Editor’s Note: due to popular request, this is the first post in a new series on marketing for dog trainers! 

We’ve all seen the commercials. Someone overweight walks on screen… and by the end of the 30 second ad spot, they’re dancing around in a size 6, or flexing their brand new 6-pack.

These kinds of adds are called “before and after” videos. And there’s a reason they’re so common…

…because they work.

And if you’re a dog trainer you can use the same technique to help you bring in new business.

Why Before and After Videos Work

Before and after videos pack a powerful punch… but why?

First and foremost, they demonstrate the results of a product or process — in the dog trainer world, that means the results of working with you.

Better yet, it demonstrates that it can deliver results for a dog like the one in the “before” portion of the video… for a dog like the one the viewer has at home.

Here’s a bit more information on before and after videos:

(Derek Halpern, the guy yelling in the video, has a ton of great resources on his site and in his youtube channel. I highly recommend him).

Chances are good you’ve even seen before and after videos tailored for dog training.

They’re a common technique with certain board-and-train training chains — the same chains that are routinely booked for months in advance.

Yet it seems they’re not used very often by positive trainers. I’d love to see this change.

How to Create A Before and After Video

There are, essentially, 3 parts to a before and after video. And I bet none of them will surprise you.

  • Part 1: The Before – Here we clearly establish what the dog was doing before training took place. Pulling on leash; dashing out the door; jumping on strangers… etc.
  • Part 2: The What – Here we establish what was done to change that; essentially this can be a line of text that comes across saying, “And then they came to Dog Trainer Games. A few weeks later…”
  • Part 3: The After – And finally the after. This establishes what the dog learned after their time training with you. If you want to, you can even add a short testimonial from the handler at the end, with them on screen saying something like, “Buddy is fantastic at home now and we feel so much better because we know how to help him understand what we want him to do!”

These videos do not need to be incredibly complex; phone footage is fine — if you have a tripod, using it will make your footage even better. But the important part is capturing the behavior and the 3 elements above.

Bonus Tip: For those that DO want to take it one step further, Fiverr.com has a number of great video introductions you can purchase on the cheap, customized to include your logo. These can be great to include before the video begins.

Naming Your Before & After Video

Once you’ve edited your footage together, added your intro, and uploaded the final video to youtube, all you have left is naming your video something useful.

In general, this means thinking back to that idea of making the video resemble the dog the viewer likely has at home.

So, for example, you might name a video: 5-year-old German Shepherd, Riley – German Shepherd Dog Training in Raleigh, NC | Dog Trainer Games

The formula here is AGE, BREED, NAME – BREED Dog Training in CITY, STATE | COMPANY

This is formulated to help take advantage of how most search engines work, including dog training, a breed name, and the location all in the name means if someone searches “dog training in Raleigh NC” the video may come up; and if they happen to have a GSD, even better.

Getting Extra Eyeballs: Advertising on Facebook

If you have an advertising budget, you could also experiment with sharing the videos on facebook and promoting the posts. While I’m not a FB ad specialist, I do know that Facebook allows you to isolate who it will show your ads to — so you could set criteria like location (your area), and/or people in a specific breed rescue group (ex: that GSD video might play really well with people who follow a GSD rescue page).

Even if you don’t choose to pay to promote the video, including videos like this on your website can be a powerful tool in helping pet owners decide to work with you.

Do you have a Before and After video? Tell me about it in the comments!