them. No more redundant emails or Facebook messages as they try, with good intentions, to sort out the confusion of your online presence.
An easy way to add immediate clarity and save time with your existing website? Add a FAQ page! I detail the specifics of a successful FAQ page in my Breeder in Business guide.
4. A breeder website keeps interested buyer’s in the loop
News flash: You have no control over which of your followers see which of your Facebook posts when. (More on this later, so if you’re scratching your head trying to work that out, hold out for reason #5 below).
One thing you do have absolute control over? Your email list.
Your email list is the list of people that subscribe or opt-in to receive emails from you. Whether you call this your newsletter or monthly updates, this list is something that you truly own and control in your business’s online world (in ways that you simply can’t control your social media).
A website allows you the perfect opportunity and method to add interested, potential clients to your email list. This is often the first step in the world of internet marketing to convert browsers into buyers:
- Interested browser finds website
- Likes what they find on the website
- Is compelled and convinced to sign up for the business email list
- Is continually impressed with the business as they learn more through regular inbox communications
- When they are ready to buy their new pet, they go to the business they are familiar with!
Your website provides the platform for browsers to opt-in to your email list, so that they will become buyers in the future.
5. A breeder website expands your reach . . . better than social media can
Remember how I claimed that you have no control over which of your followers sees which of your Facebook posts and when? The same is true for Instagram and Pinterest. Here’s why:
Social media platforms run on increasingly complex algorithms that determine what content shows up in each users feed. No longer do Facebook browsers simply see whatever was most recently posted by people and pages they follow. Because each of these social media platforms are businesses, working to make a profit, they give higher priority to ads and sponsored posts. The algorithms also take into account numerous factors that evolve weekly as the platform changes its position.
So when you post that you have a new litter available with adorable pictures, only a fraction of your followers will ever even see that post in their news feed.
This truth can be a little disheartening, but should be in no way a kill-joy if you are ready and prepared with your own website.
Remember, your email list is the one thing you have complete control over. You get to be directly inside your subscriber’s inbox! In the virtual online world, it doesn’t get much more personal than that.
To fully utilize the power of your email list in tandem with your website, the strategic breeder would email their list about that adorable new litter, then direct their readers to take immediate action on their website (for example: filling out an adoption application).
Your social media accounts = controlled by big businesses and complex, evolving algorithms.
Your website + email list = controlled by you and designed to serve your business needs!
(Note: I love social media! That’s why each and every one of my clients’ websites is fully integrated with their social media accounts. However, much as I love Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and all the rest, they can in no way compare to the selling power of your personal business website).
Ready to get your website up and running? Download my free guide and website template: the Breeder in Business: Building a Pet Breeding Website that Converts.
Inside, you’ll find actionable steps and swipe-able templates to help you plan the perfect copy (or content) for each and every page of your website. Not sure what pages you’d even need? Not to worry – I cover all the details in the Breeder in Business guide.
When you’re ready to take your breeding business to the next level, book a free Design Consultation with me. Here at Top Dog Web Design, I love talking with breeders and other business owners in the pet industry to help them reach their goals online.
In your complimentary Design Consultation, we’ll meet over video chat to discuss how your business can benefit from a website and how to improve your existing website, all while working through the foundational strategy behind the web design process. We’ll discuss how you can apply this strategy to attract your ideal clients online.