Pre-Opening Advertising for a Dog Daycare
Effective Marketing and Advertising to Grow your Dog Daycare Business
In the Dog Daycare business there are really three key phases to advertising: Pre-Opening Advertising or the advertising you do prior to opening your Dog Daycare, Opening and Operating advertising, and Post Opening Operating Advertising (that last two are covered elsewhere in the marketing chapter).
What you will find is that most local magazines and pet related publications as well as the Yellow Pages have a drop dead date, or a date at which you must submit your ad to be included in the following year’s publication, generally this is around November. If you are planning to open your Dog Daycare in March then it would be a good idea to insure that you are listed in the upcoming publications for that year. Otherwise, you will be forced to wait until the following year potentially costing you a lot of clients and valuable revenue.
Creating a Budget
Before running wily nilly out in the wild blue yonder with boxes full of advertising material you are going to have to establish and advertising budget that you adhere to.
This is generally based upon the projections for your first years income, ideally by doing your demographic research and choosing a suitable location in a financially supportive area. You can make a conservative estimate as to what your minimum gross revenue will be for the year. As a matter of smart business in the pet industry your advertising budget should be between 3% and 5% of your previous years Gross Sales, however at this point you don't have a solid figure to base your budget upon so you must use the estimated Gross Sales for the current year, of which 20% should be expended in creating the initial buzz for your business. The remaining 80% will be wisely distributed through out the rest of the year. This covered in much greater detail in other pages of the Dog Daycare and Marketing Section of this website.
Getting the Word Out
I hate to say that you must act like a politician and go around kissing baby's but in a sense that is what you are going to have to do if you plan on getting the word out that you are opening a Dog Daycare Facility in the area. This involves printing up fliers to post at local pet stores and on the read boards of major pet supply houses such as Pet Supermarket and Petco. These are the little cork boards generally located toward the front of the store on which people place dog for sale ads, pet services ads or lost pet posters, the vast majority of large and small pet supply chains will have one. You should also personally introduce yourself to the small business owners of pet related shops in your area, if it is a service to which you will offer a competing service, mention one of your services that does not compete.
Visit Local Real Estate Offices and speak with the broker and have them place your business cards and Grand Opening Date in their Realtors boxes. Realtors like to be in the know and are generally the first to come into contact with new families arriving in the area.
Contact your local newspapers. They will more than likely have a columnist that specializes in running brief intro pieces for businesses that are new to the area for no charge, they do this as a service to their subscribers. This will generally be found somewhere in the community section of your local newspaper.
Look for local specialty magazines in your area. Almost every area has some form of specialty magazine that circulates within your community. In Port Charlotte Florida for example there is Harbor Style Magazine, South West Florida Living and a few others. These are not nationally syndicated magazines, yet have a loyal local following. These publications are also generally willing to offer free advertising to you in the form of short articles, stories etc. The reason this is done is that the editors of these publications have got to write about new and interesting events or businesses within the area or community to keep the magazine fresh and interesting so they can sell advertising dollars to other more generic businesses.
You can almost always guarantee yourself one free run in most of these magazines. Sometimes you may even get a few color pages and a complete write up or feature on you and your business. Dog Daycare is interesting, its fun, and it deals with animals; people love animals, and people read about what they love which circulates the magazine which creates advertising dollars for the publications.
Look for Boat Clubs, Yacht Clubs, Golf Associations in the area or other specialty clubs with a predominantly upper middle class membership and inquire as to if they have a newsletter or yearly publication you can enter into. Target the customers that can pay for your services and that will have no problem spending whatever is necessary to provide the utmost in comfort for their pets.
You can also go to your local print shop and inquire about mailing services to pre-notify those individuals living within 5 miles of your proposed location of the planned grand opening date (this is where 80% of your customers will come from).
Contact the local Humane Society or Animal Welfare League and ask if they would like to hold and Adopt-a-thon (public event designed to find homes for Shelter Animals) at your location on the Grand Opening Date.
You can also enter an ad and have it posted within a few days at a nominal fee in local magazines. These include Dollar Savers, Green Sheets and all the other various free magazines that you will find placed outside of major retail establishments. The trick is to get your name out there and let people know you exist. You also want to insure that you have your signage up before you actually open with your grand opening date prominently posted. This should be done as early as 2 months prior to opening your doors. Earlier than that and people will grow tired of waiting and lose interest, it will become just another sign that they block out as they make their daily commute.
Successfully launching a Dog Daycare is just like launching any business, you have to create a buzz and get the word out.. This requires effort, dedication and work on your part, do not be lulled into the thought that if "You Build it, They will Come". This is not "The Field of Dreams" but the professional launching of a business into which you will have already invested a significant amount of time and money.
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