How to Tell If Your Marketing Is Working
By Laura Laaman
In 2019, the pet care industry is more competitive than ever. In every region, fierce rivals with deep pockets are trying to lure away your potential customers and profits. This makes it more difficult and expensive to draw in pet parents (and retain your existing customers).
The ever–changing, competitive landscape means a winning (but dated) marketing strategy from even a few years ago is unlikely to help you stand out today. Most business owners hope or assume they’re doing well in marketing—but do you know for sure? Here are some tips on how to make sure your marketing is as strong as possible.
Start Out with Clear Goals
The first step is to clarify what successful marketing looks like for your business. Having well–defined, quantifiable goals allows you to visualize your path to success, making it easier for you to climb above the fierce competition. Realistic, attainable goals help generate ambition for your team. Think of goals as your company’s charting device—they let you know where you’re going and how you’re doing along the way.
The power of realizing and obtaining your goals is in direct proportion with your visualization of your goals. So if they’re not well–defined, they won’t lead you to success. There’s a big difference between “wouldn’t it be great if…” and a real goal. To be a true goal, it needs to be:
- Written down
- Quantified (have a measured amount and time)
- A challenge
As you work towards your goals, you may find you need to adjust course now and then. That’s why having a clear, visual image of your efforts is crucial to developing the best marketing approach. If your path to success is marked by realistic goal points, you’ll soon establish the momentum to propel yourself ahead of the rest.
Good documentation is your friend—the numbers don’t lie. Keeping good, consistent records is a crucial practice for any successful business, and it’s equally important to your marketing. How many new pet parents are you reaching? What services are your customers using most? Where are prospective customers first finding you? The most successful businesses check their numbers at regular intervals, allowing them to compare to previous periods and examine any trends. You can learn a lot about the effectiveness of your marketing efforts by looking at the quantified details. Wise business owners take the time to determine the most important values for their business.
While this might not look the same for any two companies, here are a few of the most important items for a pet care business to stay on top of:
- Amount of incoming leads. How many new pet parents contact you each week, month or year? As you may recall from one of our previous articles, even the strongest pet care facility loses about 30% of their existing clients every year due to reasons outside their control (families move, pets age out or pass away, etc.). A steady stream of new clients is critical to the health of your business—so it’s important to pay close attention to your incoming leads.
- Lead conversion. If you have a healthy flow of pet parent prospects, the critical question is, how many are actually booking your services? What services are they purchasing? Are you selling activities or add-ons? What percentage of new client bookings include grooming or bathing in their reservations? These numbers paint a clear picture of which elements of your business are working and which ones aren’t. With this knowledge you can attack your weak points head-on and with confidence.
- Sources of leads. Where are pet parent prospects hearing about you? Are they being referred? Maybe they saw your marketing materials at the vet’s office, or did they find your website on a search engine (and which one)? Collecting this information highlights the strongest areas of your marketing as well as opportunities for improvement. Email surveys, outbound calls and call tracking are some of the tools business owners use.
Do you know how much time the average visitor spends on your web page before clicking away? According to a 2018 study published by Time Magazine, most stay less than 15 seconds. This means your website needs to be sophisticated and compelling enough to grab the pet parent’s interest upon first glance.
Your website can and should be a powerful generator of prospective clients—if calibrated correctly. How many unique web visitors are you getting? Which pages are they clicking? How long do they stay on your site? What search terms are your visitors using? Thousands of web apps and programs exist for the sole purpose of tracking your website’s performance.
Do you want to track your site’s search traffic? Page speed? Bounce rate? Your website host might provide some of these metrics in–house. Others you can download for free or purchase. No matter the tools you use, this information can help make your website as effective as possible.
Before you start measuring though, it’s important to have a strong website in place. Your website is the digital link between you and oodles of pet parent prospects. Here are few tips for making your website perform at its best:
- Make sure it’s clean and professional. If your website is messy and incoherent, so is the image of your company. Simple yet compelling messaging goes a long way in convincing pet parents to trust their pet to your care. Most pet parents are looking for the same level of professionalism and quality they expect from a human daycare.
- Show high–resolution, dynamic photos. The visual platform of a website is the perfect way to showcase the experience at your facility. Display high-quality photos of dogs having fun together, enjoying your playground or swimming pool, and bonding with staff. Don’t forget to show off your beautiful facility with all its fun features.
- Remind web visitors you provide an enriching experience. Many pet parents prefer knowing their pet will be exercised, mentally stimulated and having fun while in your care. The naturally interactive and social environment at your facility is something customers can’t get with the popular pet sitting apps, and you can leverage this to your advantage.
- Include compelling calls to action. Eye–catching, carefully selected calls to action are instrumental in an effective website strategy. Simply providing your company’s contact information isn’t enough. Special offers can be used to catch a prospective customer’s attention and give you a jump on your competition.
- Be sure it’s a mobile–friendly design. According to a 2018 report by Quartz, over 70% of web traffic comes from mobile device users. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile, it’s likely clumsy and difficult for a massive portion of your visitors to navigate.
Adaptability is a Strength
As the numbers come in, they help paint a detailed picture of your marketing trajectory. Your company’s inherent strengths become highlighted and potential weak points are exposed—critical information for developing the best possible marketing. Knowledge is power, after all. Being able to change course on the fly gives you an edge over less prepared rivals—and every advantage matters in this competitive environment.
Laura Laaman is president of Outstanding Pet Care. Outstanding Pet Care guarantees to substantially increase the revenues of clients with its proven services. If you’re interested in growing your revenues, schedule an individual consultation with Laura Laaman or one of her team members. Call Outstanding Pet Care at 1-888-735-5667 or go to www.OutstandingPetCare.com.