As a pet professional of any kind, be it a kennel owner, groomer, pet sitter or dog walker, your main concern in your day to day operations is the dogs you’ve been entrusted to care for.
Your entire business revolves around these animals, so they need to be your top priority. You set some time aside for necessary administrative tasks, but the pets in your care need you. And let’s be honest, you’d much rather spend your time with them.
So how are you supposed to find the time to market your business on top of it all?
Marketing can seem like a daunting venture for any kind of business, especially if you have no experience. Where do you start? How expensive will it be? What is the best way to reach your target audience? Who is your target audience?
For all marketing campaigns, it is crucial to set goals beforehand. Aimless campaigns often fall short without a purpose or direction. This is where so many businesses get lost with marketing. When setting up any campaign, whether it’s for social media, email or your website, ask yourself what you want your customers to do after seeing it. A call to action is a vital part of all marketing content.
It can seem very overwhelming, but good marketing is both simple and effective. I’ve got you covered with some tips and tricks to get you on your way to promoting your pet business.
It is surprising that many businesses have not yet updated their websites to be easy to navigate and mobile-friendly. Without a modern website, potential customers can get lost or frustrated. As a pet business, you want to ensure that all of your customers, new or return, have a good experience even before coming to your facility. Make it simple for your customers to find your reservation button or link, and ensure that your phone number and contact information are prominently displayed.
Tips and Tricks:
- Not only does your website host information about your services, pricing and contact details, but, if you use a pet business management software, it should also have clear links to your reservation system. That way booking is quick and easy for your customers.
- A modern website that operates well on various devices, such as laptops, tablets and smartphones, is essential for businesses that offer services like online booking. Your customers are just as busy as you, so they tend to do things on the go. If they are unable to book straight from your site, they may get discouraged and go to a competitor.
- You’re busy running your pet business, but setting some time aside to blog is a powerful thing. Blogs can be used for a number of reasons, depending on what you want to get across to your customers and followers. It is a great way to showcase your knowledge and experience, gain trust and confidence with your customers and cover interesting and beneficial topics.
Social media is arguably one of the most popular marketing channels of the 21st century. It is no longer being used exclusively by teens and adolescents; these channels are now being put to use more prominently for businesses. But be careful! No social media is better than inactive social media. If your statuses and photos haven’t been updated in a while, it may seem as though you have gone out of business.
Tips and Tricks:
- Be sure not to get too ambitious too quickly. It is best to start off with one or two social channels as it takes time and effort to manage social media right. Do not over commit! Start off slow and gradually work your way up once you feel more confident.
- Local Facebook groups are very helpful. You can join and monitor local pet related groups where many people go to look for advice and recommendations on local pet services. If you don’t find any local groups, you can create one! Social media is a great way for local communities to connect.
- Hashtags are now integrated in almost every social media platform, e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+. Try creating your own unique hashtags, either specifically for your business or for each individual guest. You can then share those hashtags with your customers so they can easily follow along and find pictures of their furry friends while they are away!
- Instagram’s newest feature, Stories, helps you continuously update your customers with quick pictures and videos of your furry guests without oversharing. You can share as much as you want throughout the day and it will all disappear after 24 hours. This provides your customers with peace of mind, while also keeping your content fun and fresh!
Email marketing is a powerful tool. Marketing Metrics reports that the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, while the probability of selling to a new prospect is only 5-20%. With email marketing, you can keep in touch with your customers with tools such as newsletters, updates, stories, promotions, and anything else you think your subscribers may enjoy. It makes it easy to reach out to all of your customers, both past and present, grabbing their attention or reigniting their interest.
Tips and Tricks:
- A monthly newsletter, can help grow engagement and send gentle reminders about your business to customers and prospects. A service like MailChimp can help you keep track of things and even brand your emails.Keep the content fresh and relevant!
- Videos are a great way to get your customers’ attention. Engage your customers with videos of your facility, your furry guests, events, tips for owners, video tours or anything else you think they’ll enjoy. A visual aid in an email goes a long way!
- Sharing too many emails too frequently can cause many email services and users to believe that your emails are simply spam, and will result in them not being delivered or seen by your customers. Be sure to research spam laws in your region to ensure your emails reach all of your subscribers.
There are plenty of ways you can market your pet business and now you have a few examples that are quick and easy to start with. Don’t be afraid to get creative and try it for yourself. Some other popular marketing ideas include going to local conferences and expos to showcase your product or service and network with other pet professionals, or adding your business to online directories to help increase your search engine results.
Keep in mind that whenever starting a new marketing campaign or plan, start off slow and always have a plan. A little bit can go a long way!
Veronica Postolski is the marketing coordinator and fellow animal lover at ProPet Software Inc., a cloud based kennel management software. ProPet was founded by a dog kennel owner who became frustrated with the problems that her business faced on a day to day basis, so she created her own solution with a team of development and business experts. ProPet understands the needs of the modern pet professional, and wants to offer pet care professionals a sustainable and reliable solution for their boarding and daycare facilities.