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Topic: Strategy

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Marketing A Doggie Daycare, Increase Business.

Posted by olivehounds on 125 Points
I manage a doggy daycare located in a Philadelphia suburb. We opened in June 2009. Initially things started out slowly as expected. We have picked up quite alot of new clients who come for daycare periodically as needed, and we also have some who use our service on a daily basis.

We are 'related' to a retail pet supply store in the same complex which has been open for 3 years. WE also have a spa dog grooming salon in our building.

Our max number of dogs daily is about 25... depending on size, etc. We average about 11.... which is not covering payroll. We do not have much money for advertising at this point.

To get our name out last year we set up a table at many local animal rescue events and gave out literature. We also did some holiday bazaars (mostly fundraising type for cancer research or local shelters.) We had a few ads run in local papers and such which yielded nothing as far as we could tell.

I really need some suggestions to build business inexpensively. I know almost nothing about marketing.... My boss is seeming like she is ready to throw in the towel on the whole business. I love my job and want to make this place a huge success! Any and all suggestions are more than welcome!!


  • Posted by Jay Hamilton-Roth on Accepted
    If there's little (or no) budget, then you have to spend time networking, meeting people face to face. Start by meeting local travel agents - who takes cares of pets when the owners are traveling? Next up - business people who will be traveling (talk to HR departments). If you don't have a website, create one --- so people in your neighborhood can find you online.
  • Posted by thecynicalmarketer on Accepted
    I'm a dog lover and wish I lived in Phili so my pooches could try you out.

    I suggest a few approaches:

    Stop targeting the general public. You sell a premium offering for people with money - this is not the general population. You can usually target your local print and direct mail by demographic. In your case, go for the nearby high income areas.

    You should set up a PPC campaign with Google. It is so easy for anyone to do and words like "doggie spa" would cost very little and can deliver strong regional results for next to nothing in cost.

    Contact local veterinarians and work out referral deals.
    - You could give them a percentage of the sales from anyone they refer.
    - You could also make custom coupons for the Vet's customers "Dr. Smith Vet offers 25% off at Doggie Daycare" and get the Vet to keep a stack on their counter in the Vet Office.
    - You could even get a Vet to run a promo for you. Maybe offer new Vet customers a free visit at the Doggie Daycare, but get the Vet to pay for the advertising. If it works correctly, the Vet gets a new customer with the great offer and you get a chance to win a repeat customer who will start paying after their first visit. If you are half empty now, a few extra dogs should not cost you much.

    Best of luck, Johnny B.
    if you like the advice, read the blog: http://bit.ly/75KkSG
  • Posted by prhyatt on Accepted
    I would also try some kind of referral program. Some ideas:
    1. Clients can earn hours or days by referring friends
    2. Free trials (maybe a half day or some other short duration) for friends with a message saying something about "your pooch bringing a pal" or the like.

    Another idea is a heavily promoted Open House around the time schools in the area have open houses with a promotional theme that ties in with the concept of sending your furry children back to school. (This would work even better if you also offer canine training). For pet owners who consider their pets to be their children, this might click.

    Hope this gets some ideas started for you--good luck!
  • Posted by michael on Accepted
    Love the towel pun.

    I think you're doing the right things, but it may be you need a better flyer. Good flyers are kept, bad flyers end up on the floor of the car.

    I'd be happy to look at it for you if you want.


    Michael
  • Posted by carrie77 on Moderator
    Hi Everyone,

    I am closing this question since there has been no activity in 10 days.

    Thanks for participating!
    Carrie (Production Editor)

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