Creating an effective marketing strategy for a pet shop doesn't have to cost a paw and a leg. In fact, there are a number of creative, low-cost options available. All it takes is some imagination, a stick-to-it attitude, old-fashioned common sense, and the ability to think outside the box.
When formulating a marketing strategy, start by being clear about your goals, your target audience, and your pet shop’s specific strengths and how to capitalize on them. The following ideas can help you design an effective marketing strategy for your pet shop,
Make a Great Impression at All Times
The way you treat people in your daily life is an important part of your professional and personal brand, and is integral to marketing your pet shop. People who you come in contact with on a daily basis can spread the word about you and your business, so you want that interaction to be positive.
Always respond to emails in a prompt, courteous manner, and answer the phone in a warm and welcoming way. Be courteous to people in your community with whom you come into contact on a daily basis.
Market Your Pet Shop Locally and Online
A great way to market your pet shop is through the internet. Consider using:
- Blogs: Start a pet blog to determine customer needs and educate them about your products and services.
- Business listing sites: Include your pet shop on business listing sites to gain exposure.
- Social media: Use social media to find out about the latest trends, such as National Dog Day or Love Your Pet Day, and use these dates as an opportunity to spread the word about your business.
- E-mail newsletters: Create a monthly newsletter that can be emailed to customers. Your newsletter can include various sections such as existing and new products and services, as well as special events, holidays, and sales. Even consider presenting a one-page meet and greet featuring pictures of pet owners and their pets from surrounding communities.
You can also create your own website using a free online website building service, such as WIX, Square Space, or JIMDO. Your website can invite members to sign up for specials and discounts. In this way, you will have a repository of member information that you can access for determining future marketing strategies.
It's also important to keep your website up-to-date with current educational content and products. Create incentives such as coupons and discounts to attract and retain customers.
To bring in additional customers, create flyers and business cards to display at animal clinics, private veterinarian practices, animal training schools, and pet groomers. Some pet shops even host pet adoption days to attract customers.
Devise a professional and personal mission statement. This will enable you to maintain a specific focus when creating a marketing plan for your pet shop.
Become the Go-to Pet Expert
Starting a privately-owned pet store has many advantages over the big-box, general merchandise stores that carry pet products. Notably, one has the freedom to choose unique products and supplies. Begin by carrying products not found elsewhere in your region and learn as much as you can about them.
Examples of items to consider include natural pet food and pet care products, as well as items that solve problems such as a slow feeder bowl that measures out a certain amount of food at intervals to slow down a fast-eating pet, a special comb that eliminates the shedding of cat fur, or a pet video camera that allows you to monitor your pet from work.
Network With Others in the Industry
Starting a pet shop includes establishing mutually beneficial relationships with others, above and beyond your business goals. Join an organization, such as the Independent Pet Retailers Association (IPRA) or the Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA), and attend business events to stay current on the industry and learn what the competition is doing to keep their businesses viable.
A sound marketing strategy for a pet shop is not just about offering the highest quality products and services. It's based on establishing good relationships with others, which costs little or nothing but is always priceless.
Get Involved in the Community
You and your pet shop are a part of a community. Get involved and donate your time, not just as part of your pet shop marketing plan, but because you genuinely care and want to help others.
You might consider orchestrating or at least helping with pet rescues and shelters, community cleanups, or becoming involved in local school groups, charities, and other organizations through which you can establish relationships with others in your area.
Be Consistent and Persistent
New pet shop marketing strategies may not produce immediate results. You will have to work the strategy repeatedly to see success. For example, if you decide to produce a newsletter, come up with a specific schedule of newsletters and commit to it. Whether you decide to produce your newsletter weekly or monthly, aim to publish it at targeted dates to manage customer expectations.
Create a Brand
An effective marketing plan for any business also involves establishing a brand, a distinct identity for an enterprise. Belief in your pet shop, your products, and services, as well as yourself, are important to the success of your business.
As part of your marketing plan, think about what you have to offer that your competition doesn't, and how you can capitalize on this in ways that benefit pets and the people who love them. Above all, ensure a quality experience in every aspect of your pet business.
The Bottom Line
Product knowledge, enthusiasm, and belief in your products and services are key elements of any pet shop marketing plan. Also, showing that you genuinely care about your customers and the well-being of their pets through your behavior, actions, and the products you sell can set you apart from the competition and help to grow your business.