We always talk about how we need to tell our story, promote our breeds and invite new people to the fancy. According to Chris Walker, Vice President of Social Media Outreach/Communications at AKC, there’s an easy and and economical way clubs can do that now, and the benefits rise exponentially if we all join in and work together. Walker told Dogs in Review about a new AKC service called the AKC Marketplace and how clubs can use it to promote themselves.
Here’s how it works: Imagine a person in your hometown who has never heard of your club. She’s looking up information about your breed online because she is considering getting a dog. She types “Superhound” into Google and finds the breed profile on akc.org. Because your club has set up an AKC Marketplace page and listed future events, the AKC displays your club’s information on the breed page for this visitor. She sees that your club is holding an event the next week and decides to attend after seeing photos and videos of past events on the club’s profile page. She then meets the breed and some breeders, and falls for Superhounds.
In addition to visibility on breed and events pages (Walker says that “the breed pages get about 88 percent of the traffic on akc.org”), an AKC Marketplace page comes with many other benefits. The club gets a URL of its choosing, such as akc.org/SuperhoundClub, unlimited event listings, email newsletters, extra visibility in Google search results and much more.
“We are going to have to reach a critical mass for this to be truly beneficial,” Walker says. If a lot of clubs create profile pages, upload photos and videos from their events and list future events, the AKC Marketplace will become a valuable resource for dog owners searching for activities and events to attend with their dogs.
It’s just $99 a year, and it’s easy, Walker says, adding that “it’s much simpler than registering a dog.” Anyone, even someone without any website experience, can set up a page. And if you do have any trouble, Walker says to just pick up the phone, and “the team can walk you through the setup.”
“We have to convince our people to be more bold and promote themselves, and their events and activities,” Walker says. And clubs are just the beginning. Later in 2015, the service will be available to breeders, groomers, veterinarians, trainers and other dog service providers.
If your club is interested in setting up a profile page, go to marketplace.akc.org for more information.