Educating Dog Clubs About Digital Marketing

AKC Digital Marketing for Dog Clubs Webinar

The AKC recently hosted a comprehensive webinar to explain why and how dog clubs can use digital marketing to promote their clubs and activities. Topics included:

  • Websites and Landing Pages
  • Content Marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Email Markering
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Online Advertising
  • Research and Analysis

There was so much excellent content in this webinar I’m going to create several blog posts to cover and expand on it. It can be a lot of effort to do this work, but as dog clubs struggle to maintain and grow their membership and events, good online content is essential to success.

Best Practices for Websites and Content Marketing

AKC’s Marketing Director, Michelle Bovè referred to AKC’s earlier website-specific webinar for advice on creating club websites. She then moved on to talking about website content, and shared some examples of clubs and clusters she thought did a particularly good job. I found it interesting that the Michigan Winter Dog Classic, which I have blogged about made the list. Just to acknowledge the pull of these well promoted events, I saw a Facebook post by Dog.Heart.Soul that mentioned they were attending another event on the list, the Oklahoma Summer Canine Olympics. I also noticed that my friends in AKC Club Development are at this event manning the AKC information booth to reach out event attendees.

I took some of the webinar advice to heart already and added AKC YouTube videos about Scent Work and Conformation Dog Shows to the Progressive Dog Club of Wayne County website that I manage. Our club is also approved to hold Obedience and Rally, and I’ll be adding those videos once I figure out the best place to share them.

Website Content and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Over three quarters of people use search engines to find local information, and most of them never look past the first page of search results. Learning basic principles of SEO will help your pages appear higher in search results. Dog clubs are full of people with tons of dog and dog sport knowledge. Take the time to learn the best ways to present your expertise so that people looking for credible sources can find it. Here are some of the tips Michelle shared; links to training resources were shared in the webinar.

  • Informational and About Us pages should aim for a minimum of 1,200 words to be picked up as credible sources
  • You should use headers and subheads (H1 and H2 tags for the web-savvy) on your pages and include focus keywords. Focus keywords refer to the phrases people are likely to use as search terms if they are looking for your information.
  • Keep the content updated and don’t leave outdated or broken links up on the site, these will negatively impact your site’s search rankings.

Website CMS Systems Can Make Good SEO Easier

If you are considering a website refresh, using a Content Management Systems (CMS) tool to create your website can make implementing these solutions easier. For example, my favorite CMS WordPress makes it quite easy to count the number of words on a page, insert headings and subheads, and has plugins available that can advise you on these SEO factors and identify broken links.

If you are a member of a dog club, take a look at your current website. Review and if necessary, update it with these pointers in mind. In future posts related to this webinar I’ll share ideas about how to use email and social media to reach members, exhibitors, and guests.

Cleo  Parker

Cleo has been working with dogs and showing Bull Terriers at AKC events since she was a teenager. She is an AKC Breeder of Merit and was approved as an AKC licensed conformation dog show judge in 2018. Professionally, she has held marketing insights and analytics roles in a variety of industries, including automotive, advertising, and pet specialty retail.

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