It can be a “ruff” task, marketing your dog grooming business.
How do you set yourself apart from the competition? What will your unique selling point be? Here are a few tips to get you thinking and set you on the path towards raising the profile of your company.
Capitalise On Location-Based Social Networks
It goes without saying these days that developing a strong Internet presence is an integral part of your business success – and a key aspect of that is activity on social networks. But beyond just setting up the generic Facebook page and Twitter account, how can you really connect with those in your local area who are most likely to use your services? A few ideas include:
- Developing a presence on location-based sites like Yelp, Foursquare, Google Places and local directories.
- Building a profile on and participating in forums for your community or industry (for example, pet lovers Facebook groups or a forum for your city or county.)
- Researching relevant keywords and #hashtags that people in your area and seeking your services are using, and scripting posts using them.
- Purchasing Facebook adverts targeted to a key demographic, such as dog owners in your county.
Build A Great Website
Social media is great, but even a very active Facebook page shouldn’t replace having an actual website. A stylish and simple website should be the number one place you direct all your web traffic to. It should feature on your business cards, flyers, social media accounts and anywhere else you feel is relevant. Furthermore, it will be especially excellent for targeting relevant keywords and keeping your audience up to date on your promotions, services, opening hours and contact information – the essentials for doing business with you.
If you’re inclined to do a little writing, you could even feature a blog as a fun way to touch on subjects such as:
- Show dog styling
- Pet grooming tips
- Doggy nail care
- Upcoming dog-friendly events in your area
- Paw care for hot and cold weather
- How to brush a dog’s teeth
Hand Out Loyalty Cards
Once you’ve noticed a client rebook their pooch for a repeat visit, it’s a great opportunity to hand out a loyalty card. Doing so will encourage them to keep coming back – and tell their friends, too. What you use your loyalty cards for is up to you, but a simple and effective idea is stamping cards for nine nail treatments or baths and getting the 10th one free. You could even offer a stamp every time a client shops, then giving them a free grooming service once they get up to a certain amount.
Focus On Your USP
Think for a minute – what sets your dog grooming business apart from the competition? Are you a master of dealing with matt removal or taming curly fur? Do you specialise in small dogs or offer pet-safe pedicures for pooches? Are you willing to take on dogs who have a tendency to act up at the groomers? Whatever your unique selling point, capitalise on it! Don’t let it become all you do, or you may run the risk of excluding potential happy customers. But don’t hesitate to give it some consistent, extra attention on your blog, Facebook page, Yelp listing or printed leaflets.
Offer An “Open House”
Some pet owners may hesitate to drop their beloved furry friend off at a new grooming salon or kennel, unsure of how they’ll be treated and react when they’re left. A great way to reassure clients – and their dogs – is to be forthright and literally show them what goes on behind the scenes. This can be accomplished in several different ways; which one you choose will likely depend on the layout and size of your shop. You might want to consider:
- Separating the reception area from the holding and grooming areas with a glass partition, so people can see how their dogs are being treated
- Offering “open house” nights and tours for new clients to view your facilities before bringing their dogs in
- Featuring a larger reception area with sofas and magazines, where dog owners are encouraged to relax and wait while their fuzzy family members are being groomed
Give A Little Extra
Of course you need to consider your profit margin – you are running a business, after all, but it’s worthwhile to always consider ways you can offer something extra to your loyal clients. It doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate – a little goes a long way! How about offering unscented shampoos and conditioners as an alternative for those with allergies? A free deluxe doggy pedicure with every other grooming session? Or a stylish bow for female dogs? You could even make the “something extra” your unique selling point, such as offering house calls for elderly or especially anxious dogs in need of bathing or nail care.
However you go about marketing your dog grooming business, remember that the primary focus should always be on the care you provide to animals and their owners. That is the surefire way to keep customers coming back, and keep them recommending you to their pet-owning friends!