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January 2019

Six Free or Cheap Ways to Find New Customers

A well known rule of business is that it is easier to keep existing customers than it is to find new ones. For this reason, it is important that groomers take care to build relationships with their customers. Even for those who have an excellent customer retention rate, all of us need to find new customers from time to time. Here are 6 ideas for ways to get the word out about what you have to offer to new customers. 

  1. Be a walking billboard. A grooming friend of mine designed really stylish shirts and a jacket with her bright, eye catching logo and business name. She wore them out and about, and they were serious conversation starters. Studies show that the average adult has an attention span of just 6-8 seconds to have their interest captured. So, if you are wearing a snazzy shirt emblazoned with your business name and logo, and someone asks you about it, it's a win.  You then have approximately 60 seconds to tell them about your business before they tune out.  Experts suggest that business owners formulate and practice a blurb about what they want people to know about their work that is 60 seconds or less.  Imagine this; you are wearing a jacket or ball cap with your logo and name on it. Someone notices and asks you about it. You are prepared with a quick, enthusiastic explanation of what you have to offer them. And you also have...
  2. A really nice business card.  Many groomers I know try to pinch pennies when they buy cards. I think this is a big mistake. Even really expensive business cards are not a huge investment. An eye catching business card, well designed with all the important information a potential customer needs to get in touch with you in a wise investment in your future. In many cases your card is the very first impression people will have of you. Hand those things out everywhere!  If you are walking your dog and talk to another dog owner, give them a card. If you meet a new person, give them a card. Say you are at a business that has a bulletin board, put a couple cards up there. 
  3. Network with other pet care professionals.  Doggy day care providers, pet photographers, dog walkers, trainers and more can be potential partners. Offer to recommend their services if they recommend yours. You can get a group of pet related businesses together and host a public event to educate people about the services all of you offer. You can also share links on web sites and on social media. This is a huge win/win for all parties involved, and a great way to target the pet owning public. 
  4. Speaking of social media, a 2015 study showed that more than 2/3's of adults engage in social media. You might be surprised at the wide range of people you can reach this way. I recently had a man in his 80's tell me he found my business after someone referred to me on Facebook. Choose a few formats that appeal to you, and publish content often. The more you post photos and interesting information, the greater chance you have of your posts being shared. This is free advertising that has long reaching impact. 
  5. Give something away. People love to get something for nothing. Try offering a free add-on service with grooms for a period of time. Some suggestions are: a hot oil or deep conditioning treatment, a seasonal facial, a paw treatment or  upgraded spa package. These services don't cost much to offer, but can attract new customers to try your business. 
  6. Give a nail clinic.  This month my business will be at the local fire house where a low cost rabies clinic will be held. We will do nail trims for a $10 donation, and all the money raised will go to help support the volunteer fire department. You can do something similar. Many rescue organizations hold public events throughout the year. If you can arrange to do a nail trim clinic there you can meet a lot of pet loving people, and raise money for a worthy cause at the same time. 

As groomers, our advertising efforts should be focused very locally. This makes it easier for us to reach potential customers. Beyond my suggestions, brainstorm ways to target the customers you seek within your community.