The pet industry — especially services — is thriving. In this area, the American Pet Products Association (APPA) predicted increased spending from $510 billion to $620 billion from 2015 to 2016 (a 22% increase), with pet grooming being a dominant sector.
That’s why it’s crucial your business is showcased properly online so it stands out from the growing hordes.
Pet Owners on Social Media
Before we jump into some marketing hacks, it’s important to understand just how active pet owners are on social media. This will emphasize the importance of communicating effectively with your customers, while also being noticed in all the places they’re conversing and thinking about their pets.
According to a recent study by BarkBox, adult owners talk about their dogs or post a picture of them 6 times a week and check out dog pics or watch dog videos around 3 times a week.
Why Pet Owners Engage on Social Media
There are a number of reasons as to why they’re doing this. One of these is because owners see their pets as a member of their family. So they want to demonstrate how important they are by talking about them on social media. Furthermore, pet pictures are free from politics, so owners can create an online space that’s separate to their own thoughts and spreads more joy.
However, other experts also suggest these posts are created because pets are an extension of a person. Therefore, it offers pet owners a comfortable way of talking about their lives and family, without directly talking about themselves. These pets, like children, are reflective of them as a person. In fact, the founder of Piedmont Avenue Consulting, David Mitroff, suggests that owners use their dogs to boost their own popularity on social media sites!
The Extent of Engagement
Some owners even go one step further, as a recent survey revealed that 10% of pet owners have created a social media profile that’s solely for their pet. The report also found that 81% of owners class their pet as their bestfriend, and 66% said people tend to be friendlier toward them when they’re walking their pet.
With these statistics and analyses in mind, it’s not hard to see why the Internet is such a huge marketing tool for pet businesses.
So, here’s how you can boost your online presence with some quick and simple hacks.
Improving Your Website
The internet is, for many, their primary source of information, with 53% of people searching for a local business at least once a month. Therefore, it’s vital you have a website that’s up to date, easy to navigate, and provides customers with all the information they need.
First, you need to make sure your website has been modernized. This includes optimizing your site for a variety of devices, including smartphones, laptops, and tablets. And even if you’ve only got a basic site, many free website builders now offer this type of optimization.
Second, provide all the information customers need. This involves ensuring all the information your customers may be looking for is displayed clearly on your website. This includes: contact numbers, price lists, address details, and so on. Got a reservation system on your site, too? Then make sure there are clear links that take your customers to this, so it’s easy for them to book an appointment.
Although you’re busy running your day-to-day business, taking some time to blog can improve your business’s credibility no end, while also boosting your SEO rankings. If you can provide helpful, original content for your customers, this will demonstrate that you’re an expert in this field, which will set you apart from your competitors. Be sure to tailor this content to your specific followers so they’re constantly intrigued and keep coming back for more.
You can also ask your customers for reviews before displaying these on your site. With 88% of customers trusting the reviews they read online, it’s crucial you’re making the most of these positive comments. Ask customers to review your services by placing a link to Yelp (or the review site you’re using), but try to display some of these reviews on your site, too. This will ensure customers visiting your website can see how highly rated you are. And if you don’t know how to get started, why not email your regular customers and ask them for their reviews?
Finally, if you’re feeling creative, you could even have a go at recording your own videos. Just like blog posts, videos are a great way of showcasing your expertise in this area. And if you’re not a fan of standing in front of the camera, you could do a quick film of your premises or get someone to film you while you’re working with your customers. Once you’ve done this, simply upload the video to YouTube before embedding the link into your site. And don’t forget to share this great piece of content on social media as well!
Showcasing Your Business on Social Media
As we’ve already seen, social media is a highly-used platform for pet lovers, which is why you’ll want to join in with their conversations.
To start with, choose a select few social sites to get involved in. It’s easy to get ambitious when you join social media with your business, opening an account on every site going, but don’t. It’s important to update these regularly, so choose a couple of sites your customers are active on before building up your social media profile gradually.
Join local Facebook groups because these are great for reaching out to people in your local area. They also allow you to keep an eye out for people who are looking for recommendations or specific services that you can help them with. Can’t find a local group? Then create one and ask friends and family members to share the group so you can gather new members.
Start using hashtags because almost every social media platform will have hashtags dotted all over it, and these are a great way of finding new followers. You could even create your own unique hashtag so people can share these with their friends and family. This helps people find relevant content that they’re interested in, while also providing you with a great way of reaching out to your customers.
Use Instagram stories to avoid that annoying problem of people over-sharing information. Bombarding people with too much information can lead to them unfollowing you. So, make the most of Instagram stories by uploading photos or videos regularly throughout the day. These disappear after 24 hours and don’t clog up people’s news feeds. Therefore, if a customer’s interested in what you’re sharing or they have a spare few minutes, they can flick through the stories you’ve shared in their own time.
Don’t forget to be creative with your posts. After a few weeks of running your social media accounts, you can start to run out of ideas. But keep things fresh by looking for fun new ways you can share content on these sites. Mix things up by posting videos, pictures, blog posts, fun facts, new information, and so on. And don’t forget — if all else fails — everyone loves a picture of a cute cat or dog!
You can also schedule your posts, which is particularly useful if you know you’re not going to be able to post regularly, or you often forget to post while you’re working. Start using a tool to schedule your posts so you can share content regularly, and at peak times. This means you’re targeting your customers when they’re active on social media. Great tools include Everypost, Buffer, SocialOomph, HootSuite, and Sprout Social.
Finally, get your customers involved. There are a number of ways you can do this. Here are a few ideas to get you going:
- Ask customers to take before and after pictures of their pet so they can share them
- Create fun questionnaires that you combine with a picture of customers’ pets
- Keep seasonal props handy so owners can take pictures of these with their pets
- Create competitions and contests
- Ask customers to share their stories — whether it’s a funny story about their pet, a heartwarming adoption tale, or feedback on their experience with you.
Getting Proactive With Email Marketing
Email marketing’s another fantastic tool you can use, regardless of how large or small your pet business is. In fact, statistics indicate that 75% of companies feel email offers “good” or “excellent” ROI.
To make the most of this marketing tool, there are several things you can do.
Create a Monthly Newsletter
This will help you build an ongoing relationship with your customers as you engage them with new information. To get you started, here are some great ideas for your newsletters:
- Promotions for your products and services
- Rewards for loyal customers
- Pet news and upcoming events
- Introducing staff members or doing a “day in the life” of your employees
- Answering frequently asked questions
- Providing helpful tips and advice — perhaps linking to a relevant blog post you’ve written
- Sharing behind-the-scenes stories of your business.
Send Your Customers Videos
This allows you to get their attention and incorporate a whole host of information in them. You can also use them to separate paragraphs of text, which can really increase the engagement you get from your email.
Track Your Email Success Rates
Using a service like ConstantContact can really help. This allows you to analyze how well your email campaigns are performing by looking at the open rate, click-through rate, and so on. It’s great for showing you where you’re doing things right and where you can improve. And you can also try A/B testing with subject lines, content, and so on, to see what gets the most engagement from your customers.
The above examples show you how quick and easy it is to start promoting your pet business online. Starting slow and increasing your level of engagement with customers will help you build a reputable brand in your local area.
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