Since there is an overabundance of pets these days, pet store owners must work extra hard to differentiate their pets and products from the competition. This is especially important given that as of 2021, 70% of US households own at least one pet. Pets got even more popular since people were looking for companionship when COVID-19 hit and social distancing measures were put in place. At the moment, many individuals no longer distinguish between human and animal family members. Pet owners make an effort to provide ideal living circumstances for their pets and place a high value on their animals’ health and well-being. If you’re a pet store owner, you can win these people over as clients, as long as you use the right strategy.

You must work on a good PR strategy as soon as you set up your pet store. There’s always another pet store offering similar things, so you need to find a way to draw people into your store. A good way to start is by designing advertisements that elicit an emotional response in the target audience. We all love to watch cute or funny videos of our furry friends. In fact, in 2020, people watched 40% more cat videos on YouTube. The number of pet videos and photos that are posted online has also gone up during the pandemic, as people working or learning from home find new ways to entertain their furrballs. If you’re advertising any pets, pet food or pet products for sale, then plugging into industry trends like this one would be a smart move. Nevertheless, since there is so much pet-related content online, it’s important to produce creative content that will attract clicks and generate engagement with your audience.

Examples of successful pet store public relations strategies 

Purina PetCare

You’ve probably seen images of Felix the cat online. The well-known animated cartoon cat was designed by the Purina pet food brand to help cat owners see the world through the eyes of their cats.

Purina placed a branded red button on top of a Purina-branded bus stop. They then designed a game where people would have to think like cats to get to this button and press it. Even though the button was too high for most customers to reach, those who did got free cartons of Purina cat chow to feed their kittens at home.

Home for Home

In conjunction with IKEA and DDB Singapore, the Home for Home brand created the narrative that a house is not a home unless there is a furry resident in it.

Home for Home then cooperated with many Singapore animal shelters to create cardboard cutouts of various canines that were subsequently displayed at two different IKEA shops to encourage pet adoption.

By scanning a QR code on the cardboard cutout, customers could learn more about the dog and adopt it right away.

Lost Dogs Home

Lost Dogs Home, an Australian shelter, wanted to raise public awareness and encourage adoptions in Melbourne.

Instead of just informing people about the benefits of keeping a dog, they set up an experiential and technical campaign combined with an informational campaign. Consumers who participated in the campaign could learn about dog adoption, meet some of them in an experience area, and play fetch with a motion-detecting, artificial intelligence-based Labrador retriever.

Three different animals were selected to represent the problems that the vast majority of pet owners face. The resulting advertisement featured a cat, a dog, and a rabbit relaxing on top of living room furniture.

Pet owners are familiar with the image of pet fur all over the place, chewed shows and destroyed furniture. However, Lost Dogs Home wanted to go one step further to show people who own dogs how to enhance their dogs’ lives and avoid destruction. As a result, most of these advertisements depicted irate pups that were left without a bone to gnaw on or play with after dinner.

Pet store marketing strategies that work

You don’t need to break the bank to come up with an imaginative and cost-effective marketing strategy for your pet store. It’s actually quite easy to create a great marketing plan with a bit of imagination and insight. Before establishing a marketing campaign, you need to comprehend and capitalize on the benefits that your pet business provides pet owners. Furthermore, you need to study the demographics of your target audience. Finally, you need to set up campaign goals long in advance. This way, you can evaluate the outcomes of your PR campaign down the road.

In order to be successful, your pet business needs a one-of-a-kind marketing strategy that differentiates you from the competition. Here are some marketing strategies that you can leverage to do PR for your pet business:

Start with positive customer service

It’s critical for any business to provide consistent, high-quality service to its clients. This is especially important with pet store clients who treat their pets like their babies. If a client has a negative experience while dealing with your salespeople or any representative of your brand, they won’t take it lightly. It doesn’t matter whether you overlooked their needs and recommended an expensive product or you sold them an expired product. Most pet owners take caring for their pets very seriously. For this reason, if it looks like you don’t care enough to help them do that, they will take their business elsewhere.

Showing that you care requires a timely response to emails and social media inquiries. You also need to respond to clients with polite comments and adopt a cheery demeanor while on the phone with both customers and suppliers. After all, the effectiveness of any marketing strategy is dependent on your everyday engagement with your consumers. This is particularly true in the pet industry, where word-of-mouth marketing is still flourishing.

Create a brand story

Owning a pet is a unique and personal journey. Most pet owners have an emotional attachment to their pets. For this reason, you can connect with them by plugging into the same emotion with a personal and emotional story of your own. Ultimately, clients will connect to your brand better if you have a brand story they can relate with. For example, maybe you started your pet business because you have a pet of your own and you got frustrated with the lack of variety in pet toys in your area. Highlighting this brand story will help you win the hearts of pet owners who have faced similar problems.

Engage in online marketing

Most pet businesses use the internet to sell their products, and with good reason. After all, it is an excellent marketing tool. You could actually start a pet blog to better address customer expectations and requirements. With a pet blog, you can not only educate your customers, but also establish a reputation as a thought leader.

Other business listing services, such as Google company pages may also help you understand consumer preferences and improve your pet store. With this Google service, you can get data and insight that helps you increase the exposure of your pet company.

There are many online marketing strategies that you can take advantage of. For example, you can build a mailing list and then send regular newsletters to keep your customers up to date on your goods or services as well as special deals or events. You can also use social media to stay up to speed on trends in the industry. Once you know what is trending, then you’ll have a better understanding of how to speak to your target audience.

