Apps like Rover are disrupting the pet care business. But, your locally owned business has a home-court advantage — you know your community and its people and neighborhoods well. You can promote your business locally in a way nationwide websites cannot.
Here’s how to use your local advantage:
Use Google My Business to get good search results
Google My Business is the app that powers how your business shows up on Google Maps. In order to get your local pet care business to appear in Google Maps, you have to claim your Google My Business listing.
Once you’ve added your business to Google Maps, you can optimize your profile so that you show up in more Google searches. Here are a few key ways to optimize your profile:
- Fill out all business information, such as contact information and hours
- Add photos of your service (everyone loves cute pet photos!)
- Monitor and respond to customer reviews
- Choose the right business categories
Google My Business is a crucial marketing tool for a local business. The good thing is that it’s free and pretty easy to use.
Use all the names and nicknames of your local communities, towns, & counties to turn up in local searches
A national website like Rover is only going to use your town or city’s official name. But, that name is probably not the only one that local people are using when they search. You have a distinct advantage here.
Include area nicknames in your website copy, blog articles, and marketing materials. When someone searches “Tri-State Area pet care,” your local pet care business is more likely to show up first.
Use localized marketing like yard signs, flyers, and billboards to reach targeted neighborhoods
Unlike a nationwide website, you are physically located in the community that you serve. You can easily print out flyers and post them in community spaces. You can also ask your customers—who you know personally—to display your business’s signs in their yards. With these tactics, you can easily target the particular neighborhoods that you want to serve.
On your marketing materials, include references to local inside jokes or local folklore. Potential customers will recognize you as someone who belongs to their community, and they’ll be more likely to trust you with their pets.
Give your staff brightly colored t-shirts to wear and business cards to hand out while they’re out walking animals
When your staff is out exercising animals, they’re almost certain to run into potential customers. Maybe a neighbor is curious about the one person walking five dogs. Or maybe a family stops to pet an adorable puppy. Brightly colored t-shirts tell curious onlookers that your staff is part of a team of professionals.
Staff members should also hand out business cards, coupons, or flyers to the people that they come across. After having come across the staff in person, pet owners will feel more comfortable giving you a call.
Buy local mailing list and send out creative mailers
Direct mailers can be a great way to obtain new customers. You can buy a list of mailing addresses for people in your area and send them information about your services. Be creative with your mailers. For example, you could send a holiday card with a photo of pets dressed up in seasonal outfits.
Network with veterinarians and groomers
Get to know your neighborhood pet service providers. Pet owners often ask their veterinarians and groomers for a recommendation of a trustworthy local pet care business. Perhaps you can send referrals to each other to establish a mutually beneficial relationship.
While you’re working on these relationships, ask the vets and groomers whether you can leave your flyers and business cards in their locales.
Join neighborhood groups on Facebook, NextDoor, etc
Local neighborhood groups are another place where pet owners look for recommendations. Some groups on Facebook and NextDoor allow self-promotion. Post regularly (within group guidelines) about your offerings.
If you cannot promote directly through these groups, you can still get to know the community members so that you can be more attentive to their needs. And if one group member has a good experience with your service, they very well might recommend you to others.
Buy advertising in local newspapers & magazines
Local newspapers and magazines offer valuable ad space for your local pet care business. One huge benefit of a local publication is that it allows you to advertise to just your target customer — the person who lives near you. Print ads also tend to be much more affordable than television or radio ads.
Offer coupons on sites like Groupon
A special promotion on a site like Groupon can introduce new customers to your business. Picture someone who had always found pet care services to be too expensive. This person takes advantage of a coupon, experiences your excellent service, and then sees the value in paying full price for it in the future. If you decide to run a promotion, design it carefully for your best chance at success.
The rest of your business management doesn’t stop while you’re working on your marketing. But, you can outsource many of your daily tasks to give you more time to invest in your business’s growth. ServiceWorks is an all-in-one platform that can handle your bookings, invoices, calendars, and inventory. While you work on your marketing plan, you can try ServiceWorks for free for 14 days.