Alicia Jeffreys has always adored animals. She started volunteering at a family friend’s pet salon when she was just 14 years old, and made the transition into professional dog grooming shortly after that. With more than a decade of experience under her belt, she opened her own salon in 2015. Based in Alton, Illinois, Shampooches Dog Grooming strives to provide every dog that walks through its doors with a loving, safe and stress-free experience.
“We don’t just do amazing haircuts. We try to make your dog feel like family when they’re here,” Jeffreys says.
During her first year in business, Jeffreys was named Alton’s best groomer — a title that she has claimed three years in a row. Despite the recognition, Shampooches wasn’t growing as fast as Jeffreys would have liked. A recent move to a larger space doubled her expenses, and she needed a way to cover the new costs and attract more clients.
Establishing a game plan
Jeffreys’ previous marketing and promotional efforts had been inconsistent. She’d purchased local newspaper and radio ads, and she experimented with Facebook Ads, but she primarily relied on word-of-mouth to grow her client base.
For Shampooches to bring in the revenue that it requires to grow and thrive in its new location, Jeffreys needed to take a more focused approach to promoting and scaling her operations. When Alton was chosen to receive a $500,000 Small Business Revolution — Main Street makeover, Shampooches was selected as one of the six local businesses to get help from the marketing experts at Deluxe.
The Deluxe team worked with Jeffreys to create a set of goals that would put Shampooches on the right track:
- Acquire new clients and walk-ins to grow revenue
- Present Shampooches as the best-quality, most personable provider in the community
- Expand offerings to include retail, a la carte services and pet taxi
The Deluxe team positioned Shampooches as a friendly neighborhood grooming service that makes pets feel special, comforted and confident. The newly established goals were used to guide the Deluxe team as they honed in on the areas of the business that needed to be transformed.
A new look for Shampooches
To help Jeffreys meet her business objectives, the Deluxe marketing team worked on strengthening Shampooches’ brand image and expanding its online presence. Special emphasis was placed on the salon’s logo, website, promotional products, printed marketing materials, directory listings and social media.
A logo refresh
Shampooches’ original logo had several great elements. Bailey, Jeffreys’ family dog, was featured prominently along with a barber pole in a cute illustration. But the logo had its challenges. It was a hand-drawn sketch with a lot of different colors, which meant it was difficult and costly to reproduce on a website, shopfront and everywhere else it needed to be displayed.
The logo also didn’t reflect Alicia’s vibrant personality or the vision she had for the salon. Jeffreys wanted Shampooches to be seen as a pet spa — a place where a dog could receive basic grooming services but also be pampered.
Old logo v. new logo
The Deluxe team updated the design to give it a bright, fun and polished look to match the image Jeffreys had envisioned for the business. Bailey was transformed into a simple — but still adorable — iconic illustration, and the color palette was streamlined. The hand-drawn lettering was swapped for a casual script font that is playful while still being highly legible.
Jeffreys and the Deluxe team also agreed that the business’s name, which initially had been the two-word “Sham Pooches,” should become “Shampooches Dog Grooming” As one word, “Shampooches” flows off the tongue more naturally and reads better. The addition of “dog grooming” clarifies what the business does and helps with search authority, as people are likely to use those keywords when looking for local groomers online. The overall look of the logo design communicates that Shampooches is a fun and trustworthy place to get a dog groomed.
Building a website from the ground up
Shampooches didn’t have a website or much of an online presence when Jeffreys originally met with Deluxe. This gave the team the opportunity to build the pet salon’s digital home from scratch. Before designing the pages, the Deluxe team outlined a content plan to align with the website’s primary call to action (CTA): enabling visitors to schedule appointments. The secondary focus would be to showcase Shampooches’ services.
The design and content would convey three concepts:
- Pets will be excited to get groomed at Shampooches
- Clients can trust their pets are in caring hands as groomers create a safe, relaxing environment
- Every groom is performed with precision according to the pet owner’s preferences, regardless of the size of the dog
The bright and playful homepage lets visitors know that dogs are the heroes of the shop while explaining that Shampooches is a top-rated business staffed by experienced groomers. It also highlights the top services: grooming and the recently added pet taxi. To build awareness for the new grooming products that Shampooches has started selling, a section was added to the page that lists their offerings:
Dog grooming page
From “puppies’ first groom” to luxury shampoo and conditioning treatments, the dog grooming page showcases all of the packages and services that Shampooches offers, along with pricing information. The page is scannable, and the content was designed to inspire trust.
