Picture this: your doggy daycare has just opened its doors for the day. The sun is shining, your facility is gleaming, and your smiling staff members are experts in dog socialization. Your contactless operations are up and running to enable seamless payment and fast check-in and check-out. Everything sounds perfect, right?
But without a steady stream of pet owners walking through your doors, your doggy daycare is doomed. That’s why solid customer acquisition strategies must be a central part of your doggy daycare business plan. After all, the most spacious yard or most powerful dog business software won’t matter if there are no clients to enjoy them.
Acquiring new clients is challenging, but we’re here to help. Based on our experiences working with pet businesses across the country, we’ve compiled a list of tried-and-true strategies for bringing in new doggy daycare customers:
- Commit to creating a positive experience for current customers
- Start a referral program
- Optimize your doggy daycare’s website
- Invest in your local reputation
- Elevate your digital marketing
Whether you’re getting ready to launch your business or just want to diversify your current marketing efforts, finding creative ways to attract customers will help you stay profitable. Each of these strategies will help you find new clients faster than you can say “fetch.”
1. Commit to Create a Positive Experience For Current Customers
This isn’t technically a way to acquire new customers but trusts us. Even a constant flow of new daycare bookings can’t transform into loyal customers without a few key considerations.
The customer experience is the foundation of your doggy daycare’s brand. As it is said that, “Branding your doggy daycare or kennel effectively is how you show owners that you’re the right fit for their four-legged friend.” Your clients—old and new—must be able to trust you and your staff.
Before turning your attention to new customers, double down on your ongoing efforts to provide a positive experience for those that are already loyal to your business. As we’ll explore further, these existing customers are some of your doggy daycare’s most useful assets in building your reputation and attracting new bookings.
While this list is not exhaustive, you might consider the following questions for evaluating your customer experience:
- Can you easily get in touch with customers via their preferred communication method?
- Is it easy and convenient for customers to manage and keep track of appointments online?
- Can you provide safe, contactless operations to keep customers (and your team) safe?
- Can customers access information about their pets’ activities and well-being while at your facility?
If you’ve answered “no” to one or more of these questions, it might be time to elevate your customer experience. Implementing modern doggy daycare software can facilitate these changes and boost convenience for your clients. As a bonus, this positive experience will also set you up well for the next tip on this list.
2. Start A Referral Program
Loyal customers are your secret weapons for attracting new pet owners to your doggy daycare. While natural word-of-mouth can spread awareness of your business, customers will make recommendations more frequently if given an incentive.
A referral program is a perfect way to reward your existing customers while also bringing in new ones. Simply offer discounts, free services, or package add-ons to any pet owner who successfully refers a new customer. Just don’t forget to advertise the program so that your customers know about it!
If given the opportunity (and some extra motivation), satisfied customers will be happy to share your business with fellow animal lovers.
These recommendations are also an incredibly effective marketing strategy. Generally, people trust the opinions of family and friends when buying a new product or considering a new service more than they would trust paid advertising. When referred by a friend, a potential buyer is 4 times more likely to make a purchase!
3. Improve Your Doggy Daycare’s Website
When a potential new customer first learns about your doggy daycare, the first place they will turn for information is your website. A good first impression here can make the difference between a prospective customer and your next booking!
Your website should be attractive and fully functional, meeting the needs of both you and your customer. Make sure all the key information is up-to-date and easy to find. If your website is confusing, difficult to navigate, or looks like it hasn’t been updated since the early 2000s, pet owners will be likely to abandon it. That said, make sure your doggy daycare website:
- Has a mobile-friendly design: More than half of global web traffic comes from smartphones, and this includes your potential customers! Your website should have a mobile-responsive design that looks good and works properly on a variety of devices. Be sure to consider elements like layout, text size, image size, and navigation. If you’re using a modern CMS or website template, this has probably been set up for you already, but it’s always a good idea to double-check!
- Captures leads: If you have a contact form or newsletter sign-up form, your website is generating inbound leads. Make sure you have a system in place to track each prospect, make sales notes, and convert to a customer when you close the sale.
- Facilitates bookings: Potential customers should be able to purchase daycare packages and subscriptions online. Once a reservation is made, they should also be able to view and cancel existing bookings.
These features will help ensure your website drives customers towards your business rather than away from it. Additionally, improving your website will also boost convenience for your current customers, creating benefits for all.
4. Invest In Your Local Reputation
Building a strong public perception of your doggy daycare will help you attract more customers. If your business is seen as a strong pillar of the community, owners will be more inclined to trust your team with their beloved pets.
If you provide a solid customer service experience, your reputation should steadily improve on its own. However, there are a few specific strategies to implement that can help jump-start this process.
You should work to strengthen your local presence both in-person and online:
- In-person: Putting down roots in your local community can help to build awareness and trust in your brand. Consider investing in corporate philanthropy initiatives to show your support for local schools and nonprofits. You can even form connections and show goodwill for other businesses in your community. For instance, your doggy daycare could form a partnership with local dog trainers or groomers and agree to send each other customers. Just remember—this kind of relationship only works if it goes both ways.
- Online: Make sure your digital presence is putting its best foot forward and is easy to find. While you’ve already addressed your website, your online reputation also exists in spaces outside of your direct control. Try to encourage current customers to leave positive reviews on sites like Google Maps and Yelp. You’ll also want to optimize for local SEO so that when customers search for pet services in your area, they’ll find your business quickly. It’s far more important to rank for area-specific terms like “Atlanta doggy daycare” than a more general keyword.
When your business has a widely recognized reputation, more pet owners will be able to discover your facility.
5. Elevate Your Digital Marketing
The tips we’ve discussed so far should all exist alongside a healthy digital marketing strategy. You likely already have some combination of social media and email marketing already in place. But in order to best maximize your investment in these platforms, you should implement modern best practices and make use of time-saving features.
First, make sure you’re basing your marketing strategy on actual audience data. According to AccuData’s guide to data marketing, a campaign that is driven by data can have an ROI that is up to 5 times higher.
To use this to your advantage, form your social media content calendar and email campaigns around what you know to be true about your target market. Consider how messaging, timing, and call to action impact engagement metrics and conversion rates. Then, use this information to drive future outreach.
To further improve your marketing and communications, consider the following ideas:
- Strengthen your social media presence: Make sure your business has profiles on major social media networks and post regularly to stay relevant in customers’ feeds. While considering paid social media advertising, be sure to target your audience based on the appropriate demographics and interests.
- Personalize emails: If you have customer data available, incorporate that information into your email marketing. Emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. You can also go beyond just including the recipient’s name and make use of information like the pet’s breed or name.
- Utilize marketing automation tools: Reduce your marketing workload by using email automation features to trigger the right message at the right time. You also may want to segment your audience into different groups based on key characteristics, like whether they’re a dog or cat person.
Check to see if your doggy daycare software has marketing features built-in to make these strategies even more effective. With the right tools and processes in place, you’ll be able to better engage your audience and bring in more potential customers to your doggy daycare.
As a doggy daycare provider, you know that taking care of animals is just a small piece of the puzzle. In order to have a successful business, you need to have a strong customer service experience and solid strategies for attracting and retaining clients. Hope this list has given you some ideas to bring even more furry friends to your daycare.