If you’re the owner of a doggie daycare or pet boarding business, you’re probably aware that marketing plays an essential role in growing your business. But, it can be costly and time consuming. In fact, according to recent studies, the cost to gain new customers has increased 50% over the last 5 years.
Is it possible to market your doggie daycare and boarding business on a budget?
Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s totally possible!
Not only can it be affordable, but it can have a positive effect on your business too. Let’s cover some of the best ways, in my opinion, that you can start marketing your doggie daycare and boarding business online (with very little effort!):
1. Get a website for your business and promote it.
Some of the pet biz owners I’ve talked to will say something similar: I don’t want to invest in a website right now when I can use social media, referrals, and networking. The truth is, investing in a website is one of the best things you can do, especially early on. You own your website. Nobody can take it away from you. It’s a long-lasting investment, even if the ROI takes a while to prove itself.
A website is the very first thing you need if you want to promote your business digitally. It’s like online real estate for your business. You can include all your contact information, FAQs, pricing, and more. If you’re unsure about investing in a website, I listed 8 reasons that will change your mind!
Think of it in terms of hotels. Would you book a hotel room if they didn’t have a professional website? What sort of hotel experience do you want to give your clients?
Already have a website but not sure if you're doing it quite right?
2. Get booking software that’ll save you tons of time!
Luckily, there is software out there that is created just for doggie daycares and boarding facilities! For example, you can use Revelation Pets to systemize your pet sitting business. It’ll help you automate appointment bookings, and it keeps your bookkeeping and email marketing all in one place. For 25% off your first year's subscription, use the code LOVEPETS!
3. Start building an email list.
Most pet business clients that I work with do not even realize the value of an email list. Even sending out monthly newsletters can help with brand loyalty, more sales, more engagement, and higher spending per client. It's a way personal and direct way to reach out to your customers (current and future).
Not to mention, compared to social media, you actually OWN your email list. Facebook and Instagram can take away your accounts and followers in an instant, but you will always have your email list. Take advantage of that.
Speaking of emails with clients, I 100% upleveling your client experience. Do you provide potential clients with a Welcome Packet, so they can get familiar with your facility and know what to expect when working with you? (Not to mention, removing endless back and forth via email). Then, it's time to create one. If you need help, we have Welcome Packet Templates just for doggie daycares and boarding facilities like yours!
4. Create and use social media accounts for your business.
When you share content on social media frequently on a consistent basis, you’ll see a change happen. Gradually, your numbers will grow, and more people will be aware of your brand. As they get to know you, they’ll be much more likely to become your customers. Pets may not have access to the internet, but their owners are there!
Just be sure to vary up your content. Don’t JUST share photos of pets every day with simple captions. Try entertaining posts, educational posts, informative, and promotional. There is lots to share and everything should have a purpose!
5. Try strategic Facebook Advertising!
Facebook advertising can work really well for small pet businesses. It’s budget-friendly, and when done strategically, it can have a really powerful ROI. The best part about digital advertising is that you can pick and choose the demographics of the people you want to see your ads. What this means is that you can tell Facebook who your target market is, and they’ll only show those ads to the people you choose. I really believe in the power of Facebook Ads so I busted some myths that I’ve read about across social media in different industries.
6. Got your website up and running? The next step is to start blogging!
If you haven’t started a blog yet, you really should. Writing blog content is a great way to become an expert in your market. You can answer the most commonly asked questions that your customers have.
Think about it: Most pet owners want to know why they should hire you or pick you as a doggie daycare or boarding business. Do you know animal first aid or how to handle emergency situations? These are great blog topics to consider in order to show customers you are qualified to care for their pets.
7. Go the extra mile with some special activities for the pets.
You can celebrate birthdays, offer training classes, host ice cream socials, perform art activities, and take photos during the holidays. Regular clients spend A LOT if they’re loyal to your business, so you need to show them that you truly spoil and cherish their pets. They LOVE those extra touches.
When those extra touches are associated with your business, it’ll be a lot easier for you to acquire new customers. Your loyal base will gladly expand your reach with positive reviews and referrals!
8. Reward existing and loyal customers.
After all, existing and loyal customers will take up about 80% of your revenue compared to the cost of trying to acquire new customers. So, what can you offer to your loyal customers now to maintain that steady relationship? There are a few options like offering rewards, packages, loyalty points, and gifts just to name a few. It’s an additional way for you to show appreciation for your returning customers.
9. Claim your online listings for your business.
Yelp, Google, Bing, and Yahoo are all search engines that people use to research new ideas. If they’re looking for help, you’ll want them to be able to connect with you easily. For example, if someone searches for “pet sitter in San Diego,” you probably want your business to show up first, right?
One way to make that happen is through Google My Business (and all of these search engines have something similar). Each of these search engines allows you to “claim” your business so you can have your basic business information out there.
10. Share your story, your staff, and yourself!
The best way to market these days is through storytelling. It’s a different approach to welcoming new customers to your brand. With thousands of ads popping up every day, consumers generally feel tired of being sold to. So, it’s a good idea to approach your target market with more than just digital advertising.
Here are some ideas to help you include storytelling in your brand messaging:
Your customers want to know that you and your staff are experts. Share their photos, biographies, and credentials on your website.
Your target market is also going to reallllly care about the “pet experience” in your care! They would love to see what the animals are up to while in your care - think interactive photos/videos of dog walks, giving treats, and playing with their favorite toys!
Share yourself - don’t be afraid to get personal! Behind-the-scenes or personal stories are a great place to start. Most would love to hear about how and why you started your pet business.
Like most things in life, marketing takes a bit of practice. You have to be willing to go through trials and errors to see what’ll work best for your business and your customers. When it comes to digital marketing, consistency and visibility are key elements.
While it can feel overwhelming trying to choose a route to market your business, you should prioritize 1-3 ways and stick with those. If your market is connecting with you on Facebook, then you should post there frequently! If you’re receiving lots of responses on Instagram Stories, then create and add to your Story Highlights!
Whatever is working for your business, stick to it, and watch your doggie daycare business grow!