By Sameer Gudhate*

There are 19.5 million pet dogs in India as per a report tabulated in 2018.  The pet dog population is expected to rise to 31 million by end of the year 2023.  Pet ownership traits have increased tremendously even in these times of pandemic.  The pet boarding and grooming industry is also all set to take a major chunk out of the pet market as more people who own dogs or cats look for facilities that can care for their beloved pet while they are away. In India, the number of dog kennel businesses keeps increasing by the day as more people seek comfort and companion of pets, especially dogs.  This industry is also proving to be a major employment opportunity for people in India.

It’s a known fact for all businesses that marketing plays an essential role in growing  the  business. The same is applied to the Dog Boarding Business too. Very frankly,  marketing  is  a costly affair, and it’s time consuming too. The fact is that my clients are spending more and more money on client acquisition – some of which say that the cost has gone as high as 45% in comparison to last 3–4 years.

And then many of the inquiries that I get are on how to market a dog boarding business on a tight budget. As a marketing consultant, I can say it is quite possible. But things have to be done in a planned manner. It will deliver an affirmative impact on the business and it’s  cost-effective too. Here I have come up with a few of the Best Dog Boarding Business marketing ideas that any business can work on its own and gain customers and growth.

Get A Website And Promote It          

One of the best things that can be done at the very first instance is to have a website. A website is something that is owned by the business and not any third-party app. It certainly is a long-lasting investment. A website is the very first thing to build if you  want to promote  the business digitally. It’s like an online gateway for the business. All of the contact information, FAQs, pricing, and more will always remain. Unfortunately, some of the pet biz owners still say why to invest in a website when social media, referrals, and  networking are available absolutely free. 

Get Booking Software       

With a lot of dog related apps in the market, there are many opportunities for dog boarding businesses. Building an own app is the best way to get bookings from customers.  The app  will automate appointment bookings, keep all accounts, and build up a marketing database for future use. If building own app is an issue, apps like PetBaker will help  showcase  the  services and generate revenue. Apart from the above app, there are many available on  Android and iPhone market place.

Start Building An Email List      

Many pet businesses are yet to realize the value of an email list. A simple monthly newsletter to customers on a regular basis helps brand loyalty,  more sales,  more  engagement, and higher spending per customer. An email is the best of a personal and direct ways to reach out to customers, be it current or future. This email list is of the business, and no social media app can take it away as it does generally. Mailchimp is a free email sending website/app available and is really a great way to stay in touch.

Use Of Social Media Accounts     

Social media is all about consistency. If great content is shared frequently on a consistent basis, change can be seen in some days. What happens is that gradually the number  of  followers grows and more and more people will be aware of the brand. As more they  know  about the business, more likely they are to be the customers. Try entertaining posts, educational posts, informative, and promotional posts regarding pet parenting, pet care etc. There is a lot to share, and everything should have a purpose.

Facebook Advertising

Believe me, Facebook advertising works really well for small pet businesses. If done with a  strategy in mind, it’s light on pocket and has a very great ROI. The most important aspect  of facebook advertising is that the business can pick and choose demographics of the people they want to see their ads. It’s like telling Facebook who your Target Audiences are, and then those ads will be shown only to the people chosen.

Start Blogging

Blogging is personally my way to go to the market. Every pet business should have  a  blog  section on their website. Writing blog content is a great way to showcase that the business  is a subject expert. A great blogging idea is to answer the most commonly asked questions, which are faced generally by the customers. Animal First Aid, ER, Food requirements are some other topics to consider to show potential customers the qualification of the business to take care of their pets.

Special Activities For The Pets

Celebrating pet birthdays, creating photo opportunities, hosting animal themed parties,  pet fashion shows are some of the special activities, which a business can hold for its  customers. Indian Pet Parents these days spend a huge amount of money on their pets.  They actually need activities to make sure they are connected to their pets and it helps the business as Pet Parents actually adore these special things. These special activities actually help the business to a large extent to convert an inquiry into a customer.          

Reward Existing And Loyal Customers

It is a well-known fact that most of the revenue generated is because of the old and returning customers. And the most important thing is that there is no need to  spend to  acquire them. Rewarding these loyal and returning customers helps to maintain a linear customer relation. Gifts, rewards, loyalty points are some ways that a business can show  appreciation to returning and loyal customers.

Share Stories

Storytelling is anytime the best way to market. It’s a well-researched fact that  customers  easily get connected to the business via different stories. And the most important  thing  is  that a story stands out in these days of ads popping out every now and then, every here and there. Some engaging story ideas are about the reason to be in business, the staff and their specialities, customer feedbacks, behind the scenes, etc. Showing your daily routine is another fantastic idea. Showcasing pets playing and having a happy time being away from their parents are sure to have engagement.

Marketing on various fronts is like going through trials and errors. Not all ideas mentioned above would work for a dog boarding business. It’s only after those ups and downs  the  business can conclude what works best for them. In marketing, consistency  and  visibility  are key factors.

With all these ideas, now any dog boarding business can go to market with them and see their customers on a rise soon and in turn growth in the revenue.

* Sameer is the only Marketing Consultant in India who helps Pet Businesses to reach out to more and more people for business growth. He also runs Petopedia, the World’s First WhatsApp Daily Pet Magazine for sharing pet related information to Pet Parents. He can be reached out on 9820270247 or samgudhate@gmail.com.

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