Growth Strategies To Increase Revenue
Boost Your Online Digital Presence
Why Your Digital Presence Can Increase Your Dog Grooming Profits
“I know I should be blogging, Facebooking, Instagramming, emailing, SEO, and doing boosted posts, Pay Per Click, and Reviews. But I’m overwhelmed and don’t know where to start!” If that sounds familiar, you’re not alone. The thought of trying to do all that makes me want to crawl under the covers too! Yet, I’ve received more than one panicked message like this over the years from small business owners. Yes, you do need a smart digital presence starting with a small business website. After all, your customers are online and it’s the first place they go when they want information.
Yet, it’s possible to create an online presence that works for your business without feeling overwhelming. The answer isn’t in doing all.the.things but in focusing on doing the things that make sense for your business. For your dog grooming salon to create a successful (and streamlined) digital presence, it starts with strategic thinking.
Jim Chappell of Scrubbers Dog Wash in Michigan says “You have to work on your brand. The goal is to create a brand that looks like a million bucks online.” With three locations and 18 groomers, he’s doing something right. We’ll dive into branding more in another post, but part of effective branding is having a strategic business approach.
How Successful Dog Grooming Salons Have a Great Online Presence
It’s easy to get caught up in the latest tactic du jour and sink hours into it with little to show.
For example, Periscope and Meerkat both emerged as livestreaming platforms several years ago. Some business owners sunk hours into developing their audience there yet when they folded a few months later, they had little to show.
At the time of this writing, TikTok is a current darling of teens and social media marketers who rush to the latest thing to stay current.
Yet, the #1 question to ask is always, “is my customer there?”
You don’t need to be first on a new communications trend. Rather, you want to focus on your customers.
“Always remember that everyone with whom you have a relationship has an invisible sign on their forehead that says ‘Make Me Feel Important.’ Treat them accordingly” – Eric Philip Cowell
As Jim Chappel says, “Branding is your first impression.” It underscores everything about your business.
When you have a strong brand, your customers see your business as professional and reliable. It goes beyond colors and logos but encompasses the way you interact with customers from A to Z. It’s underscored with intentionality and processes.
We’ll cover branding in more depth in a later post. But for now, let’s look at the components of a successful digital presence for your dog grooming salon. That way, you can attract your customers and make them feel so appreciated they’ll sing your praises to all their friends and family.
Let’s start with your social media marketing.
Have a Social Media Strategy
An eMarketer study says, “90.4% of Millenials use social media, 77.5% of Gen X’ers, and 48.2% of Baby Boomers.” That’s a lot of people and it’s only going to grow. Yet, a lot of small businesses take the “when we remember” approach to social media marketing rather than a consistent one. As in, when we remember, we post something.
A better way is to post daily. Plan some posts in advance and schedule them so you don’t forget but don’t be afraid to post “in the moment too.”
You can make this part of your customer service too such as having a “dog of the week” or showing off pet costumes at holidays.
Jim Chappell of Scrubbers Dog Wash says, “Create original content. Don’t use stock photos. Use your customers. Then you can tell a story about them. That’s so and so. It’s more human.”
When it comes to running Facebook ads, Chappell says, “Most people post something and press the “boost” button. But there’s a lot of nuance if you go into the Business Manager. You can really narrow down your target audience there.”
He also says reviews are essential.
Get Reviews & Promote Them On Your Small Business Website
You already know your reputation matters. You probably also know people turn to the web for recommendations. They’ll ask friends and family and they’ll look at your reviews. Reviews are considered “social proof” and you can’t have too many.
An Inc article reports as much as 84% of people trust online review and that number goes even higher for Millennials and Gen Y.
Jim Chappell says, “We have lots of reviews. Everyone who cashes out receives a text asking them to leave a review and they can leave a comment. Then, 123 Pet automatically sends them a link asking them to share on Facebook, Yelp, etc. I have an alert set up for anything below a 4 star. Then, I have the manager call the customer and do damage control. It gives you a chance to address the problem.”
Of course, there’s plenty of places for your customers to leave reviews, from “Google My Business” to Facebook, asking your customers to leave you good reviews is a good habit to get into.
Having a lot of good reviews also shows Google that you’re a reputable company.
Chappell says it’s important to make sure the listings are uniform too. “The more precise it is across the web, the more Google sees you as legitimate.” You can do this manually or outsource it to a service like Yext.
You can also use your email list to invite existing customers to leave reviews.
Grow (and Use) an Email List
How long have you used email? 20 years? Most of your life? No matter your response, Email is a tried and true way of reaching your customers.
Many dog grooming salon owners say they regularly send out emails to boost sales during slow times. For example, some grooming salon owners say they offer bath discounts to drum up business when it’s slow. Others offer senior discounts or multi-dog discounts.
