One of my favorite parts of my job is I get to speak with small business owners every day.
Sure, corporate clients have more money to spend on marketing and on their websites, but with small business owners – I really feel we make an impact in their businesses and their lives. To me, that’s more fulfilling so that’s where I like to spend most of my time.
I love the fact that no two days are the same. I honestly get to meet some really cool people. I mean most are pet people so they’re awesome by default.
But in the pet sitting space, things aren’t looking so good for small business owners.
For years now, technology companies like Rover, Yelp and Wag! have been making their presence known online. I was curious as just how much of the market share they really have.
So, I did a little research.
What I did was open up a fresh web browser and run searches for “City Name” + Pet Sitter in the top 15 cities identified by PSI (Pet Sitters International).
For each city, I recorded the number of ORGANIC (the free stuff) spots that were taken by the tech companies (Rover, Wag!, Yelp, etc) as well as the total number of organic spots on the page.
The data is shown below, but when averaged all 15 cities together – the tech companies were taking a whopping 58% of the organic search results.
Let me say that again: 58% of the organic spots on Google for pet sitters are taken up by technology companies leaving only 42% for the rest of the independent pet sitters in your town to fight over.
What does this mean for you?
Let’s dig a little deeper into how online marketing works – it’s a total numbers game.
- When website visitors come to your site – this is called TRAFFIC
- A small percentage of that TRAFFIC will engage with your site and become a PROSPECT
- A small percentage of those PROSPECTS will eventually become CUSTOMERS
So we have …
It works just like an “old school” kitchen funnel – the bigger the funnel, the larger the output.
In our case – the INPUT is TRAFFIC and the OUTPUT is CUSTOMERS.
Are you still with me? Cool.
Now we know 80% of organic search traffic clicks through to a site on the first page of their search results.
Ten years ago, professional pet sitters had ten opportunities to get on the first page.
Now, with tech companies in the mix, you only have four.
To make matters worse – It’s not just the foothold the tech companies have gained in the search results that is hurting independent professional pet sitters – what they really have on their side is EXPERTISE & MOMENTUM.
What is the current reality?
So that’s the reality we’re living in right now. Because of tech companies like Rover, Yelp and Wag! – we, the local pet sitter, literally has fewer opportunities online than we did ten years ago.
I’m a huge fan of the abundance mentality, but when it comes to website traffic from Google – this is a ZERO SUM game. What does this mean to you? It means there is a finite amount of traffic for a given search term and if somebody else is getting that traffic (like the tech companies or your competitors) there is less for you.
So how can we compete with Rover’s $300 Million in venture capital?
That’s easy – the key to competing with Rover.com, CARE or ANY of the other technology companies boils down to one thing … You Aren’t Them!
You have to understand, technology companies are just that – technology companies. They AREN’T pet professionals like you. They don’t have the specialized pet experience or the breadth of knowledge about YOUR local area. That is EXACTLY the type of information Google and other search engines are looking for.
All is not lost, but you are probably wondering, “What can you do?”
The way we win is by providing what they can’t: compelling information to make our prospects and their pet’s lives better by being their local pet expert.
Here’s where to get started
The first step in any marketing campaign is to get clear about where you currently are..
Below you’ll find two simple steps that will take you about three minutes to complete but will give you a good idea about where your business stands online.
1. See where you land in the search results
Where do you show up online? Open Chrome, go to incognito mode (File > New Incognito Window), search for “your city name” + pet sitter
– El Paso Pet Sitter
– Raleigh Pet Sitter
Once the search results come up – scroll down until you see your website and mark that location. If it’s not on page 1, go to page 2 and do the same. If it’s not on page 2, you can go to page 3, but in all honesty – anything from page 3 and beyond gets so little traffic that it’s like not having a website at all.
2. See how your website is performing
How you show up in the search results has a LOT to do with your website. That makes sense right? Not really how it looks because design is completely subjective but more – how it performs.