Pets are big business.

The UK is home to more than 8.5 million dogs and 7.5 million cats, with British pet owners spending an incredible £18 billion on their furry friends every year.

Whether you’re launching a business that offers care, grooming, walking, food, or fashion and accessories, there’s money to be made, but it’s up to you to find customers.

Today, we’re offering some marketing tips for pet businesses, all of which are designed to increase your online presence and connect with more pet-obsessed consumers.


Pet business statistics

Before we get started, let’s take a look at the industry as a whole. There’s no denying that pet care is huge, so use it to your advantage when working on your marketing strategy.

  1. In the UK alone, £10 billion is spent on dog care every year.
  2. Cat owners come in close second – they spend £8 billion a year.
  3. 66% of pet owners admit to buying accessories for their pets.
  4. 48% of pet owners treat their furry friends more than twice a day.
  5. 66% of pet owners buy birthday and Christmas presents for their pets.
  6. 32% buy gifts for their pets more often than they do for their partners.
  7. The average Brit spends £1,150 a year on their pets.
  8. That includes £264 a year on gifts and treats for their furry friends.
  9. Almost £200 a year is spend on dog clothes, on average.
  10. 27% of dog owners indulge their pooches to spa-style treatments.
  11. In the past five years, spending on pets has grown by £286 million.
  12. Men are more likely to buy Valentine’s gifts for their pets than partners.
  13. Women are more likely to buy anniversary presents for their pets.
  14. Only one in 10 pet owners has cut back on their spend on animals.


Use visual social networks like Instagram

Pets are cute. Instagram posts of puppies and kittens are always going to draw in likes, so use that to your advantage and focus on visual networks, where images and videos dominate.

Whether you share images of your own pets, take pictures of your clients’ cats and dogs, or you source images from the internet, just have  a presence and post adorable, shareable content.

The Cats of Instagram account, for example, is closing in on 10 million followers, and all of their content is sourced from the internet. The act of sharing great content that people want to see is enough for them to be successful, and they always credit the source to avoid copyright disputes.

If you follow a similar style of social media marketing for your business, you’ll be able to develop an account that’s regularly liked with content that’s shared amongst friends. And we all know that, the more followers you have on social media, the more potential customers you’ll reach.

Alongside posting cute cat and dog videos, you can also add promotional posts on Instagram to drive people to your website and encourage them to buy your products and services.

For example, if you make your own pet clothing, you could show off a kitty wearing one of your new dressers, and add a discount coupon for followers and a link to your website. Giveaways are also a popular method for visual-heavy businesses, and we’ve got more on that next.


Run a pet hamper giveaway

Competitions on social media have been popular since the invention of the networks themselves. Offer your audience the chance to win a free product in exchange for a like or a retweet, and you’ll soon grow your follower count and drive lots of free traffic to your website.

A pet hamper like this can make for a great social media giveaway for your pet business

Whatever your pet business offers or sells, creating a pet hamper full of treats and toys for a giveaway is a low-cost method of building your audience and reaching out to new people.

Be sure to take some high-quality images of your hamper on a plain background, add your logo and text to the image, and write clear and straightforward terms and conditions.

We recommend running your competition for a week or two to maximise its chances. However, if you’re struggling to get entries, consider paying for social media advertising through Twitter Ads or Facebook Ads, as one little push can put your giveaway in front of hundreds of new people.

Once your competition is over, continue to post quality content that your new followers will be interested in, and the majority of them should stick around. Add in the occasional promotional post, like a link to a product or a discount code, and you’ll find new customers in no time.


Offer care and medical advice on social media

Social media is one of the best ways to find new customers and put your brand out there, but if you only post promotional content and share news from your blog, people will be turned off and might even choose to unfollow you.

Offer them value and something for free on social media, and they’ll be more likely to stick around and recommend your services to their friends.

You can’t offer samples of your products or checkups online, but you can offer help and advice.

Create a template in Photoshop or a free online tool like Canva, and use it to share tips, tricks, advice and statistics about pets that your followers might find interesting. It’s something we do here at Muffin Marketing with our Daily Bite, albeit on marketing, rather than pet care.

The chances are, your followers will share useful tips and interesting statistics with their friends. As such, your brand message will travel further, and you’ll be considered an authority figure in your niche. Over time, this will help you to grow your audience and catapult your brand further.


Write valuable content for your blog

You’ll likely know more about pet care than the average Joe, so put your knowledge to your test and launch a blog on your website, where you can share valuable information and advice to an audience.

Blogging is one of the best ways to grow your business and reach out to new people, so get started as soon as possible and focus on producing high-quality, shareable material.

If you’re launching a business that offers dog food, for example, you could write a post reviewing some of the most popular dog food brands, or a piece on why organic dog food is healthier and more cost-effective than supermarket alternatives.

