It’s never easy to know how best to market your business, especially in a down economy where every dollar counts. Thinking outside the box and leveraging cheaper alternatives can make a big difference in your bottom line.
Marketing your business is now easier and cheaper than ever, so why not use some handy online tools to put your business is in the spotlight?
We recently had the opportunity to visit with Valerie Provost at Val’s Four Paw Spa in Worcester, MA. Valerie has been a local certified groomer for 10 years with over 14 years in the animal care industry.
Val worked as a groomer at a large pet retailer for seven years, and then began her own business, Val’s Four Paw Spa, within the Fuzzy Pants Pet Stop store in August 2010.
Valerie shared with us some of her insights and experiences in owning and marketing a grooming shop.
1. Harness the power of social media
Val participates in an online coupon program, TheLocalDeal.com, where she offers reduced pricing and specials as a way to get new customers in the door.
Even though she loses money on discounted groomings up front, the advertising she gets from being involved helps boost her customer base and generates lots of referrals and return business.
Val says: “I have to admit that I absolutely hated this the first time I ran a deal. I was not yet as busy as I am now. I worked for two weeks straight making less than 10 bucks a dog. However, about 6 weeks later, I noticed that most of those customers who bought the deal were returning. I now run the deal three to four times a year.”
Build a Professional Website
Val has created a detailed website with information about her business, pictures of customers’ newly groomed pets, prices, and even an online reservation feature.
Having a well-constructed website ensures that her customers are getting the best in customer service.
They can easily find out information about her business, book appointments for their pets, and swoon over the photos she posts of her work… and the best part?
She designed the website herself and the whole thing costs her under $10 a month thanks to services like Website Tonight and Go Daddy.
Put Your Business on Facebook
Val also has a Facebook page linked to her website where she can build a community with other groomers and with her customers.
She can share photos, mention contests/events, and generate interest in her business.
This free service helps increase her visibility as a groomer and also connects her with other groomers and customers easily.
2. Get customers involved
Val runs a regular contest where customers have the opportunity to have their pet’s picture featured on the top left hand corner of her business cards. All customers have to do to enter the contest is email Val a picture of their newly groomed pet.
When the contest closes, the contestant with the highest number of votes wins. The prize is their pup’s picture on 1,000 of Val’s business cards, and the same picture is used as the business’ Facebook profile picture for 30 days.
The winning pet owner also gets one free spa day for their pet, a free photo session with VillKat Photography, and $25 in free products from the Fuzzy Pants Pet Stop.
Val says: “My customers love having their pet’s picture on my business card more than anything else. It’s a personal touch.”
3. Broaden your reach
Rather than going at it on her own, Val opened shop within an independent pet store. This provides her with extra help when she needs it and also ensures added foot traffic and new customers.
She works closely with JL of Fuzzy Pants Pet Stop. She makes recommendations on pet food and supplies, while he reminds his customers of her grooming expertise and services. The relationship is symbiotic.
4. Listen to your customers and go with the flow
Val doesn’t sell much in her grooming shop (especially since she works inside a pet store), but when her customers started asking for EZ Groom shampoos and sprays, Val decided to start selling them the product. Val also sells Pet Effects sprays so her customers can keep their pets smelling their best between grooming visits. Her willingness to go with the flow helps ensure customer satisfaction, while increasing her bottom line.
Whether you’re just starting out or have been working in the industry for years, remaining unique in how you market your business will help grow your customer base and keep your current customers coming back for more.
Thanks to affordable marketing solutions, it is now easier than ever to get your business out there. Let us know some of your clever marketing ideas and how they worked for your business.
PetEdge is your source for discount dog grooming products and wholesale pet products. Shop from over 17,000 pet products in our catalog and online at PetEdge.com