The “Meet the Team” page gives some background information about Jeffreys and her employees, Kylie Wood and Emily Frey. Their years of experience and what they love most about their work are covered in their bio paragraphs. All three groomers are pictured with their animals, showing the more personal side of the business.
The frequently asked questions page addresses the concerns that pet parents have — everything from “How long will it take to groom my dog?” to “What if my dog has fleas?” — and is great for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes. Because many of these questions are highly searched, Jeffreys can expect to receive some website traffic from people looking for answers.
Optimizing listings to reach new clients
Now that nearly half of all U.S. adults search online for a company before doing business with them, it’s more important than ever to have up-to-date listings on popular search engines and directories such as Google and Yelp. Online listings boost your local visibility and can be an important supplement to the information that exists on a business’s website, social media accounts and other online sources.
Before working with Deluxe, Shampooches wouldn’t show up on Google if a potential client searched for dog groomers in Alton. Jeffreys was missing out on a huge opportunity to reach new clients. To make sure that Shampooches could be found online, the Deluxe team claimed and optimized the shop’s listings, focusing on Google, Yelp and SuperPages. They updated the contact information, hours of operation and business name. Professional photos were also added to the listings to reinforce the brand’s identity and add another level of credibility.
Updated Yelp listing
Maximizing social media
When Jeffreys met with Deluxe, she was already posting to Facebook regularly and interacting with customers on the social network. However, the team saw an opportunity for her to take her social media marketing to the next level by becoming more active on Instagram. With a business as visually appealing as a dog grooming salon, a smart social media strategy takes advantage of that photo-ready appeal.
Deluxe encouraged Jeffreys to start sharing photos of the dogs she groomed. Now the shop’s Instagram page is both impossibly cute and filled with examples of the excellent work that Jeffreys and her groomers do.
Creating branded apparel, promotional products and printed collateral
Business owners want customers to think about their company instantly — and not a competitor’s — whenever those customers require the products or services the business offers. One effective way to stay in customers’ minds is with promotional products emblazoned with the business name and logo.
The Deluxe team created branded T-shirts, dog toys and dog collars for Shampooches that would simultaneously build brand awareness around town and serve as a new source of revenue for the shop. Jeffreys could sell these items to customers in the new retail area in the front of the shop along with other pet treats and grooming accessories.
Branded promotional items
One of the major differences between Shampooches and larger pet retailers and grooming services is the personal, heartfelt touch that Jeffreys, Frey and Wood bring to their work. To emphasize that distinction and connect with customers on a meaningful level, the Deluxe team also printed new client cards that Jeffreys can give to pet owners after their dog’s first groom, as well as sympathy cards that will be sent to owners whenever they lose a beloved pet.
Solving the payroll dilemma
Jeffreys had one full-time employee and was looking to hire another groomer. But she wasn’t quite sure how to set up a payroll structure that was appropriate for her business.
“I was getting overwhelmed with what I had to do for payroll,” she says.
The team helped by setting her up with Deluxe Payroll Services — an easy-to-implement solution that allowed Jeffreys to devote more energy to her shop while ensuring that her staff would be paid on time and in accordance with federal and state laws. She’s relieved now that direct deposit has been set up and all of the state and federal tax filing has been taken care of.
“This feels like a real business”
After Shampooches’ makeover, Jeffreys is already seeing results. In one month, the shop had almost 3,000 views in Google search, with nearly 280 of those views resulting in an action — either a visit to the new website, a request for directions or a phone call.
But the biggest transformation has been in the way Jeffreys views her business.
“A lot of people don’t take my job seriously. They say, ‘What’s your real job?’ when they find out what I do,” she said. “Now this feels like a real business.”
The marketing revitalization has helped Jeffreys legitimize her business, and it has made her more confident about Shampooches’ future.