Diving deep into the topic of the mutual understanding between owners and breeders
Have you ever met a highly successful breeder, who has an amazing level in her breeding and impressive results at dog shows, and wondered "how can marketing be useful for them?"

As it turns out, in many ways. Especially when there is a matter of the waiting list for puppies.

And as it often happens, when you focus on developing just one direction, you don't pay enough attention to other things. And then the time to organize your kennel promotion comes.

This case will be useful to all reasonable and responsible breeders who above all care about the future of puppies born in their kennels. It provides insights for professional breeders who work on creating their breeding line and have been relentlessly working towards success for a long time. For those who want their breeding to be appreciated at its true value.

As always, I am sharing the details of the case to demonstrate what opportunities arise when you understand the logic and the key points of marketing.
I met Anna, a Rhodesian Ridgeback breeder and the owner of Maanhaar Primo-Creatus kennel, online on Facebook, even before creating my course, when I was only thinking about teaching an offline seminar. The distance between Finland and Ukraine didn't allow Anna to come to the seminar in person, so she said she would be waiting for an online course. She was the first breeder to offer the online format, and as I was receiving the same requests more and more, I started thinking about creating this course.

And this is how Anna's determination prompted me to make major changes, and my own determination to present the program online led to changing lives of hundreds of breeders in 20 countries across the globe! Fantastic, isn't it?
Now let's talk about truly important things – how it's often hard to have an idea of who you are talking to especially when you meet them online.
When we started working with Anna during the course, I had a look at her Facebook page and her albums and listened attentively to her story. At the time, Anna didn't have any other online presence for her kennel. The old website had been deactivated, the new one was barely in the works. As a result of this online meeting, since Anna looked rather young, I was under the impression that she was a beginner breeder who was into dog shows while her dogs competed successfully in the shows at the highest levels, including European and World Championships, and who was deeply in love with Ridgebacks.
In the reality? After Anna filled out a special questionnaire about her kennel, it turned out that she is quite an experienced breeder who has been in the field for over 10 years. Her kennel has an amazing breeding stock and her achievements include multiple champions that live in different European countries.

On top of that, Anna is a fervent admirer of the breed, and knows all Ridgeback lines to a T. Nonetheless, Anna believed that all her achievements were well-known to her colleagues while the future owners who simply want a companion dog wouldn't be interested in all that.

As it turned out, this misguided belief stood in the way of her goals. So we worked on that while accomplishing her objectives.
Indeed, Anna didn't have any problems with selling her puppies. Even though Anna had recently moved to Finland, she had premium dogs that were a match to their European competitors and thus sought after. What Anna wanted to improve:

1. To have a proper online presence for her kennel, not limited to Facebook audience

Before the course, Anna, as well as many other breeders, was promoting her kennel exclusively on Facebook. But it's well-known that Facebook algorithms are unstable, and our posts will be shown to a small group of followers (less than 3%). In addition, if you don't post regularly, your reach goes down. On top of that, it's important to maintain the connection with your existing followers as well as find new audience.

So it was essential that Anna's kennel was easy to find for people who are interested in the breed.
2. To ensure that owners who come to the kennel meet the breeder's expectations

When you invest this amount of time and energy in breeding and your beloved dogs, you would want them to have owners who are ready and willing to provide the best conditions for the happy dog life. Rhodesian Ridgebacks are a special breed and puppies require a lot of attention. One would need to take the breed specifics into account and actively socialize young dogs. These are family dogs, and they need to spend time with their owners. Besides, they are big dogs that require a proper level of physical activity.
3. To create a waiting list to feel secure

Rhodesian Ridgebacks is a popular breed in Scandinavia and Europe, so the competition between kennels is high. In addition, there are a lot of kennels in Finland, and they have the advantage of being local. So it is vital for a newly relocated kennel to promote itself in a way that would generate interest and make people choose Maanhaar Primo-Creatus.

On top of that, during the lockdown due to COVID, there were no dog shows, so showcasing and winning there was impossible. The usual course of action for kennel promotion, customary for many breeders, wasn't available.
And given the fact that this breed is polytocous, Anna was aware that every litter can have 8-10 puppies. If there are a few litters at the same time, this joyful occasion can turn into a landslide leading to a huge stress of searching and choosing the right owners.
- Just imagine that you have 2-3 months to find owners for 20 puppies. And you also need to divide your time between your family, your kennel, and the puppies themselves. Can you imagine that?
- But if you can prepare for this in advance, will you feel calmer and more confident?
- Yes, for sure.
Feeling confident was our breeder's dream.
4. To reduce the time spent on negotiations with future owners, as well as to be able to choose them

Anna wanted to make sure she is handing her puppies over to trustworthy people. But selecting owners isn't an easy task. It's hard to figure out how committed and how conscious about choosing Rhodesian Ridgebacks the people are over the phone. In addition, Anna wanted to create a wait list in such a way that would allow her to choose the most responsible owners whose lifestyle will guarantee a comfortable life for her Ridgebacks.
5. Plus another two wishes, should they be fulfilled, would exceed all expectations from the course and bring the kennel to a new level

To attract the owners who would be interested in co-owning to create more opportunities to expand the breeding program. And to find owners among professionals who would be interested in dog shows and breeding. After all, it is very important for an ambitious breeder who puts a lot of attention and effort into breeding to ensure that their puppies end up in worthy and professional hands.

