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This article is the second article in a five-part series that details exactly what you need to market your pet store and make it a success. One of the biggest mistakes many small pet stores make is printing their own marketing materials. They consider marketing to be an expense; but in fact marketing is an investment. The entire point of marketing is to profit from it, and you stand a much better chance of making a positive impression on your prospects if your message is delivered with professionalism. High-quality printed materials are relatively inexpensive, so don't fire up your desktop printer - send your print jobs to a state-of-the-art printing company such as PsPrint instead.
A little bit of marketing savvy can go a long way. Use these marketing materials to help your pet store soar above the competition. Business cards - Like all businesses, networking is vital to the success of your pet store; and business cards are the perfect way to make a great first impression and ensure you're remembered. Business cards can also double as appointment cards. Postcards - A direct-marketing staple, postcards are cheap to print and easy to send. Best of all, postcards represent some of the best return on investment opportunities in business. Posters - Posters are excellent giveaways. Tap into your niche customers' motivations and delight them with cuddly kitten posters, dynamic dog posters, fantastic fish posters ... you get the idea. Make sure your branded message is attached loud and clear! Flyers - Flyers are perfect for promoting a special sale or event, whether they're distributed via mail, community bulletin boards or through other means. Pet care booklets/guides - Booklets are a great way to give your customers something valuable that they'll hold on to. A well-written pet care reference guide such as "Setting Up and Caring for a Saltwater Aquarium" or "Dog Grooming 101" can land you a special place on your customers' bookshelves. Catalogs - If you sell pet supplies, mail-order catalogs are essential to business growth. A prime example is the Doctors Foster and Smith franchise, which publishes niche pet supply mail-order catalogs. Take a look at one to see how the company adds value through tutorials and informational bits interspersed throughout each catalog. Brochures - Brochures are incredibly diverse. You can send them via direct mail; promote point-of-sale products, services and add-ons with them; you can leave them behind after sales meetings; and leave them on racks and countertops and more. More than a simple mission statement, when brochures are cleverly used they can become invaluable tools for promoting your pet store. Calendars - Almost everyone will take - and use - a free calendar. What better way to put your pet store front and center 365 days a year? You can theme your calendar around the pets you sell or, better yet, showcase pictures and stories of your customers with their pets. Place reminders throughout your calendar to drum up business: "Time for a grooming? Call us today at 555-555-5555!" Greeting cards - Show appreciation and build relationships with your clients by sending greeting cards. Holidays are good times for greeting cards, but remember that the unexpected greeting card during a non-holiday season can make a more lasting impression. Stickers - Stickers can be affixed to anything and used in many clever ways. Give them away to your customers, donate them to schools to use as prizes, or print extra large die-cut stickers shaped like dog footprints that lead customers from your door to a special sales display. Newsletters - Pet stores offer plenty of material to fill newsletters, which in turn are the perfect medium for staying connected to your customers. Create newsletters with valuable content such as how-to pet care articles; informative, entertaining and interesting features; a regular column written by you; special offers and ads; and customer and pet showcases. Mail your newsletter to your current customers and to a mailing list of pet owners. Vinyl banners - Vinyl banners are affordable, excellent tools for drawing attention to your special event or sale. Other materials you should consider producing include a website, corporate identity package (complete with letterhead, envelopes, brochure, flyer, business card and pocket folder) and door hangers.