There is only so much time in a day, which is why pet business owners and those of us with pet brands need to make sure we’re devoting our precious resources toward tasks that really work. The local, national and international pet industry is one of few that has proven to be recession-proof. It’s ripe with opportunity. Countless pet parents search each day for the right product or service to give their family members a great life.
However, it’s easy for a loving pet parent to get lost in the ocean of countless other pet websites and local businesses. How can you really stand out?
We work with hundreds of Petpreneurs all over the world every day – from leading corporations to solo operators – and we’ve hand-picked 20 suggestions any pet business can use to reach more pet parents, have massive impact and generate more revenue.
So go on and try one, two, or three of these strategies and see what a difference it makes.
Get social proof.
Word of mouth is the oldest form of marketing and it’s so effective. But nowadays (and with COVID-19 keeping folks at home), word of mouth exists digitally. It’s real customers giving real testimonials online. Happy customers will happily recommend your product or service to others. So ask your customers to drop you a line on Google, Facebook or Yelp. Before you ask though, make sure you follow my 6 simple steps to get a quality review. Video testimonials are an awesome tool, too.
A cohesive and consistent brand identity helps establish trust with your audience. It helps them know who you are, what you stand for and what to expect when doing business with you. While much of this comes down to individual interactions you and your staff have with pet parents, it is also reflected in your brand assets and marketing strategy. Establishing clear brand standards and guidelines will help showcase that you know who you are, how you relate to the world, and the promise your product or service will fulfill.
Write the news.
The newspaper is NOT dead media. People still read the paper and, if your business depends on a local client base or has a brick-and-mortar storefront, you need to reach your immediate community to keep yourself top-of-mind as the pet expert in your neighborhood. Make connections with your local media sources and offer to write a pet column for them. (Hint: Share that 70% of American households have pets – and their readers do, too!) Letters to the editor are a good option—just be sure to choose topics relevant to recent events and your expertise. This approach establishes you as a trusted community expert. Don’t forget to include contact information like your website address in your byline, but keep the rest from being promotional. Just share quality info.
Have you heard the saying that people like buying but they don’t like being sold to? Well, it’s true. With people’s inboxes bombarded with promotional emails daily, it’s important that yours is noticed. Personalize your email campaigns by using your customer’s name, or bits and pieces of your own personal story. Don’t be afraid to slip that veil and show them the real pet-crazy person inside!
Talk to people.
Your first few sales can be exhilarating but still challenging. Your product or service solves someone else’s problem and it’s important people know you have something to offer. Leverage your current network to find potential customers. You already have rapport with your network, which will go far if you are still building your reputation and establishing yourself as an expert. Phone calls, emails and LinkedIn are great ways to catch up and network!
Learn the language of content.
You can deliver information many ways to people—text, video, graphics and audio. Each of these content mediums can be maximized to deliver the most bang for your creation efforts. Each impacts your audience in a different way. From color schemes to word choice, your content will have a varied impact on the audience, so you’ll want to be intentional with the medium you use to deliver it.
Become an influencer.
Building authority in your niche is no joke. Intentionally giving value to your customer, creating an audience and demonstrating your expertise will make you the go-to person in your niche. Think about landing an interview, answering questions in an online forum and going for awards to help build authority.
Give your website a copy-lift.
Be careful with this, though. Fixing your website won’t fix your marketing woes. This is why you shouldn’t always jump into a full blown redesign. Instead, consider how to adjust small things on your site to make a big difference. We can help you identify what truly needs changing on your website and what should stay. Get on my calendar for a free 15-minute strategy session and let’s see what low-hanging fruit is on your website.
Write like a person.
I’ve definitely been there. I’m excited about a product or company but when I get to their website, I’m overwhelmed with technical jargon or stuff I simply don’t care about. Stuffy, unapproachable copy can turn off a potential customer. Writing like one person talking to another can get you a leg up in SEO and will keep people coming back for more.
Go where your customers are (digitally).
Each social platform is unique and used by different people for different purposes. Understanding the nuances of each platform helps you take advantage of the ones that are right for you. Really, you should only be using the social media channels your customers are on. Try this handy social media selector to see where you should direct your efforts.
Again, don’t be afraid to show who you are and your reason for doing what you do. Let your story be known and communicate your brand pillars, the why for your existence. This helps build your relationship with your customers and potential customers. The modern pet parent wants to support businesses with missions they believe in. Letting them know yours helps them align with the core of your brand.
Love or hate them…e-Newsletters can be effective.
Get past the spam blockers and through the noise in nearly everyone’s inbox by creating an email newsletter with content pet parents actually need. Here’s how.
Offer gift cards.
Making a gift card offer convenient for pet parents is important. This can be challenging, especially if you’re offering a service with pricing that changes depending on specific factors such as breed or distance. There are a number of things you can do to help customers know what they should be buying, to get a yes to a gift card offer.
Ask for referrals.
Like asking for testimonials, referrals are often easy to get from happy pet parents. If they’ve had a positive experience with your business and benefited from your product or service, let them know you’re looking for more work. Chances are they’ll know someone who’s looking. That’s just one of many simple ways to find new work.
Run a small Facebook ad to reach new people.
Here’s my simple Facebook ads video walkthrough for getting started. IMPORTANT: Before you make the move, you need to understand the pitfalls of this approach, if done wrong. Avoid these 5 mistakes with digital advertisements and you’ll be sure to grow your audience with a small ad campaign.
Stay relevant with recent news.
You are the pet expert, so stay up to speed with the latest trends and top news in the pet space. There’s a lot happening any given moment, which is why we send out a free weekly
newsletter with a rundown and recommended talking points on the latest pet news. Save yourself some research time and sign up here.
Find a partner in crime.
Well, maybe not crime exactly, but partnership is the name of the game. Collaborating with another petpreneur or complementary pet business is an excellent way to expand your reach, help your partner fulfill their mission, and help more pet parents do what’s right for their families. Learn how to make the right partnerships for a win-win.
Consider voice-search technology.
The way people look you up online has changed. So has the way search engines generate results. With high-level customization and voice-search technology taking over the search engine scene, it’s important that pet businesses understand how people search for you and what they find when they look. Take our quiz and brush up on your SEO knowledge.
Figure out what unique knowledge you can share, then do!
Do a small amount of research, like finding the top 10 dog-friendly restaurants nearby, or the top 3 financial struggles pet parents face. You’ll have something great to talk about and a fantastic way to help draw in new clients.
Don’t try to do it all!
Less. Is. More. Make sure you have 20/20 vision for your business and a surefire strategy to make it happen. You don’t have to do it all though, including figuring out what to do. Book a free 15-minute strategy session with me to help understand what to do now, what to do later and what to never do to help your pet business thrive.
Updated June 2022