People love their pets and will make full use of a host of pet related services. To ensure your pet business becomes the owners’ first choice, use a professional brand development company to market your company successfully.
It has been estimated that nearly half of all Canadians own a pet and that there are over 70,000 licensed dogs in Toronto alone. That’s a lot of pets. And with many owners working full time and living in a condo, they worry about the welfare and health of their animals when left alone. That’s why there is a thriving pet industry which offers an extensive range of pet related services. For cats and dogs which would otherwise be cooped up in a condo all day, services on offer include daily walking and feeding the pets at the owner’s home. For people who have work or family commitments and have to leave town for a while, cat and dog boarding is on offer. Other pet orientated businesses include dog training, particularly useful for overly aggressive animals, veterinarian clinics for check-ups and medical care, the provision of organic food for healthy pets, and pet cremation, burial and memorial services.
So if you are planning to break in to the industry with your new pet service business, how best to go about it? Clearly you want to promote your business to as many pet owners as possible and to convince them that you provide the best professional and caring service possible so that their cats will be purring with pleasure and their dogs woofing contentedly. But with so many other companies offering related services, how can you make your products and services stand out from the crowd?
The simple solution is to ensure you have a strong, clear company brand which defines exactly what you offer. And whatever pet service or product you are offering, your brand needs to depict you as highly professional, knowledgeable and compassionate. Obviously this is a given for veterinarian clinics where customers need reassurance that their pets will have only the best medical treatment. But it applies equally to pet walkers, pet feeders and those who offer animal boarding services. Just because a pet walker isn’t expected to brandish a hypodermic needle or check the animal’s pulse, doesn’t mean that owners will risk giving their dog to an incompetent individual who lets their dog go AWOL. And owners may subconsciously equate a pet boarding service, which has shoddy marketing material with one that is bound to half starve their beloved animal and give it no care or attention. Pet owners are incredibly picky about whom they trust to look after their beloved animals because for many their pets are more like children than animals.
Let’s get back to your company brand. A brand is not just the company name; it is the way you promote your business to the outside world. A well defined brand will catch peoples’ eye, clearly define what you offer and most importantly give reassurance that you are a top quality organization. Pet owners are prepared to spend money on animal services but by golly you need to have a sharp, professional approach to everything you do to be successful.
It is therefore essential to give the right impression about your company in every single thing that a potential customer will see. This extends from your company name and logo to your printed flyers, website and even your Facebook page. You need to employ a brand development company to achieve this painlessly and professionally so you can concentrate on sorting out the operational details of your new venture. They will invest the required time to understand your business, your target market and your overall objectives. They will want to understand if you are offering upmarket VIP animal care or laidback and friendly mobile grooming for cats and dogs as this will be fundamental to the look and words used in your promotional material. They can help you prepare every element of your brand identity:
Company Name: Think creatively about a company name to reflect the services you are offering. Some catchy company names already in use include ‘K9’, ‘Canine Nanny’ and ‘A Dog’s Life’.
Logo and Tagline: A professional brand development company will use their stunning graphic design skills to create a logo to complement the business name, which will be memorable, unique and enduring. The tagline is a succinct phrase to support your logo and make clients want to learn more. These few short words need to relay the message that you deliver outstanding service, are kindhearted and love pets. Taglines are always tricky to get right but some great ones out there include ‘Where Pets are our Passion’ or ‘For your Best Friend’.
When your company name, logo and tagline have all been designed and finalized to perfection, you are fully armed to launch your marketing campaigns. These should cover both online marketing and traditional marketing. The brand development company will take charge to ensure that brand harmony is maintained throughout and that your key messages are evident in all areas of your customer facing materials.
Website: You need an amazing website to promote your pet business as the majority of people search the internet when looking for a pet sitter, vet, pet burial service etc. A professional brand development company will design your website featuring your logo prominently and create a layout to allow clients to easily browse through the services you provide. The key messages you need to convey through your website are that:
You also need to describe in full detail the specifics of the services you offer. If it is dog training, be clear if it is obedience training or whether there are more options such as dealing with aggressive or fearful dogs. Explain if the training is residential and what training the owner’s family will receive.
