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.
Start by being clear about your goals when formulating a marketing strategy, the audience you want to reach, plus what the pet shop’s specific strengths are, and how to capitalize on them.
Here are some more factors to consider for marketing a pet shop, which cost little or nothing.
Make a Great Impression at All Times
Always respond to e-mails in a prompt, courtesy manner. Be mindful of how you answer the phone.
It’s not enough to just be polite to your pet shop's customers.
It’s also important to be nice to the guy on the street, the lady in the supermarket whose cart accidentally bumps into yours, restaurant waitstaff and everyone else with whom you come into contact in your daily activities.
The way you treat people on a continual basis, in every aspect of your life, is an important part of your professional and personal brand, which I'll get into momentarily, plus integral to marketing a pet shop.
It may also be a good idea to 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.
Getting Tech Savvy as Part of Your Marketing Strategy
There are many low or no-cost options to market a business available through the Internet, such as:
Ask every person who comes into your pet store for their e-mail addresses and enter them into a database. If you’re not tech savvy, assign a staff member to take care of this.
Or take a course. High schools and community colleges almost always have continuing ed courses in this.
No matter what, be sure to capitalize on the Internet. Not only is this a must-have tool for any business, the ‘Net offers tons of low-cost, creative ways to market a pet shop.
Become the Go-to Pet Expert
As I mentioned in my article about starting a pet store, privately owned pet shops actually have many advantages over the big box and 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, then learn as much as you can about these.
Some examples of the kinds of products you could carry include premium natural dog and cat food brands. As these are difficult to find in supermarkets and the big pet store franchises, this is something you may want to consider.
This is not just about attending business events and exchanging business cards, in the hopes that this will bring more traffic into your pet shop.
Marketing a pet shop, or any kind of business for that matter, is about being out and about and establishing mutually beneficial relationships with others, above and beyond the business goals for your pet shop.
Get Involved in the Community
Of course, you do want to join local business groups, such as your area’s chamber of commerce. But it’s good to think outside the box when marketing a pet shop.
You might consider orchestrating or at least helping with community cleanups, becoming involved in a local school group, charities and other organizations through which you can establish relationships with others in your area.
Remember, you – and your pet shop - are a part of the community. Any given community is comprised of individuals. Be one who gets involved and gives back, not just as part of your pet shop marketing plan, but because you genuinely care and want to help the community.
Be Consistent and Persistent
Whether you’ve been in business for five minutes or 50 years, new pet shop marketing strategies are not going to catch on overnight. You have to work it, repeatedly.
For example, if you decide to produce a newsletter, come up with a specific schedule for this and stick to it. Whether you decide to do this once a week or once a month, always get it out at the same time.
Garner as much knowledge as you can about your products, services and the pets you provide these for. Enthusiasm and belief in your products and services, and yourself, are also key elements of any pet shop marketing plan.
Genuinely caring about your customers and the well-being of their pets goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway.
Branding is also an important element of a pet shop's marketing strategy.
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/or services, as well as yourself, are very important.
As part of your pet shop marketing plan, think about what you have to offer that others don’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, across the board, in every aspect of your pet business.
Ultimately, a sound marketing strategy for a pet shop is not just about offering the highest quality products and services. Effective business marketing is also based on establishing good relationships with others. That costs little or nothing, but is always priceless.
For lots of helpful tips about Internet marketing, be sure to check out these articles.