7 Online Success Tips – Tale of the Cat Sitter and the Dog Breeder

Real Life and Online Success

Cat Sitter

 Online Success - Louie - the marketing bit


Last week I was frantically trying to find a place to board my cat, Louie.  It was a last minute thing and over the 4th of July holiday.  Not good.

I called my usual places and was getting nowhere.  As luck would have it, our preferred cat sitter had a cancellation.  Hot diggity dog (pun intended).

In the course of making the arrangements with the cat sitter, we chat about her business.  Years ago, I had helped her set-up an email account so she could send newsletters to her customers and a customer data base .

As often happens, she started the newsletter and little by little, once a month became less frequent. It was to the point where she might send out a newsletter once a year.

I ask her the obvious question.  Why wasn’t she doing her newsletter?


She feels she doesn’t have anything more to say…she’s shared all she needs to with her customers.

Really?  Could that be true?

Curious, I ask her more questions.


Has her customer base has changed over the last couple of years?


Yes!  In fact, most of her current customers are new to her service. They found her through referrals and online reviews.


Doesn’t she think her new customers might benefit from some of the knowledge she shared in her past newsletters?


Of course, they would.  Gee, I didn’t even think of that before!


Does she use the automated feature of her email service provider so she doesn’t have to recreate ‘new’ newsletters but, rather, can automated a sequence of her already created newsletters to be sent out to a designated list?


I don’t know what you’re talking about.  What’s that?

In my four day absence, my cat sitter decided to go ahead and send out a newsletter.  About nine out of 10 opened her email and she received a new piece of business.

Maybe she had something worthy sharing after all?

Dog Breeder

Let’s turn to the dog breeder.

One of my friends breeds dogs.  Several years ago, she comes to me and asked how to get to the top of Google.

I explained the Hub concept and how she needs to pull interested parties to her site through organic search as well as through social media to capture their email addresses.  We get her up and running on an email service provider and a website.

This friend doesn’t really like writing newsletters.  She’s not all that crazy about creating a website.  She does, however, love to do photography and has the Photoshop chops that allow her to make unique images of her puppies and dogs.

She created a bare bones website (several I believe) and uses these sites occasionally, but not as her Hub.  In fact, Facebook has become her hub.

Over several years, she has consistently posted photos of her puppies and dogs on Facebook and she currently has over 10,000 plus fans.  Along the way she captured email addresses (not in the traditional way) and has a strong customer base and following.

She knows which photos will generate a lot of shares and which will generate a lot of likes.  How?  Because she has been paying attention to what happens to her posts and how her audience responds.

She sends out a newsletter on major holidays. The newsletters are typically some great photos she has concocted with her puppies in Photoshop.

The point of this tale?

Two different stories from these very different (dog breeder vs. cat sitter) although similar business owners with two very different outcomes should offer you some major insights you can apply to your own business and to greater online success.

1.  There are multiple paths to online success.  It is not about following someone’s plan…it’s about following your own plan.

2.  Consistency counts.  Being ‘there’ occasionally doesn’t cut it. Marketing (the act of finding customers) is a full-time endeavor.

3.  Curiosity is needed.  You need to keep tabs on what is possible to make the job easier and less time consuming.

4.  Knowing what works with your audience matters.  You do this by tracking your results and making adjustments. This is necessary for online success in social media or in any marketing effort.

5.  Capitalizing on your strengths.  Love to write? Then create power packing newsletters.  Hate writing, but love photography?  Then pack your marketing efforts with unique images that attract eyeballs.

6.  Try new things.  The Cat Sitter could start taking photos of her feline customers and begin her own following on Facebook and further expand her local customer base.

7.  There is never a bad time to start or to re-boot if you’ve been inactive for a long time.

Your Turn

Which of the seven tips could you implement today, tomorrow?

Do you need to reboot your online marketing efforts?

Have you let cobwebs grow on your Facebook or LinkedIn pages?

Use the comment section to tell me what’s keeping you from taking action on these success tips.


Sheila Hibbard

Sheila Hibbard takes the fluff, hype and confusion out of marketing and social media. She provides small business owners with straight forward, no nonsense marketing guidance and techniques that produce results based on her 35 plus years in advertising, communications, research, strategic planning and social media. Author of Marketing Online Made Simple - WHO.

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