Monday, February 18, 2013

SociaBulls: On Why We Don't Publicize Our Group

Some people have been joking that our Chicago SociaBulls group is one of the 'hottest tickets' in the city...that no one knows about.
Our group has definitely grown since our inaugural walk of 6 pups; we now have over 150 members who have all waited on the waiting list and have attended an orientation walk.
Unfortunately, we also have a several month waiting list with many people and pups who are still patiently waiting.
So we let them find us.

Without overtly advertising our group, we have still been getting so many new member requests: through people who hear about us from friends, local dog trainers, Facebook, through Two Pitties, stumbling  upon the group through Google searches, and some people who have actually seen us in action. The amount of new member requests we receive keeps us all quite busy.
We also recognize the importance of keeping our walks comfortable for all types of dogs, so we cap both of our weekly walks at 20 dogs, and we integrate new members slowly.

Ironically, we realized how low-key we needed to keep our publicity after this fantastic article about us from the Chicago Tribune. Our new member requests became way more than we could handle. And we also realized some people who applied were not as serious about joining, or maybe they didn't understand how the group worked. They would not show up for their orientation walk and not return emails which is frustrating for our New Member coordinators who spend the time setting things up. It's also not fair for the people still on the list who really want to be part of the group.

So we have realized allowing people to find the group on their own really does give them a better understanding of how things work and they become more invested members.
Even walking on days like this one!

Why it's important to keep our walking locations secret
How we add new members
How to grow your group if you're just staring out


KS said...

Your 'advices' (to borrow a Love & a Six-Foot Leash phrase) are always so perfect. We absolutely couldn't have gotten our Arlington/DC group off the ground without you - thank you so much for all your help and your continued sharing of what's working and what's not! Agree with cultivating engaged members - if we don't hear back from someone after 2 or 3 invites/emails, they stop getting our invitations. We're almost to the point where we'll be hitting our per-walk limits, so consistency and dependability are crucial!

Hannah@Eriesistibull said...

Keep the advice coming! I'm looking to start a walk in the Erie-area in the spring (I figured it might be fruitless to start this at the beginning of an Erie winter when I thought about it). I've gotten some good feedback from a few people and am excited to start one here!

Two French Bulldogs said...

This is wonderful that you have grown without advertising
Benny & Lily

jet said...

Just goes to show how much demand there is! I don't think there's anything wrong with letting people come to you :)

Kirsten (peacefuldog) said...

Those are some dedicated walkers, to be out in a Chicago winter! Its so great that you have cultivated such a supportive and wonderful community.

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