As you promote your content online and start to rank on search engines for competitive terms, more and more people will stumble upon your articles and bookmark them, share them with friends, and get in touch to ask about your products – or better still, buy from your website.

Whenever you write new material, always remember to include a call to action at the bottom of the piece; a short paragraph or link that directs users to the next step.

For example, if you wrote a piece about dental care in dogs and you offer dental checkups, your call to action could be “to arrange a free checkup, call us…”.

Capturing the attention of readers and encouraging them to take action is one of the most effective ways of finding new customers online, so don’t be shy.

To give you some more food for thought, we’ve put together ten article ideas for your new blog.

  1. Grooming 101: How to keep your dog looking its best
  2. 10 of our favourite dog Instagram accounts
  3. The best dog walking locations in London
  4. How to introduce a new dog into a family with young children
  5. Dog-friendly holidays that you should consider this year
  6. We review the best pet accessories of 2018
  7. Why regular vet checkups are important
  8. What are dog vaccines, and why are they important?
  9. Puppies or rescue dogs: How to choose the right dog for your family
  10. Cat breeds ranked: Which one is best for your family?


Share content from third-parties

Not everything you share on social media has to be unique and original. In fact, sharing material from third parties can save you time and put your brand out there to new audiences. And the best part is, sharing other people’s content is free, and takes only a minute or two.

Sharing content from other sources can help you connect with your audience – and it saves time

You can find material to share through viral pet accounts on Twitter and Facebook.

On Instagram, you can take content from other networks, provided you give credit to the original source or use a royalty free image site like Pexels to find content that suits your brand.

If you want to take your social media campaign a step further, you could even add your own branding to the images and videos you find, so when they’re shared, your brand name appears, which will boost awareness for your business and encourage more people to like your page.

As well as sharing videos and images of cute pets, you can also use social media scheduling tools to post content from reputable pet blogs and websites.

For example, if you’re a veterinary practice about to run a vaccination campaign, you could share articles on the benefits of pet vaccination on your social media channels, or share news on recent pet-related stories.


Build links on pet service pages

If you want to get ahead of your competitors on search engines and find more new customers for your pet business organically, then you may want to execute a link building campaign.

Building links back to your website will increase the authority of your website, and show Google and other search engines that your website is well-respected and is packed with useful content.

See also: 5 ways to get backlinks for your website

Reach out to pet bloggers, local businesses and directories and ask if they’d consider adding a link to your website as a resource for their customers and readers. Provided you’re not direct competition and you’re friendly and polite, most of them should say yes and reward you with a link.

If they don’t, then consider manually submitting your website to local business directories.

You can also build links by guest blogging on sites relevant to your niche. For example, if you run a dog grooming company, you could reach out to pet bloggers and offer to write a blog post on the best ways to wash your dog and look after their fur. There are lots of opportunities.


Gather testimonials from satisfied customers

Let’s face it: many pet owners consider their cats and dogs an extension of their family, and so they’re rightly cautious about who they trust when it comes to veterinary care and grooming.

Asking satisfied customers to write testimonials and back you up as a professional can help boost your digital marketing campaigns and introduce you to new customers on the internet.

See also: How to deal with negative customer reviews

Aside from maintaining a glowing five-star symbol next to your name on Google and Facebook, customer reviews offer free advertising, help you rank ahead of lower-rated businesses on search engine results pages, and allows you to develop better relationships with customers.

And don’t think that online reviews aren’t trusted.

According to a study by Nielsen, 83% of consumers trust recommendations from people they knew, while 70% trusted opinions posted online from people they don’t know.

Every review can add value to your business and give pet owners peace of mind before they contact you to enquire about one of your services.


Use user-generated content to grow

The chances are that your customers spend a lot of time talking about their furry friends on social media – in fact, they may even have set up a social media account just for their pet.

If they talk about your business on Twitter or Instagram, you can use it to your advantage and share the content with your followers to promote your business.

See also: How to use user-generated content to promote your business

If you run a dog grooming business and a customer tweets about their visit to your salon, then you can retweet that post or use the image in a new post, provided you give credit, of course.

Sharing content from your customers can help you stand out.

The more interaction you have with customers on social media, and the more your customers share their stories and experiences of your brand, the wider your reach will become, and the more likely people will be to sign up for your services. User generated content is powerful.


Wrapping up

Running your own pet business can be great fun, but without a steady stream of customers, it can be tough to make ends meet. Experiment with these marketing techniques and see which works best for your business and your customers; you might just be surprised at the results.

If you’re looking for marketing services for your pet business and don’t have the time to do it on your own, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team at Muffin Marketing today. Our content marketing, search engine optimisation and social media management services are designed to help take your pet business to the top.