One way to connect with pet lovers in your community is through Meetup.com – the place online to find like minded people gathering near you. If you haven’t already gone to take a look – when you do I’m sure that if you search your city or area you’ll find lots and lots of pet groups already thriving. People are meeting to hike with their dogs, learn dog agility, meet with owners of similar breeds, or to just socialize with other pet lovers.
As pet business owners these people are our target market – so why not get out and get involved?
The simplest way is to set up your account and join some existing groups. Take your best friend out to join in the activities – as long as they are well behaved and will make a good impression. Most groups have rules so make sure you read them and stick to them and follow the group etiquette by making sure that you do attend events when you RSVP yes. Help out the group by hosting some events as an organizer or contribute to the meetup by adding photos or information. You can stand out by being helpful and contributing to the group.
If you want to gain some more visibility in meetup you can also choose to sponsor a meetup group. Sponsoring does not have to involve an exchange of money. It may be as simple as offering the members of a meetup group a discount on your pet products or services. For example I sponsor a DFW meetup group and give them a $15 discount on a 4 hour Pet Tech first aid class. You could also offer use of your facility for a meetup event, give away some freebie services or product, or organize another creative arrangement.
When you sponsor a group your business name and logo are shown on the left side bar of the meetup pages – and this link is clickable to take people to your website.
The third option is to start your own meetup group. This of course will be the most time intensive but you will get to meet most of the members and get to be known as a leader. Of course you can always recruit others to help you with organizing group events. There is a monthly fee for organizing your own meetup group – you can pay monthly or every 6 months. A six month fee is around $72.
Some of the events you could organize are play dates at local dog parks, fun outings to existing community events, mixers and yappy hours at local stores etc. You can also offer educational events by partnering with first aid instructors, dog trainers, nutritionists etc. Of course networking with these other pet professionals can also be beneficial to your business as you can build relationships that may become great referral partners.
Are you already on Meetup? How have you participated and been able to use this new resource to grow your pet business? Tell us in the comments..