Many pet businesses fail to build and grow their online marketing strategy out of cost hesitation. While it’s true that some advertising methods require a significant budget to make a difference – paths like affiliate marketing, professional SEO configuration, and pay-per-click ad campaigns – there are plenty of other successful methods that require little to no money to maintain. Not tricks, not short-term loopholes, but a lasting Google-supported marketing foundation that will help your pet business thrive for years to come.
Here are 10 techniques you’ll need to master in order to take advantage of the boost in business that only the search engine giant can truly provide:
1 – Post Content Your Customers Want to Read and Become the Local Thought Leads in Your Community
Google looks (and ranks) sites favorably when they offer articles and blogs that appeal to your target audience. In other words, your pet store may sell a specific brand of pet food outright, but a pet store that sells that brand of pet food and offers articles with nutritional advice on the benefits that brand of food offers for dogs or cats will enable the store to be found for the common questions local consumers search for.
This enables you to not only be found for that brand of pet food but also places you as the local solution for information related to the brand. The mort articles you write about that brand that relate to nutritional information, reviews and new products, will ensure you own the local market share in online search for that brand of pet food.
2 – Make Your Stand-Out Features Worth Mentioning
While potential customers might search something as generic as “pet stores near me,” more often they’ll have a specific query in mind. If you have a unique feature or product assortment, subtly encourage your regulars to mention it in their review of your store. Note that a search for “exotic bird food Austin Texas” brings up review and site results that aren’t just geographically close, but also specifically mention “exotic birds” by name!
3 – Mention Your Stand-Out Features in Your Google Business Description
Turning back to that search in Austin, TX, note that the top results each have something prominent about the businesses themselves. A pet store that’s an “Established pet shop with bird specialty” is more likely to appeal to a searcher than a generic shopping option, and Google knows that. Not only is this a chance to highlight your business through a simple listing, but it’s also an indication that you’re committed to providing information to your potential customers.
4 – Mention Your Stand-Out Features Yourself
Your Google business listing is important, but so is proving that you really do provide these features by mentioning them in tandem in your site content. Clicking through that first result on the previous search shows that their 400+ customer reviews and meta description both align with that original snippet about exotic birds. That sort of harmony tells Google that a pet store is the “real deal.”
5 – Show Some Local Love in Your Content
While SEO as a whole is crucial to the success of a physical pet store, local SEO can be the added nudge in the right direction. Not every store can work the name of their town into the name the way this top result has, but they can use local SEO to highlight their location in articles and blogs. Using the example of “Raw Dog Food”, a Dallas pet store interested in enticing these customers might work in a few phrases like “Raw dog food in Dallas” or “where to buy raw dog food in Dallas, TX” in their blogs or product page blurbs.
6 – Mention Your Business in Relevant Lists
Google business listings are, unsurprisingly, the first result in Google searches, but they aren’t the only game in town. Make sure your business appears on sites like Yelp or local business directories in order to maximize your chances of being seen by customers in need of your products or services. Trading on-site mentions with a complementary business – say, a local dog training provider, or kennel with boarding options – can help boost your visibility. Being found and listed appropriately in the major directories online will boost your local search engine rankings, and help drive more consumer engagement when you are found.
7 – Speak to Trends With Authority
Paying attention to your industry trends and news stories is a trait that appeals to a potential buyer – it means you’re paying attention and you’re ready to serve their specific needs. Note that a search for “Pet trends in Texas” turns up a news story about owners bringing dogs into restaurants. Weighing in on the subject with a well-timed blog on good restraint harnesses for dogs in restaurants wouldn’t go wrong towards free publicity.
8 – Complete Your Google Business Listing
Sure, a phone number and operating hours might be enough to encourage a visit by some customers, but a little more information could do a lot more. Take a look at the top 3 results for “Pet Stores in Houston” – notice how each one has a “blurb” in place? That’s no accident. Again, a business that takes the time to fill out information is one that appeals favorably to both Google and potential customers.
9 – Write Frequent Local-Interest Blogs
While well-written content is often “evergreen” – e.g. its subject matter is relevant year after year – Google notes posting frequency and rewards frequent contributors. Make sure you’re offering a steady stream of content that reflects the items or services you sell, particularly with a local twist or flair.
10 – Offer a Freebie for First-Timers
In the history of business, pet-related or otherwise, a free gift with purchase has remained a popular enticement for new customers. Prominently offer, for example, a bag of free dog treats for 1st-time customers or a 1st time discount for a service-based business, and you can bet it will get a customer on the fence to pick up the phone, send you a message or drop by.
If you’re time-crunched like most pet professionals, it’s definitely worth your time to get a free, no-obligation demo of NextPaw for your pet business.