Pet Business Marketing 101
STEP 1 – Join the Bark Marketing Collective for free now.
This article is for owners, managers, and entrepreneurs of Pet Businesses:
- Dog Grooming / Pet Stylist
- Dog Walker
- Pet Sitter
- Dog Treat Maker / Pet Bakery
- Dog Food Business
- Yard Cleaner
- Animal / Dog Trainer
- Pet Photographer (award-winning Pet Portrait photographer Jed Grandmaison)
- Cat or Dog Cafe (or the world’s first dog Taproom – Fido’s Taphouse)
- Pet Stores
- Dog Psychology / Behavioral Practice
- Pet Friendly Real Estate Agents
Pet Business Marketing 101
This is common in other industries but often overlooked by people in Pet-related businesses.
“If you are a local business service provider and you aren’t going to multiple local networking groups, you’re missing out on meeting the people in your community who want to save time, and have the money to spend on your service.”
~ Matt Rouse Hook SEO Digital Marketing
Places you can visit to network with other business owners:
- Local Chamber of Commerce (free & paid events- not the same as the political National Chamber of Commerce)
- BNI (Business Networking International) Meetings (free to visit, then paid)
- WIN – Women in Networking (free then paid, but very inexpensive)
- Local Events like Charity Functions or Volunteer Events
- Community Events such as Fares, Farmer Markets, Festivals
- Business Development Association Events – SBA (small business administration), Entrepreneur Events
- Open Houses or “Ribbon Cuttings” for new businesses in your area
I cannot stress this enough. Write this on a sticky note and put it on your mirror or in your car or somewhere you’ll see it.
Networking is about FARMING not about HUNTING!
By farming, I mean that you are going to a networking event to start and build relationships. You are there to make friends and contacts and start seeing where YOU can help others. It’s farming because you want to plant the seeds of your future success by helping others.
It’s not like hunting, because hunting is the person that is just at a networking event to sell themselves. Trust me, everyone hates that person and doesn’t want to do business with them. They are the people who shove their business cards at people or walk around handing out flyers and coupons to people they don’t know.
Don’t be that person.
How to Start Farming
- Introduce yourself to people and ask them what they do… then LISTEN.
- Ask questions about what they do and learn from them.
- If that ask about you and your business, give them your one-liner (we’ll talk about that soon) and then answer any questions they have and then ask them more questions. This is about THEM, it’s not about you.
- It’s OK to ask them about their pets, but they will usually volunteer that information. Talk to them about your pets.
- Find common ground and interests.
- Woah! Wait a minute, this sounds like making friends. Surprise! That’s what you’re doing.
Once you have broken the ice and had some conversations, you want to make sure that you pay attention to any speakers or meeting that you are attending. Take notes. Engage with them where appropriate. If they ask “By a show of hands, how many of you have had a problem with _____.” Just be honest and be interactive.
If you get through the meeting and you talk to people after they seem genuinely interested in what you do, the next step with them is to set up a one-to-one meeting. That could be at your business, or theirs, or maybe at a coffee shop or something.
Maybe they just want more information about your services and you can give them your card, and ask if they want you to follow up with them with a call, text, message, or email later.
Most networking groups will have one or two meetings you can come to for free before there is a fee. Take advantage of that to visit several groups. If you find a group that you like and is convenient and has the potential to help your business, spend the money and time and join. And then make it part of your weekly routine to go to the meetings.
The Misconception About Business Networking Groups
Another reason it’s farming and not hunting is the biggest misconception people have with networking groups.
The real results you get aren’t from the people in the group, the best results are from the people that each of those people knows. This 2nd-Tier network of people can be hundreds, even thousands of people. And guess what? If you are friends with the people in your group, and you help them, and you care for their pets and their needs and do a fantastic job, they will tell their friends.
That’s how you build a huge potential client base to get more Ruff-errals from.
Something about your business has to different than every other place in town (or nearby) so that you can stand out as not just an option of someone who can do a service, but the only choice or the best choice for something you are known for.
As soon as you are considered just another service provider, then someone else can provide the same service cheaper and you end up in a race to the bottom. A race where everyone makes less money until you’re out of business.
Pick the thing that you are best at and make sure that is on your website, in your marketing, and that you offer as much value around that service as possible. This can be your specialty. It doesn’t mean you can’t do all the other things you do, but having a specialty means you aren’t just another service provider. You are an expert on that one thing that some people want. Not something for everyone, but something that some people want and will pay extra for.
Say Yes to More Business and More Referrals
Your homework mission, if you choose to accept it, is to read this book: Start Saying Yes – Improving Customer Experience and Sales Through Positive Messaging
Mark sure you join the Bark Marketing Collective for free now.