When you’re running a small local pet business like a dog grooming salon, or a pet store – it can sometimes be hard to figure out what type marketing is really worth your time and effort, and what you could safely ignore.
The key is to focus on marketing activities that will bring you a steady flow of local clients through your doors. And with local marketing I don’t just mean word of mouth by the way – here are 7 techniques to help locals find you:
1. All roads lead to…. your website
The single most important piece of marketing you need to get right is your pet business website. It needs to not only attract brand new customers from search engines like Google, but also build the know, like and trust factor so that new clients feel ready to take whatever steps you’re recommending next – whether that be a phone consultation, or booking an appointment.
2. Word of mouth is still king
Word of mouth is king when it comes to local marketing and in this day and age it means more than just having your customers recommending your business to their friends. You need to have a system in place where you continuously remind and reward your clients for leaving testimonials and reviews on your Facebook wall, Yelp and other directories. Guess what all those pet parents seeing the testimonials, and getting recommendations from friends do next? That’s right – they check out your website!
3. Remind them to come back with a regular Newsletter
Small local pet businesses have a real competitive advantage compared to the big pet care chains. Because your business is small and local, you get to know all your clients and pets on a personal level – and you should take advantage of this in your marketing. By collecting email addresses from new customers, and sending out regular newsletters with helpful pet news, tips answering FAQ’s, client ‘before and afters’ and fun pet related stories you will further establish yourself as the number one pet expert in your area and your clients will always keep keep your name front of mind for anything pet related. And by emailing out a bi-weekly or monthly promotion – you can tempt them to come back to your store in between grooms and regular visits.
4. Branding really matters
Review all your printed marketing material and make sure your business cards, brochures and referral cards are not only kept up to date, but also that they look like they’re coming from the same pet business. Keep colours, fonts and logos the same and your brand will always be recognised.
5. Build a network of pet professionals
Get in touch with other pet pros in your local area and ask if they will refer your pet business if you do the same for them. Be sure to include some veterinarians in your referral network, and other non competing pet businesses – you will all benefit from recommending each other.
6. Google My Business
Have you heard of Google My Business? If you haven’t already done so – be sure to create your business profile and verify your business straight away. Google is the most popular search engine on the internet, and by creating your business profile and start collecting reviews you will be sure to stand out in search results.
7. Blogging for local exposure
If you’re not already blogging then I would strongly suggest you start straight away! A blog will help your pet business get found on google, and it will help build the all important know, trust and like factor with new clients. And what’s even better, if you write about local topics like your favourite dog parks, bars and cafes – then you can get in touch with those businesses and they might share your posts with their clients.
Time to Take Action:
Open a new incognito window in your Chrome browser (to make sure that you’re not logged into any google service) and google your own business name. Then go through EVERY page and directory where your business is listed and make sure that your business name is spelled exactly the same way, and your logo, phone number and address is correct. This will make it easier for different search engines to find your business – which means more local customers will find you!