When marketing your grooming business, there are ways to get the word out without breaking the bank. The first thing to do is focus on “thinking local.” You want to pitch the information about your grooming to a targeted audience. In our industry, your best investment is to focus on potential customers close to where you operate.
Studies prove that, on average, you have 6–8 seconds to grab someone’s attention. Once you have that attention, you have about 60 seconds to hold their interest long enough to pitch your service. Because of this, you should spend some time thinking of how to explain your business in 60 seconds or less enthusiastically.
Have a phrase prepared and practiced that you can rattle off the next time the bank teller taking your deposit says, “Oh, you are a groomer?” Hit her with your pitch and leave her knowing enough about your business that she will consider bringing her pet to you or mention your service to friends and family. Once you have this down, you simply need to find ways to open the conversation more often. Here are some ways to do just that.
- Dress the part. Whenever you go out in public, wear clothing with your business name and logo. Investing in attractive, eye-catching clothes will make you a walking billboard. Think jean jacket, ball cap, tee shirts, etc. People will ask, and you can give them your above 60-second pitch. Then…
- Hand them a business card. Pro-tip: don’t scrimp on your business cards. An attractive, informative card on high-quality stock tells people much about you. A nicely done card is more apt to be considered and kept than one that looks cheap.
- Ask existing customers if they would be willing to take a few of your business cards and share them with friends and family members with pets. People like to be helpful and are usually happy to be asked.
- Social Media- choose a medium that interests you and put it to work. You may be surprised at the reach of this free form of advertising. I once asked a man in his 80s how he had learned about my grooming studio. “Oh, I saw you on the Facebook.” Keep your page fresh with frequent posts. People love to see photos of animals, and you can also post helpful tips and seasonal information. You can reach a broad audience with just a few moments of effort.
- Network with other pet care professionals in your area to cross-promote each other. Dog trainers, boarding facilities, pet photographers, dog walkers, and doggy daycare providers are great sources who might be interested in referring their customers to you if you return the favor. You can even consider putting on a joint event with a group of other pet services to welcome the public to learn more about your businesses. You can also use reciprocal website links, combined social media events, or fliers to cross-promote.
- Write up a good press release if your business has something noteworthy to share. There are instructions on how to do so online. This is excellent free publicity.
Once you have attracted new customers to your growing business, use your mad grooming skills and excellent customer service to keep them returning. Of course, keeping existing customers is easier than attracting new ones. And that is a topic for a future post.
By Daryl Conner, MPS, MCG
Daryl Conner has been devoted to making dogs and cats more comfortable and beautiful for almost 40 years. You can find her happily working at FairWinds Grooming Studio with her daughter and infant granddaughter, or typing away at her latest grooming-related article. Daryl was awarded both a Cardinal Crystal Award and Barkleigh Honors Award for journalism. She shares her meadow-hugged antique Maine farmhouse with her practically perfect husband and too many animals.