Whether it's a first pet or an addition to the family of furries, there's no doubt that pets comes with new responsibilities and, often, many unanswered questions. When pet owners aren't sure what to do next, where do they often turn to (hint: it's Google)?
That's where you (should) come in. Believe it or not, your pet shop is much more than a place for pet owners to pick up their favorite brand of dog food. It's a hub where customers can learn about all things related to their pet (except health needs, leave that to the veterinarians).
Turning your store into a central hub for all things "pet" will ensure customers think of you every time they see their furry loved one. Plus, it's a great way to accomplish pet store marketing without spending a fortune on advertising budgets. Fortunately, it's easy and cheap to get started!
The Benefits of Added Value
Ask yourself this: what makes you stand out from the pet supply store down the street?
Are you adding value through engaging and educational content? This is one particular value proposition we don't see many pet stores doing, meaning it could be a huge opportunity for your store to stand out from your competitors.
Adding value to your customers through educational content encourages responsible pet ownership, creates customer loyalty and recognition through shared content, and promotes your store as a one-stop shop for both pet education and supplies.
Now the question becomes, how do you get started?
Put Together a Content Plan
A plan of action will help keep you organized and on track for success in marketing your pet store. When putting together a plan, consider the following steps:
- Identify your customer's needs - What questions are you constantly hearing from your customers? Where are they at in their pet's life stage, and how can you anticipate questions from that?
- Write everything down - The best ideas will generally come to you when you're not thinking of them; they'll come while you're helping a customer on the floor or training one of your staff. As soon as you get an idea, write it down somewhere where you can turn to it later.
- Create a calendar - Running a pet store, much less marketing it, takes a lot of work, so staying organized is crucial to being successful. When you get some time, sit down and create a schedule for when you want this content to go out. Use the list of ideas you came up with from before. Remember: it doesn't need to be every day - you can post things only once a week or even every other week, as long as you're consistent.
- Consider your medium - Think about whether you'd like to do a blog, video series, podcast, or just post straight on social media. When you're deciding on your medium, keep in mind: your customer's preferences, your available resources, and the fact that you don't need to do all of them.
You can build this plan into your business' marketing plan, or you can keep it separate altogether. Additionally, although the timeline is largely up to you, a good way to start out may be to create a quarterly plan and update it regularly as you notice new trends and insights start to appear.
Create the Content
Once you've got your plan put in place, the next step is to create the content. It's time now to sit down and write out the actual content that you want to share with your customers. It's important to relate this content to realistic and timely situations.
For example, if they're are getting new puppies, consider writing articles about how to find the right puppy food, or training guides featuring local dog trainers in your area.
If this sounds like a lot of work, remember that it doesn't have to be. Creating a short article, especially if you already know the content, may take anywhere between 1-3 hours per article.
We know managing a store is plenty of work on it's own, so to avoid overwhelm, consider delegating the task one of these ways:
- Have your employees take turns writing with you editing before it's published
- Outsource to a freelancer who can do the work for you
- Request content from your manufacturers - many of which have their own in-house marketing team/person who may be willing to help out
Remember that you don't need to post every day in order to be successful. Even once a month, especially starting out, will help boost your position as a thought leader with your customers. The key is to be consistent no matter what your ideal time frame is.
Share it Successfully
Once you've got your content planned and written out, it's time to share it to the world. Once you've hit publish, copy that link and follow any number of these steps:
- Share it with your fans on social media
- Encourage your employees to share it on their own profiles to their friends and family
- Print out the article and give it to customers as a hand-out in store
- Tell customers to read more about it when they ask you questions pertaining to it in store
Sharing engaging and educational content is one of the best ways to position your store as a thought leader and central hub for all things "pet." It will ensure customers think of you first whenever they have questions and turn to you for guidance.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ashley Hoffman is a freelance content marketer in the pet and design industries. Growing up in the pet industry, she has keen insight on market trends and a passion for helping small businesses grow. Her portfolio includes various topics from pet food trends to using technology and marketing strategies to boost pet business sales. When she's not writing articles or working her day job, she's playing with her two cats (Kitty and Chewbacca), reading a book, or hiking one of Washington's many trails.
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