If you work in the pet industry, you know this fact is true: people love their pets and would do almost anything for them. This makes for a wonderful prospective customer base. That said, it also makes for a highly competitive industry where many businesses are vying for pet owners’ attention. Standing out can be a challenge.
Here are three ideas that can help.
1. Partner with an animal shelter and take part in adoption days. Whether you own a pet supplies store, you’re a dog walker, or you provide kitty and doggie daycare, this strategy can work wonders at reaching new customers and creating a sense of goodwill in the community. Donate some of your time to an animal shelter in your area and take part in their adoption days. This provides great exposure for your business, and it’s also a buzz-worthy event that you can promote throughout all of your marketing materials, like your website. Be sure the animal shelter has your marketing materials on hand and that they give you signage opportunities at the event.
2. Get social. This might sound like a simple and obvious strategy, but social media – Facebook in particular – can be an extremely effective way to promote your business and stay in front of customers. Why? Well, people on Facebook love pictures, especially pics of animals (think of all those cat and dog videos that go viral). Other small businesses often struggle with “what should I post about?” But you have a built-in secret weapon. You have access to cute animals. Take lots of pictures. If you’re a vet, arm your receptionists with digital cameras. If you’re a dog walker, get some pics of your clients. If you own a kennel, show pets enjoying their accommodations. You get the idea. Don’t believe us? One of the most popular pages on Facebook is for a little dog named Boo. The only thing the owner of this page posts is pictures of this cute little guy, resulting in hundreds of LIKES, shares, and comments every day.
Facebook can also help you build a true community. (If you’ve spent any time in a dog park, you know that sense of community fellow pet owners create.) In addition to pictures, you can post care tips, food tips, seasonal tips (e.g. how to care for pets during heat waves), etc. You can also ask your community to share pictures, tips, and take part in discussions. You can do this in places other than Facebook, of course, like Google+ and even Tumblr. But with nearly one billion active monthly users, Facebook makes the most sense. And you can further build your community through Facebook advertising. Check out this recent post we did about whether Facebook advertising works for small businesses.
3. Band together. As the saying goes, there’s strength in numbers. Get together with complementary businesses and consider promotions involving all of you. For example, consider creating and hosting an event in the community, like a pet talent show. The proceeds could support a local animal shelter, and you’d be able to market your businesses at the same time (note: you’d be sharing the tasks and costs associated with putting on an event like this as well, making it much more doable, especially of you’re the sole proprietor).
Of course, having the right promotional pet supplies can especially help ideas #1 and #3.
Here are some of our recommendations:
Collapsible pet bowl. This is perfect for pets and pet owners on the go because it’s easy to pack or attach to back packs or belt loops (thanks to a sturdy clip). Plus, your business name gets more visibility as well.
Reflective pet ID tags. These tags work twice as hard since their reflective nature helps make pets easier to spot, and, of course, the ID info is a must-have for any pet owner.
Promotional pet food scoops. A pet owner can never have too many of these.
Promotional pet food bowls. Ditto with the bowls – you can never have too many. While one is being run-through the dishwasher, pet parents can use this for their fur children.