Your Dog Grooming Salon Business
Whether you’ve been running your own salon for a decade or you’ve only recently set up on your own, you may be thinking about how to grow your business and generate new revenue. While it’s important to build on your current customer base, we think it’s crucial to spend time and resources on placing your business in front of new audiences to help attract new customers, new business, and ultimately more revenue.
Below are a number of steps you can take to ensure business growth, improve customer loyalty, and increase your customer base.
Social Media Running social media accounts for a business can involve an army of talented people (we know, we’ve got one!) but as important as it is to be present on social media, the best thing you can do is select which platform suits you best and focus on that. Which ones work for you, will depend on your customers and how you wish to communicate. You can use these platforms to create content around why you select certain products for your salon, showing your customers how dedicated you are to offering exceptional service; share your before and after images; share any good news stories; share tips for at-home maintenance, and to get customer reviews.
Respond to reviews - That means both good and bad. It’s easy to reply to the positive comments and the happy dog mums and dads, but a negative review, while more challenging to respond to, gives you the chance to show off how you resolve conflict and if you respond with care, it can show how much you value your customers but people and pets. Potential clients who come across your business will be impressed to see you taking the time to respond and it will improve your credibility.
Play to your strengths - If you’re not only a groomer but also confident on camera combine those skills to create valuable content for your customers and others to be shared on your social media accounts. We have seen lots of our customers sharing lockdown grooming tips and product recommendations with their customers and this really gives them added value in being part of your business family.
Digital Marketing Executive Nadine shares her advice for those starting out on Facebook.
"Every small business should be on Facebook, it is the perfect way to promote your business and gain customer support, as well as bringing in new business.
First things first, setting up a Facebook Page.
A Facebook Profile is for personal needs, and a Facebook Page is for businesses to represent their brand on social media. To create a Page, log in to your Profile and on the top right corner click “+” beside your name. From the drop-down, select “Page”, and follow the instructions to create your page. You can find more information on setting up your Facebook Business Page here.
What content should you put on your page?
Once you have created your page, you should start adding some content!
Some of this you may have filled in when setting up your page, but if not, you should start with the below:
Contact information is essential when it comes to social media (contact number, email address, business address and business opening hours). Ensure this is always up to date.
You also want to give people an overview of your business in your “about” section (this is within your company overview). You do not need to make this super long, keep it short and concise. Just make sure there is a clear message about what your business does, and any specific grooming packages you offer, for example: bath and blow-dry, full groom, hygiene essentials etc. If you sell products in-store, you might want to mention that here as well.
Responding to messages is important when it comes to Facebook. You might have a set time you do this every day, or you may check this throughout the day. Either way, a great tip is to have automatic responses set up. This allows your customers to know you have received their message and you will get back to them. For example, “Hi! Thank you for your message. We will get back to you soon. If your enquiry is urgent, please call us on NUMBER”. You can find out more about setting up automatic replies here.
Now it’s time to post! Being a dog groomer, you have so many opportunities to get photos! A great example of photos that work well are before and after photos. Take a quick snap of the dog before you start grooming, and one once they are all prim and proper! This is sure to catch the attention of your Facebook audience, as well as show potential customers your skills.
Another thing you should post on Facebook is appointment availability. This is a great way to fill up any last-minute appointments/cancellations if you don’t have a list. "
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR NETWORKS AND LOOK OUT FOR OPPORTUNITIES
Get to know your prospects and customers. Understanding what the customer needs will allow you to better match services. Carrying out marketing research with your current clients is a great way to start, but you could also use social media to reach a wider audience. Getting to know your clients is important in building a relationship with them which in turn will create loyalty, and it’s a great idea to reward those customers who support your business.
Reward loyalty – Repeat business is fantastic and it’s great to build up a client base who return to you every 6-8 weeks for grooming. These people will be fantastic ambassadors for your work so make sure you are encouraging them to review your business online which will help attract new customers. You could regularly run competitions for customers to share reviews or pictures of their dog before and after grooming. Or offer owners the option to unlock a reward after a certain number of appointments. Rewards could vary and be anything from a free groom or discount on a service, a grooming product to use at home or even branded merchandise such as pens, keyrings or poop bag holders - these will all act as promotion for your brand when the customer is out and about). You could offer loyal customers preferential booking or offer discounted services for block booking appointments. You could also offer a referral scheme.
