Consider these tips to tailor your marketing to the furry — or feathered — family member.
Families come in all shapes and sizes — even species. As the pet industry grows, so too does the demand for pet-friendly apartments. If you’re one of the few buildings with a pet-friendly policy, it’s time to crank up your marketing.
Here are seven tips to tailor your marketing to the four-legged — or feathered — family member.
1. Reach Out to Pet Owners Through Social Media
Pet owners are typically avid online users who like to share pictures of their pets, says Leslie May, founder of Pawsible Marketing, an online pet business marketing consulting firm based in Blue Ridge, Ga. May says the typical “pet parent” is online, educated, has discretionary income, and normally uses popular social media outlets like Facebook and YouTube. To establish a presence as a pet-friendly facility, start a social media campaign. Invite people who live at your property to share photos of their pet.
2. Host a Pet Event
Host a holiday pet party or sponsor an event with your local humane society, like an adoption fair, to show your residents and potential residents that you care about pets and the neighborhood. “When the humane society does things like art festivals, we’ll do sponsorships for name exposure,” says Joanie Cullity, director of property management at Prudential Georgia Reality in Roswell, Ga. “It shows good will, and it’s positive name recognition.”
3. Remember the Small Things
Another way to reach pet owners is to remember the small things, like putting treats in the lobby or providing baggies in grass areas. But May and Cullity recommend going one step further. May suggests sending small pet treat bags around the holidays. Cullity hires a photographer and offers tenants Christmas photos of pet owners with their pets. She also gives each non-human resident a red dog tag in the shape of a bone imprinted with the pet’s name and address of the owner. “It shows you care,” May says, “and that’s important when pets are family.”
4. Partner with a Pet Store or Groomer
Collaborating with local pet-friendly places can benefit your brand, community and residents. For starters, May suggests reaching out to nearby pet stores to create a mutual discount system. Restaurants, cafes, veterinarians and other pet-friendly places are potential avenues to extend marketing. Work with local dog-friendly restaurants to have a doggie night out and provide discounts to tenants, May says, or simply make a list of locations in the area that are pet-friendly so your residents know which places will welcome their pets. “Having mutual goals in mind is important for a business partnership,” she says.
5. Highlight Pet Amenities
Although it costs more to maintain a pet-friendly property, Cullity says you can charge higher rent because other property managers don’t allow pets. Generally, pet owners are willing to pay more to ensure their pets’ needs are met. By presenting the animal amenities, pet owners can justify the extra cost. “We offer dog walking and pet sitting services,” Cullity says, “and we let them know about walking trails and a playground area with obstacle courses.”
6. Have Fun
Pet owners like to have fun — show them that you do, too. Connect with your residents by communicating rules and boundaries for animals on your property in a lighthearted, personal way. For Cullity, that means writing residents notes “to the dog and from the dog.” “It seems childish, but it goes over really well because it’s funny,” she says. That can help with word-of-mouth referrals, too.
7. Include Testimonials in Ads
“Getting current clients talking about you as a pet-friendly business is key,” May says. She recommends getting residents involved by asking for testimonials and running “pet friendliness” contests through Facebook. Then as a property manager, you can run an ad campaign featuring a new Facebook story each time, she says. “Testimonials help people understand how other people think of your business… in more connected ways,” she says.
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