When it comes to promoting your business pet professionals face the same challenges as many other small businesses. This is especially true when it comes to the marketing and promotion side of the business – often because you must accomplish your goals with a limited budget.
Once you’ve tapped your network of family and friends, you’ll need to expand your reach into more competitive channels. The good news is that with a little creativity, there are many different ways to reach your audience through these channels with little or no costs involved.
Last week we talked about the importance of a customer profile and really getting to know your customers in more detail. Once you are have a clear idea of who your customers are and the activities they participate in (both with and without their pets) you’ll be in a much better position to spend your promotional time and money more effectively.
One of the best – and most inexpensive – ways to promote your business using your customer profile is to identify other pet-related services they might need, but that your business does not offer. For instance, if you’re a groomer you might identify a veterinarian’s office as a place that offers a pet-related service that your business doesn’t.
Once you’ve identified other businesses like this, you can approach them with the proposition of cross promoting. With cross promoting, you can explore ways in which you might be able to advertise your product/service in their businesses in exchange for doing the same for them in your business.
After you’ve identified and reached out to other non-competing pet businesses, you can expand your search to include businesses that don’t operate directly within the pet industry. For example, you might look to explore opportunities with the local sporting goods stores or farm supply outlets or even hotels (if your business caters to pet-owners who travel, a hotel might be a great place to reach other travelers who also own pets).
The point is that your customer profile will be a tool that can guide you towards cross-promotional opportunities that are more likely to be worth your time and money. This way, you’re not simply shooting into the dark and possibly advertising to the wrong audience. The trick is to use your customer profile to come up with place to start – then let your creativity and imagination guide you the rest of the way.
Next week we’ll explore a few ideas for cross promoting your business.
How about you? What types of cross-promotional activities are you involved in?