If you don't know it yet, the pet care business has grown steadily over the past few years. Revenue in 2020 alone is worth over 55 billion, and the numbers are expected to be higher in 2021 and 2022.
So who's pushing the pet care wagon?
Well, the thing is. Pets are extremely popular with millennials—young professionals opting for a child-less lifestyle. Instead of taking care of a child, they would rather take care of a pet. This means they have more free time and more free income - money they can spend on their pets.
How much? For surgical veterinary visits, the yearly average rounds out at about $474 for dogs and $250 for cats. Owners also spend around $322 for kennel boarding for dogs ($164 for cats) and about $250 for dogs ($180 for cats) just for routine visits to the vet.
But millennials are not the only ones spending on their pets. A National Pet Owner's Survey showed that over 67% of American households have one or more pets. Most Americans see their pets as an integral part of their family.
So what does this all mean?
Well, this means pet care-focused businesses have a considerable opportunity laid before them. Pet owners want only the best for their beloved pets and are not hesitant to spend a pretty penny for:
- Organic food
- Good grooming
- Comfortable pet hotels
Another good news for businesses is that most pet owners don't have all the time in the world. These people crave convenience and are willing to pay extra to get what they want or need right away.
So as a veterinary practice, what have you been doing to get your share of this significant market?
If you can't answer the question above right away, then you might want to check out our five tips on how a veterinary practice can market to pet owners.
Tips in Building a Pet Care Brand and How to Market to Pet Owners Successfully
Tip #1 - Know Your Target Market
No marketing plan will work if you don't know who you should be selling to. Fortunately, this part is relatively easy. You need to ask yourself a straightforward question: "Am I marketing to?:
- A millennial working a high-paying job living in a big city with their dog?
- An honest-to-goodness American family with a couple of children living in the suburbs with a large house and a dog?
- A retiree spending the last few years of her life with ten cats through her pension?
It's hard to market when your goal is to "talk to everyone." You will end up wasting money with no profits to speak of.
For your marketing strategy to be effective, you need to consider who your primary audience is and understand them.
- What motivates them every day?
- How much disposable income do they have?
- How do their current living situations affect their priorities regarding the needs of their pets?
- How active are they in social media?
- What type of marketing promotion will push them to make a decision?
It would be best if you understood that the answers to the questions above (and a few more marketing questions) will be vital in creating your marketing strategy. It will affect everything from your messaging, the look and feel of your ads, and your offerings. As you get to know your target audience a bit more, you will slowly create a strategy made just for them.
Tip #2 - Learn to Connect
Doing marketing alone sounds tedious and difficult. In any industry, connecting with other brands or businesses is one way to market and build a brand. Of course, you should steer away from your direct competitors, but they are fair game for those who share your niche but not your market share.
You can start with connecting with pet brands, dog walkers or pet sitters, and pet hotels. These people have their clientele that you will reach when you work with them.
Think about it, your vet practice can display ads for a dog hotel in your locality, and they will display ads of your course in their hotel. This expands both of your possible client lists. Couple this with the fact that recommendations from a brand/business they trust are almost always something they will take into consideration, so they are more likely to respond to the ad. You can take this one step higher by providing a coupon or exclusive discount for each other's customers.
If you want to make it bigger, you can start a pet collaborative. A pet collab is when multiple pet care businesses band together to provide a cadre of services to customers. For example, a vet practice, dog hotel, dog walker, and pet food store can start a collective and provide a full-service dog care membership. Customers will pay a flat monthly rate, and they get everything they need to keep their dog healthy from the collective.
Tip #3 - Talk to Influencers
Using influencers can be a hit or miss depending on whether you do it right or not. Most businesses with horror stories regarding influencers have one thing in common - they picked the wrong influencer.
Remember when we told you to identify your audience? Your research will come in handy here. If you know who your customers are, you will also know who to pick as your influencer. After all, an influencer's work is to convince potential customers to choose your brand/business over the competition.
For example, if you target the younger crowd, looking for influencers in Tiktok or Instagram is smart. You don't have to look for somebody human as well. Manny the Frenchie, a social media superstar, is a french bulldog who has appeared in PetSmart, Converse, and American Apparel commercials.
If you aim for the 30 and above the crowd, you might want to connect with industry bloggers. This is because people in this age group tend to make purchase decisions based on recommendations and reviews from bloggers.