This website is a new project created for Erin Marion, a dog trainer launching her training business, “The Down to Earth Dog Lady”. The project is done in Sinatra a small and flexible open source framework written in Ruby which enabled her site to make API calls to third-party services that enhanced her website and streamlined her business processes.
This project features a photo gallery using her business’s Instagram feed, a newsletter form with Mailchimp, and an online scheduling system with Acuity.
- Completed on: October 31, 2016
- Technology: Sinatra
- Client: Down to Earth Dog Lady
Branding and Marketing:
When we began, she had a logo designed by Jessica Huang, but did not yet have any further branding. I worked with Erin and her logo designer to identify additional branding elements including; colors, fonts, logo formats, and marketing materials layouts. I compiled Branding Guidelines onto a page on her site and a PDF document.
You Tube Video
I filmed and produced a short promotional and informational video titled “Pack Hikes with the Down to Earth Dog Lady” about a new service called “Pack Hikes”. The video illustrates what happens on a pack hike and features a small but high-energy group of dogs being expertly trained and managed.
I created a collection of Facebook promotions to boost client engagement and reach new clients during a particularly slow period. The promotion heavily featured Pack Hike photos and experimented with a few key demographics and key words to determine what worked best for each group.
The promotion was highly effective and ended after a few weeks once Erin’s schedule was as full as she was able to accommodate and her wait-list was as long as she felt was reasonable.
These promotions remain in her account and can be easily reactivated any time she wishes.
We explored a variety of third-party services she could use to enhance her website and streamline her business processes. Because, as a dog trainer, she spends a lot of time outdoors and with clients, we decided early on that content updates for her site needed to be fast, easy, and mobile-capable.
She was already using Instagram heavily to share images of her work with dogs, so it was an obvious choice to add an Instagram photo gallery.
I set up a Google form for collecting client emergency contact information that collects in a Google spreadsheet. Any time a client completes a form, a script is triggered to generate a new Google doc from a “mail merge” template complete with all the client information.
This document is then filed in a folder that Erin can access at a moment’s notice from her phone at any time – whether on the trail or at home. The file is also emailed to the client for verification of details and any editing or updating as necessary.
This has saved her a great deal of effort in printing, filing, and transporting critical client emergency info.
You Tube Video Playlists
I helped her create a set of Youtube Playlists that are embedded in relevant areas of her site to visually illustrate her most current work. She has the ability to add new videos to each play list via her phone or computer and they show up at the top of each list on her site.
Her site also includes integration with MailChimp, an email marketing platform via a simple sign-up form embedded in the footer of every page and a full form on her contact page.
This simple integration allows her to collect information about her clients and share news and updates via email newsletters in a beautiful and professional looking format that keeps her client info secure and confidential.
She began using an online scheduling service called Acuity Scheduling and early iterations of her site included API calls to display training classes, open lesson appointment times, and other training package deals that clients could register for online.
We later realized her business didn’t need that level of online integration and scaled back to simply display information about private lessons. She currently uses Acuity to schedule and track her appointments as well as sharing important documents like release forms and cancellation policies.