While Americans have always loved their pets, it’s safe to say that the US pet industry has been riding an unprecedented high over the last few years. For one thing, more people are purchasing and adopting pets than ever before. For another, pet parents today are generally more exacting and particular about caring for their beloved animal companions than those of generations past. Most consider their pets as family members and are prepared to invest heavily in anything that will improve their quality of life.
Given just how many pet owners there are in the country and how much they profess to love their pets, it’s currently immensely beneficial for any business to market to the pet lovers in its customer base. One survey by Better Cities for Pets, for instance, reveals that up to 49 percent of participants are more likely to patronize pet-friendly businesses. Even companies that don’t necessarily focus on animals or pet care can benefit from connecting meaningfully with this large and enthusiastic subset of potential clients.
Here are a few simple but effective ways to engage the pet parents in your audience:
Add Products and Services Specifically for Pet Parents
Stocking up on pet-related products that mesh well with your current offerings is a surefire way to endear yourself to pet parents. If you sell clothing or household items, for example, adding pet merchandise, accessories, and custom pet products like personalized food and water bowls to your product catalog may be a highly profitable move. Photo studios can offer pet portraits and photoshoots, while bakeries and restaurants can produce their own freshly made pet treats.
Making your business a comfortable and convenient place for pet parents is another quick and easy way to get into their good books. If your restaurant or store is in an area where many people tend to walk their dogs, for example, you can leave bowls of water out for those who pass by your storefront. This small act of kindness can go a long way for thirsty pups on hot days, and their owners will surely remember you for it.
Ensure Your Stores and Offices Are Safe for Pets
If you like the idea of allowing pets on your business’s premises, then you’ll have to make sure the environment is healthy and safe for them. You can do this by following the below steps:
- Avoid using any décor, plants, and cleaning products that are harmful to animals and substitute them with non-toxic alternatives.
- Choose pet-friendly furnishings that won’t need much more than a good wipe-down to clean.
- Consider cleaning your store more frequently to minimize the presence of allergens and to get rid of any dirt that pets might track into your store.
- Keep electrical wiring and other chew hazards off the floor to prevent accidents and injuries.
- Update your website or social media channels with information on which kinds of pets are allowed into your establishment.
- Identify pet-friendly areas like patios and porches with clear signage.
Train Your Staff Appropriately
Even pets that are typically calm and agreeable may find it stressful to be in new and unfamiliar environments full of strange people. Well-meaning strangers who don’t know how to act appropriately around animals can further stress out pets who are out and about with their owners.
Given this, train your staff members to recognize signs of pet stress and how to respond to these signs accordingly. You’ll also want to make sure your team knows where the nearest pet hospital or veterinary clinic is located and has their contact information ready in case of emergencies.
Explicitly Advertise Your Business as Pet-Friendly
Pet parents are some of the most internet-savvy people around, so you’ll definitely want to advertise your business as a pet-friendly enterprise online. Invite customers to bring their furry friends to your store by making announcements about your business’s pet-friendliness on your website and social media pages. Having your company listed on online directories for pet-friendly businesses is another good way to reach more pet lovers in your area.
Posting more about pets on your social media accounts can also help you get positive attention from pet parents. Consider posting photos and testimonials from customers who visit your business with their pets in tow. You might also invite any pet parents who follow you on social media to share photos of their furry friends on your pages.
Express Your Support for Animal Rights and Welfare
Consumers today are increasingly eager to support ethical businesses that promote environmental responsibility, animal welfare, and other important causes. Many pet owners are wholehearted believers in animal rights and always want to throw their support behind brands that demonstrably share this advocacy. Supporting and even partnering with local animal welfare charities will earn you the appreciation and business of the pet parents in your audience.
Even if your brand isn’t necessarily pet-related, it’s best to ensure that none of your products and services harm animals in any way. Adopting more sustainable business practices where possible will also reduce your environmental footprint and help protect wildlife.
Pet parents generally make loyal, enthusiastic clients, and businesses that earn their trust can look forward to their support for years to come. With the pet industry currently booming and unlikely to slow down anytime soon, there’s no better time than now to cater to the pet parents in your customer base.