For animal boarding facilities, clarify how you keep pets happy and relaxed with activities and socialization. Some websites promote themselves as dog camps instilling the idea in the owner that their pet will be having their own great outdoors vacation with other likeminded dogs when you are out of town. Others have installed a live webcam feed in the kennels – a great idea so absent owners can see for themselves how their pet is adapting.
If you are trying to corner the market in healthy, organic food for pets, describe your products in detail and outline all of their benefits over traditional pet foods.
Specifically for pet cremation and memorial services, your website must be gentle, respectful, comforting and use a more formal tone as pet owners will feel the loss of their companion as strongly as the loss of a family member. Include information about local grief counselors which customers will find very helpful. Some pet cremation websites offer owners the chance to create an online memorial for their pet to help during the grieving process and as a lasting remembrance.
Other key items to include in your website are:
Testimonials – Ensure you have a section for satisfied clients to leave feedback so that new customers will be further reassured that you offer a superb, caring service.
Media – Include any press releases you issue so interested readers can check out your accolades. When your business gets media coverage make sure it shouts out loud and proud from your website.
Articles and Blogs – When you know what you are talking about don’t keep it to yourself. Share it with your website visitors. If someone is wondering whether to entrust their pet in your care, it is highly reassuring if they see you are an expert. So add some articles to your website. These can be ones you have written yourself or you can summarize great articles you read elsewhere – just give the original author credit. It’s only polite. And maintain a blog which is a more personalized account of your business, and of your thoughts and opinions on the world of pet care.
Prices – When clients are checking out several pet service websites, they want to be able to compare prices. Easily. So make sure your prices are effortless to find and fully comprehensive. Of course there may be some occasions when you need to give a personalized quote for an unusual request, but for your standard dog sitting, cat grooming or organic food delivery service you must advertise your price.
Contacts – Make it easy for customers to contact you. Your professional brand development company can prepare a custom ‘Contact Us’ page to not only allow customers to request more information, but to capture client details to add to your growing database. Make sure your phone number, email and address are all displayed prominently and it helps to include a link to Google Maps to show your exact location.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Once your website is ready, you need to drive more traffic to it. SEO is something best left to the professionals as it involves the use of key words relevant to your business placed throughout your website. Make certain the brand development company incorporates SEO into your website design. When your website is well optimized for the search engines, it will appear higher in the results rankings.
Pay-per-click: This is an online advertising option on Google and Facebook where you only pay if someone clicks on your advert. These types of marketing campaigns can be set up and managed by a good brand development company, who will monitor how effective the campaigns are and keep you within budget.
E-newsletters: These electronic newsletters should be used to share all your news and promote any special offers you have. They must be professionally designed, attention grabbing, interesting and make your readers want to learn more. The brand development company has the skills to create a stunning and effective e-newsletter on your behalf.
Social Media: Use the brand development company to help you set up your company pages on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the like, retaining your brand image throughout. Then just start posting information about your pet services, photos of happy animals, your articles and blogs – in fact anything that is going to get your business noticed. The more interesting your posts and Tweets, the more likely that people will share them with friends – and that is great exposure of your company.
Online business directories: Check out what online business directories exist for your pet business specialty in your neighborhood and request to be listed. This is another great way to direct more traffic to your website.
Business Card: Ensure you have a branded business card with your company name, logo, tagline and contact details, which you can hand out to potential clients, family and friends. This helps to spread information about your new company by word-of-mouth.
Flyers and Adverts: Printed items such as flyers can be very useful to reach your local target market. When they are professionally designed by skilled graphic design experts and printed on good quality paper, you have simple but effective marketing material to hand out in your neighbourhood. Also consider taking out adverts in local newspapers or magazines to get your business clearly on the map. Retain the overall professional brand look and key messages in your adverts.
As you can see there is a wide range of elements to consider when you are launching and marketing your new pet orientated business. It is essential to use the skills and expertise of a professional brand development company such as New Design Group which is based in Toronto. This company has over 10 years experience in brand development. The team comprised of website and communication experts and gifted graphic designers, and can create an effective brand for your pet business that delivers results. They have already worked with different pet orientated companies: they created a fabulous logo for the Toronto company ‘Pets Above’ which offers memorial services for pets.
If you work with the New Design Group team you can rest assured that your brand identity and marketing materials will be beautifully designed and highly effective in persuading would-be clients that you offer the very best service for their pet. Call New Design Group to discuss your needs at 647 271 7463 or complete the contact form on the website.