Consider a Referral Programme – Value of relationships is important and if your business is recommended to someone by a current client there is an implied trust meaning prospective customers are more likely to jump on board. As important as your online reviews are, personal recommendations are often more credible. You could run this referral programme with customers offering them a reward if they refer a new customer such as free nail trim or ear wash, free product or discount on their next groom. It’s worth considering how many referrals a customer needs to send to your salon in order to benefit from a reward or whether you want to reward them in a small way for every customer.
You could also look at creating a referral programme with a local business offering complementary services or products.
Look for partnerships with other businesses. Looking at where you could benefit from cross-promotion is a great way to reach a whole new market. Maybe you want to work with a local animal sanctuary offering discounted 1st grooms when dogs are adopted, or maybe you want to work with a local pet store directing your customers there for all pet needs, and the pet store, in turn, can promote your business to customers. Other businesses offering complementary services could be as dog walkers, dog sitters, and kennels, vets and training schools. These could offer a great chance to reach potential new audience - keep your eyes peeled for opportunities.
If you are passionate about animal welfare there may also be the opportunity to be involved with local charity events that will be attended by a number of potential new clients. If there are local dog fun days or sponsored walks, you could offer a raffle prize, get in touch and ask to share flyers for your business with a discount on their 1st groom.
Supporting causes that are important to you and your customers shows your company values and can influence a person’s decision about where to bring their dog to be groomed. Make sure this is shared on your social media too, in this digital world if it isn’t shared – did it happen?
Consider some more traditional marketing with these partners too, have a stack of business cards or flyers in their premises, or ask if you could put a poster up to promote your business or a new service. Make sure this clearly shares information on how to reach you and links to your website or social media pages.
DEVELOP YOUR BUSINESS
Introducing new services or products – Introducing new services gives you something to talk about on social media and maybe even in local press. Whatever you are considering, use your current client base for market research. Ask them for their feedback, get an idea of what they would be willing to pay, and ask for any other services or products they would love to see you offer.
You could consider adding a quick wash bar, with a limited number of on-the-day appointments for bathing and drying only, maybe you want to introduce cat grooming, or create a retail area stocking products for grooming, dog treats, collars and harnesses.
If you show a certain breed of dog, or consider yourself an expert in a breed or coat type, you can use this to reach new customers. Look for local breed associations or clubs and promote your services there.
Don’t compete on price but compete by offering a stand-out service, and the best experience is a great range of services. Offering great customer service, along with excellent grooming is what will create repeat business. Loyal customers become fantastic brand ambassadors and will share your business with their friends and family and in turn generate new business
Offering great customer service when a new customer contacts you is also a great way of securing them as a customer. Respond promptly to messages on social media and emails, be polite and helpful on the phone or when new customers visit your business.
Keep good notes on all your clients – It’s easy with a small business to get to know your customers, but as your business grows it’s important to keep building relationships, make a note of any information you get about client or their dog so that you can use that to help with conversation. This can include information on the dog’s personality such as any things the dog doesn’t like, and any conversation points with pet owners.
Consider seasonal treatments – Your repeat customers visit you for the same service every 6-8 weeks, but why not entice them to visit in between their regular appointments for season-specific treatments, such as paw care in the winter, flea and tick treatments in the summer, creative grooming could be of interest to some customers or short detangle and tease. Consider introducing Ruff-fresh appointments - short appointments before special occasions to wash and freshen up a dog’s coat - this wouldn’t include a full groom, but might include bathing, tidy up of stray hairs, trimming of nails, and a spritz of cologne.,
TRACK WHAT WORKS
Keep track of the activity you do and the effect that it has. Have you seen an increase in followers on social media after some advertising and sponsored content? Have you received a number of inquiries after displaying a poster in the local vet surgery, or have you seen an influx of new customers after launching your referral scheme? In order to get an idea of what is working ask any new customers how they heard about you, this means you can devote time to those activities that are making a real difference. You may be surprised at what works best, but you won’t know unless you track it.