Lead with a difference

Owning a small pet business has several advantages over running an extensive network of pet stores. With a small pet store, you can stock an extensive range of one-of-a-kind items. Find out what pet owners want but can’t find elsewhere and see if you can source these products. If your pet business is known for providing pet food, pet supplies or pets that are not available elsewhere, then you’ll get a significant competitive edge.

You can also establish yourself as an authority in the field by outlining the advantages of the items you stock or demonstrating to your clients why they should buy these products for their pets. You can stock rare pet supplies and equipment that pet owners need and create informative content that helps pet owners to deal with common pet issues.  If pet owners can trust you to educate them and help them get what they need, then they will happily spend their money at your store.

Build a network

Running a successful pet store goes beyond simply acquiring and selling products to customers; it also requires you to develop mutually beneficial connections with other individuals and companies in the industry. As a pet store owner, you can benefit from connecting with industry organizations such as the Pet Industry Distributors Association or the Independent Pet Retailers Association. Attending business events can also help you meet suppliers and other potential partners for your business. For example, you could find pet trainers and pet sitters at such events. Adding pet specialists like these to your workforce could help you offer your clients even more unique and customized services. Networking events could also be a valuable opportunity to connect with potential clients and market your brand.

Be consistent

No matter how good your marketing plan is, it might take time to generate higher sales. This isn’t surprising given the fact that asking a pet owner to trust you is a big deal. It takes time to earn this trust, and you must be persistent with your promotional strategy if you want it to succeed.

If you commit to sending a newsletter out to your clients, you must be ready to do so regularly, otherwise you risk losing their trust before you’ve even earned it. Regardless of whether this email newsletter is issued weekly or monthly, it must arrive on time so that you can continue satisfying client expectations.

Referral and loyalty programs

Word-of-mouth marketing can be a great help for you as a small pet business owner. In order to encourage customers who are satisfied with your service to recommend you to their friends and family, you can set up referral or loyalty programs. You can reward loyal customers with a gift or discount in exchange for spreading the word about your services.

Loyalty programs are an excellent way for pet retailers to retain clients. Making an added effort to reward loyal customers, whether via gifts, special discounts, or coupons, can help with their retention.

Website

With the advent of free internet website builders, it is now easier than ever to construct one’s own website. A professionally designed website could go a long way towards helping you establish credibility and gain trust among your target audience. Once you’ve designed an appealing and easy-to-navigate website, you can sell your products online, set up a blog and encourage your clients to sign up for your email newsletter. You can also reach out to pet owners to contribute some content for your website, whether it is reviews or blog posts about common issues that pet owners face. User-generated content like this is usually a winner for brands that want to earn trust and win potential clients over.

Digital marketing strategies for a pet store

As a pet store owner, you can profit from digital marketing since it is both practical and cost-efficient.

46% of people research products and services on their phones before they make a purchase, and 37% do this research on their computers. It’s important to extend your PR strategy to these platforms so that you can expand your reach. The most successful pet store owners have expanded their efforts to include digital marketing strategies.

Submit your company to appropriate business directories

Submitting your company to online business directories is a good way to boost your online visibility. Getting listed on these directories makes it easier for potential clients to find your business through organic searches containing keywords associated with your brand.

The majority of company listing websites now provide free membership, allowing you to make a submission without paying any fees. Listings in appropriate business directories will help you generate more awareness for your pet store. Google Business, Apple Maps, Google Maps, and Yelp are just a few of the most popular local business listing websites.

Content marketing

We’ve already talked about the importance of creating enjoyable and relatable content for pet owners. However, you can’t just do this when it’s convenient for you. You need a consistent and scheduled content marketing strategy. By releasing the right content at the right time, you can win clients over and boost your sales. This takes time and effort, so you might need to hire a team to create this content if you don’t have the time or energy.

If you’re considering outsourcing your content creation, you should consider working with a PR agency like Pressfarm. Since Pressfarm comes armed with PR specialists, expert writers and certified designers, you can be sure you’ll get quality content that will help your pet store to stand out. With a professional press release, some interesting guest posts and an appealing media kit, you can capture media attention and earn trust from your target audience.

Beyond creating this content, Pressfarm can distribute it widely and put it in front of the right eyes. By submitting your content to the right media outlets, startup directories and professional networks, Pressfarm can improve your online presence across search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing!

With custom media lists built personally by Pressfarm’s account executive, you can connect with the best journalists in your niche. Finally, as a client, you get year-long access to Pressfarm’s media database of 1 million+ journalists, bloggers and influencers. With these media contacts, you can do extended media outreach for your pet business long after Pressfarm has wrapped up your campaign.

Social media outreach

You can engage with both current and potential clients on social media if you develop an active presence and participate in the conversations they’re having. While Instagram can be particularly useful for sharing adorable pet photos and videos, you can also use Facebook and Twitter for your social media outreach. Make sure you learn how to use TikTok as well, since it’s become a popular platform for sharing all kinds of videos, including pet videos. Engaging with your target audience on social media will help you to develop a more personalized relationship with these people. Moreover, chatting with your target audience in the informal setting of a social media platform can help you learn more about their needs.

Conclusion

While everyone loves cute animal videos, it takes more than a few cat videos to sell pet products. Ultimately, you need to do what it takes to convince pet owners that you’re there for their pets. With the right approach, you can win even the most hesitant dog mom over to your brand. By leveraging the strategies above, you can connect with your target audience, understand their needs and produce content that gains their trust. The best part is that once you win a pet owner over and you do what it takes to keep them happy, you will have a loyal client for the entire lifetime of their fur baby. After all, once a pet owner trusts you with their baby, they’re unlikely to take chances with a new pet store.