The three most important audiences you should target when marketing yourself as a pet groomer are: clients; groomers and the grooming industry; and employers.
Marketing to Clients
Photos are the best tool when it comes to marketing to clients because they allow you to show off your work. Consider your social media accounts to be your grooming photo portfolio. It should contain images of a wide variety of breeds you have groomed, such as terriers, poodles, doodles, small mixed breeds, giant breeds, rare breeds, seniors, puppies, handicapped dogs, etc.
You also want to showcase diverse haircut styles, such as scissor cuts, shave downs, patterns, trim ups, top knots, Asian fusion, long ears, short ears, lamb trims, drop coats, hand-stripping, etc. You should also make your photos fun. For example, dogs getting baths with little shampoo mohawks, dogs taking naps, dogs getting hugs from their favorite groomer, etc. The variety will help clients see the range of your skills and show that your salon is a safe and relaxing environment for their pet.
- Clean background: Cleaning the hair off of your table, making sure your tools are put away nicely and removing additional clutter from the background shows clients that you are clean and organized. Always try to showcase the cleanliness of your salon.
- The angles: Pay attention to the angle the photograph is being taken from. You want to find angles that are flattering to the shape of the dog. Also, pay attention to how the dog is standing. Being hunched over or scared looking doesn’t make for a good photograph. You will also want to pay attention to their legs. Make sure that they are straight and spaced out so you can show off your scissor work.
- Use a good camera: The majority of cell phone cameras today are great quality. I use an iPhone 11 Pro for all of my photos and I previously used an iPhone 10 XS. I do not edit my photos andI would recommend avoiding editing. Editing can take lots of time and it is better to show the actual result anyway.
- Lighting: Lighting is a key aspect of taking a good photograph. The entire front of my salon is windows, so I get a lot of natural light. If you have a darker area, I would recommend investing in some lighting. Even painting the walls a lighter color will help in this regard.
- Camera settings: Make sure your photos are focused and not blurry. Avoid taking any photos with flash, it causes the room to look darker and causes the dogs to have red eyes.
Branding yourself is also essential when it comes to marketing to clients. You want them to see a photo and know it’s yours without having to tell them it is. The way I branded myself was I painted the walls in my salon a very distinct, loud color. The colors in my salon are blue, yellow and green. I also have a Paw Mat which adds a pop of color, as well as a nice clean tabletop. I recommend choosing a signature prop, background, or photo style to brand yourself.
Social media is also a great place to tap into your community. One of my favorite ways to interact with clients is on local Facebook dog groups. I added myself to the local doodle, welsh terrier, wire fox and golden retriever Facebook groups. My clients post photos of their dogs in the group. I add posts after a member has been in for a groom; I also respond when someone is looking for grooming recommendations.
Another marketing tool to consider is supplying valuable tips for clients and potential clients. For example, a short tutorial on how to properly brush a dog will not only increase the likelihood of dogs being brought to you in more easily groom-able condition; it will also give people more reasons to visit and spend time on your social media pages or website. A big key to success is engagement. The more content you create that clients or potential customers can use, the more they will read, like and share it. Gorgeous photographs are striking. They might get shared by hundreds or even thousands of people.
Marketing to the Grooming Industry
Marketing to groomers and the grooming industry can lead to great opportunities, jobs, education, sponsorship, connections and more. In addition to posting your grooming photos on social media, you can showcase your favorite tools and consumables. Do this without expecting anything in return. Make these posts to help other groomers and share your experiences. Give honest feedback and be as transparent as possible.
Keep your content creative. I have found that groomers like to see more detailed photos of individual parts of a dog, such as head shots (straight on and side profile), legs (image right), paws and full-body side shots. Before and after shots are especially popular. Short videos of shaving a dog down, or scissoring legs or paws are also good ways to showcase your technique. Making posts frequently throughout the day will allow you to grow your following and get noticed. I also recommend creating YouTube videos, such as technique demonstrations and how-tos, to expand your reach. I have made a couple and really enjoyed the experience.
Reciprocity between groomers is important, too. Be sure to follow other groomers’ social media pages and be supportive and interactive with them. It’s also good to show that you are human, too. Try sharing some personal aspects of your life, but don’t focus too much on it. Share little details about your favorite hobbies, pictures of your personal animals, things you enjoy doing outside of work, etc.
Being active in the grooming community, such as following related businesses, helps you get noticed and make connections. Join grooming groups on Facebook and post to them regularly. Discuss ways to make the grooming industry better, share and learn new techniques and see how others are branding and marketing themselves. Creating good relationships within your local grooming community is always a good idea. Refer clients to other salons if you get too busy or if a client isn’t a good fit for you; they will return the favor.
Marketing to Employers
As a businessowner who has interviewed many groomers, I know how vital it is to market yourself to potential employers. You want to find a job that pays well, has good management/owners, has good clientele, invests in their stylists, etc. By marketing yourself correctly, you will be able to attract those kinds of salons.
As with marketing to clients and the grooming industry, your portfolio should contain a variety of breeds and haircut styles to show your experience and skill range. One thing that I look for when hiring a stylist is good interpersonal communication skills. Being able to talk to people is a life skill you can carry with you regardless of the industry you work in.
Continuing education is also very important to potential employers. Groomers who can bring new techniques, products and tools to the salon and its clients are highly sought after. Employers look for someone who is passionate and driven in their career. Investing in your education shows that you have what they are looking for. Even if you are a great groomer with lots of experience, you can still learn new things. The wonderful thing about the grooming industry is it is ever changing. One major thing that will help you stand out is having an open mind and a willingness and desire to learn.
Actively connecting with online grooming and pet communities is another significant aspect to self-promotion. Getting noticed in these groups will have clients requesting you as their groomer and will allow potential employers to follow your work. Using these social media tools is the key to marketing yourself as a groomer.
For more tips, tricks and education follow @WahlAnimal on Facebook and Instagram.