In case you’re on the fence about email marketing consider this statistic via marketing company Hubspot and Sleeknote. “91% of shoppers want to hear from companies they do business with via email.”
You can also use email for automated online appointments, confirmations, and follow up. Chappall says, “Automated reminders eliminate human error and the staff can focus on grooming the dogs or helping the customers in front of them. It also reduces no shows and confusion and saves money.” As Chappell says, “Reducing no shows over the course of a month can be worth a couple hundred dollars to the groomer and the shop. Multiply that per groomer and per location, that could add up to $70,000 over the course of the year.”
He also adds that anytime they add a new retail item, they send an email campaign letting customers know. “We just added Carhartt vests for dogs and a private line of treats called Buddha’s bar.”
Of course, the hub of your online presence is your website.
Have a Well-Designed and Optimized Small Business Website
Did you know? “82 percent of smartphone shoppers conduct ‘near me’ searches.” (Search Engine Land, 2018)
Every business owner’s goal is to be at the top of search results so that you’re found by your potential customer.
Here are three components of a well-performing small business website:
- Easy to navigate – how easy is it for your customers to book an appointment, find out about your services, or even see your location?
- Mobile-friendly – When have you last looked up your website via your smartphone? Does it render correctly? Do the pictures resize correctly? Is it easy to find your contact information?
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Most salon owners are aware that SEO plays a big role in helping their business get found online. Yet, it can be confusing because Google says there are around 200 “signals” used in deciding whether your site shows up at the top or buried on page 23. These signals are the “secret sauce” that makes Google the number 1 search engine.
Any of the modern software platforms will automatically adjust your small business website to fit smartphones and tablets. So for most, you don’t have to worry about that. SEO also relates to how fast your site loads and if you’re using the right keywords.
Chappell says, “These days, generating real content including videos seems to have much more impact than keywords.”
If you’re like some dog groomers, it can be tempting to wonder if you can ditch your site altogether in favor of just a Facebook page. After all, it would be one less thing to manage.
However, that’s not a great idea for many reasons as you’ll see below.
Facebook Page or Small Business Website? Do Dog Groomers Need Both?
It’s tempting to think your grooming salon only needs a Facebook Page. After all, both require regular maintenance and for time-strapped business owners, reducing your marketing time is money saved.
This is especially true if you’re a new salon or your website is old and doesn’t get much traffic.
You might think the majority of your clients are on Facebook. You may have even set your Facebook page up with a handy messaging feature so people get an immediate response. Plus, you keep your content updated on the regular.
These are important, yet, your website is also important.
You don’t want to abandon your website, your “home base” online for Facebook because of a concept called “digital sharecropping.”
Essentially, you don’t own the space and anything can happen. Including having your Facebook page suddenly shut down without any warning.
Then there are the constant layout changes and the way Facebook “hides” a lot of your updates to your customers.
If you’ve been using Facebook for business for several years, you know exactly what I’m talking about. In 2018, Facebook decided to rejigger the system and as a result, thousands of pages stopped getting views. We’re talking whereas before your pages might easily reach your customers, the new algorithm meant only 1-2% of your “likes” were likely to see them. .
Anytime you rely on a 3rd party tool like Facebook for your business, you’re subject to its whims. With your own website, you own it. When you build your email list, you own it.
Perhaps most importantly, it comes down to looking like a reputable business. If you want to establish a strong brand, then it’s important to have your own website. Facebook and Instagram are great for attracting new business and targeting area dog owners, but your website is “home base.”
If you’re like a lot of dog grooming salon owners, you want to streamline your online presence. You want to save time and use it to grow your business. You also want your customers to feel confident that their pup is in great hands at your salon.
Inspiring that confidence starts with a professional looking online presence. You can do a quick “audit” of your web presence by assessing your website, social media presence, email and reviews.
Try to look at it through the lens of a potential customer. Does each element look cohesive? Do you have professional looking graphics and content across the board? Are they current and well-maintained or do they look haphazard?
What about your communications with your customers when it comes to reminders and follow ups? Do they flow naturally with your small business website/social media and all seem to go together?
Once you’ve assessed your current digital presence, you’ll know where your gaps are and you can make a plan to address them. For example, you might realize you need to make it easier for your customers to give you reviews via an automatic text follow up.
Here at 123Pet Software, we have tools that can make your online presence work easily with every aspect of customer communication. Find out here how we can help grow your dog grooming salon.
Author: Jennifer Phillips April
Jen is a confirmed marketing geek and animal lover. She started her online writing career with a dog treat website back in 2005 and grew it to 87,500 visitors a month by writing useful content. Now she writes for technology and pet clients around the globe. When not writing, she’s likely devouring a novel or dreaming of the beach.