This was the big list we created and at this stage it was crucial to focus on the key solutions.
I deliberately described all the objectives that Anna set for herself in detail. Based on what I've seen in this course, there are always more than five objectives. But participants find it hard to believe that they could realistically reach them and gradually move towards successful growth of their kennel or cattery.

When you have a lot of goals and you learn about different tools you can use online to reach them, there is a risk of spreading yourself too thin. In this case it's important to define your priorities and to consider which key solution will bring the best results.

So we concentrated on the main objective – to have a proper online presence and to attract responsible owners. Clearly, we needed a website. But it was also important to plan which pages of this site can cover our objectives – kennel's positioning, wait list, and the ultimate priority – attracting potential professional owners.
I have mentioned a few times that Anna is very passionate about the breed. And the kennel's portfolio is another proof of that. More that 100 pictures of the dogs taken, among others, by a professional photographer is the kennel's treasured possession.
This portfolio helped us a lot in creating a great website. It turned out colorful, memorable, and what's most important – unlike any other. Key visual on the main page basically mesmerizes anyone opening the site. This is very important to ensure that new people who are not familiar with the kennel remember it and come back.
The website has a lot of pages and is very informative not only due to the blog about the breed, but also because of very detailed descriptions of every adult dog's lineage. And that showcases the dog's background and the breeder's knowledge. On top of that, this content is vital for SEO promotion.
After finishing the page that will attract future owners, we moved to the next objectives – selecting the best owners and creating a wait list. We decided to focus on a questionnaire for future owners.
The questionnaire deserves a separate mention.
I know that some breeders get alarmed by this section. They feel like it will have an opposite effect and drive potential owners away. But this is a misconception. Potential owners are more likely to be driven away by the lack of information about a kennel, a breeder, and their breeding principals. If the site gives a full picture and answers the questions potential owners might have, and a visitor wants to get a puppy from this kennel, there will be no question whether to fill out the questionnaire or not.
The main purpose of the questionnaire is to optimize the negotiating time. You have a certain list of questions for future owners, and you can ask them without lengthy correspondence or even talking in person which a lot of people aren't interested in at this stage of learning about the kennel. By the time a breeder gets to actually negotiate, they have some idea about what kind of people future owners are, thanks to the questionnaire.
Another important purpose of such questionnaire is to eliminate thoughtless, casual inquiries. Based on the experience of our breeders, as soon as a questionnaire is added to the site and to the booking algorithm, the amount of random pointless requests from people who have no intention of buying but only waste time and energy, goes down dramatically.
The questionnaire on Maanhaar Primo-Creatus site has a lot of questions that would demonstrate how serious a potential owner is. So when you receive this questionnaire, you have an understanding that the person has agreed to the breeder's wishes and conditions regarding puppies' care and upbringing. Is this convenient? Very much so.
Another important issue that needs to be addressed is litter presentation. This is a separate marketing tool that was adapted for breeding and added to the course syllabus. It includes a document and an algorithm to present a litter and a separate puppy or kitten. Most often it is used to inform breeders or ambitious owners. But this tool, combined with the website, helped Anna to earn trust and respect from new owners who didn't know about the kennel before within a short time.
While working on the site, Anna also revamped the way she presented her materials and revitalized her Facebook page. This has played an important part as well. We need to remember that in the reality of modern-day online promotion you can hardly achieve your goals using only one tool. Having multiple channels will give you the result you're aiming for.
What result did we get? Excellent one!
Anna was able to work through all her objectives in detail before the litters were born. As a result, she had a wait list created. At that time, they were expecting two litters and all puppies found their owners.
I won't give you a detailed description of the owners Anna managed to attract since it's rather confidential. But I can say that all plans and expectations were delivered at 100%.
To sum up, I would like to name the main tools in this case:
- A very detailed and informative description of the breeder and kennel's achievements
- An informative and memorable website that delivers kennel's objectives
- A carefully crafted questionnaire for potential owners
- Litter presentation
- An excellent kennel portfolio
And the central figure of the story whose work allowed to deliver everything on a tight schedule and with maximum results – Anna herself.
Her hard work and dedication to the breed and the kennel, her drive to grow under any conditions. Please, accept my deepest admiration!
By the way, if you feel like you don't have what it takes, my experience with the course shows that gaining this level of determination is part of the process. My favorite motto is "If you want, you already can." And adding extra two cents, the most important thing here is to know what to do and how to do it.
In conclusion, I would like to express my gratitude to Anna, the owner of Maanhaar Primo-Creatus kennel, for the feedback on the course where she said it in the most perfect way: "This course is about mutual understanding between owners and breeders; about figuring out who you are and what your goal as a breeder is."

Thank you for this collaboration and outstanding implementation of everything in the course.

Link to the kennel's web site: http://maanhaar.com/
All photos and videos in this article made by Olga Khazai https://olgakhazai.com/
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