Groomers across the country are weighing the value of digital marketing compared to that of traditional advertising.
Has the rise of Internet-based marketing been a game-changer for groomers looking to promote their businesses, or is it simply a distraction from the traditional forms of advertising that have withstood the test of time?
The answer, it seems, largely depends on whom you are asking.
Overall, groomers have proven to be a progressive bunch when it comes to utilizing technology to spread the word about their services—a trend that has been clear in Grooming Business’ annual Pet Groomer Survey over the past few years. For example, in the 2015 edition of the survey nearly 70 percent of respondents indicated that their business has its own website, and more than 80 percent said that they utilize Facebook for marketing. Both represent a significant increase in groomers’ online promotional activity over the past five years.
Interestingly, as the numbers would imply, this trend transcends generational lines. In fact, one veteran business owner who has spent decades in the grooming profession recently told me, “I may be old, but I just love today’s technology. Anytime a new device or app comes out, I have to get it and use it for my business.”
For this groomer, Facebook has proven to be a particularly effective way to reach out beyond the four walls of her salon to reach pet owners. “Everybody is on Facebook all the time,” she notes.
However, not everyone has been bowled over by the impact that online marketing efforts have had on their business, and the results seem to vary greatly based on each groomer’s unique situation, as well as their chosen promotional platform. For example, another long-time groomer dismissed the importance that is being placed on the Internet as an advertising vehicle. Explaining that professional pet grooming is a business that typically only attracts customers within a four to five mile radius, she says that the reach of the Internet is simply too vast for it to be an effective platform.
It is not that this particular groomer has not tried to get on board with online marketing. In addition to maintaining a website and social media accounts for her business, she recently invested in an ambitious $300-per-month Yelp advertising campaign. Unfortunately, the campaign yielded no discernible results for her salon. Now, her plan is to go back to “old-school” direct mail advertising.
She can be counted in the apparent minority of grooming business owners who continue to turn to such traditional forms of advertising. According to the Grooming Business survey, just 17 percent of groomers used direct mail to promote their business in 2015, and only 35 percent advertised in local print publications. This marks a continuing downward trend that corresponds with the rise of web-based marketing.
Clearly, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to how groomers should go about promoting their businesses. The best approach, it appears, is one that mixes both traditional and digital marketing, along with a strong strategy for measuring the impact of each component. After all, if you cannot quantify what a particular marketing vehicle is doing for your business, why do it at all.
Most importantly, groomers must remember that the most effective means for promoting their services has always been, and always will be, word of mouth. As I have been told by a countless number of grooming professionals over the years, if you do a good job taking care of your current clients—both human and canine—they will inevitably send more your way. Those kinds of results are ageless.