Guest Post: How to Collaborate Locally and at Trade Shows to Benefit Your Pet Business

We are thrilled to be mentioned in an article by Candace D’Angolo of Pet Boss Nation. Here is a link to the original article:

Thank you, Candace, for your support of US manufacturing, local shopping and building a strong and vibrant community!

If you’ve followed along with Pet Boss Nation for a while now, you know how strongly we believe in community over competition.

A rising tide lifts all boats. 🛥️

There is power in numbers. 💪

Helping someone else succeed in their pet business helps you succeed in yours.

Not to mention, having other pet business owners as friends and supporters is so invaluable.

You’ll have someone in your life who has “been there”– they’ve experienced or will experience the same hardships you face; they can share in your wins, cheer you on, and vice versa…

AND they can refer your business and expect the same in return!

Enter: Relationship Marketing!
If you are already seeing new customers come in via referrals from other pet businesses, or you are referring out when a customer needs something outside of your area of expertise… why not build on that?

Your customers see you as an expert in whatever it is that you do, and as you build your brand, they will trust you more and more. The same is true for other pet businesses out there! So when you can’t meet their needs with your service, you’ll send them somewhere else… and they will probably go because they trust your judgment!

Putting together a trusted and tight-knit referral network benefits all parties involved.

And because there’s a certain pet industry trade show coming up that would be the PERFECT opportunity to start relationship marketing (cough cough, SuperZoo!), this information couldn’t come at a more ideal time.

So let’s look at how building this type of relationship marketing can help you and your referral partners grow:
✔️Increase brand awareness with a referral network.
By cross-referencing brands, those involved in a referral network are getting in front of new audiences! Your referral partner(s) might share you on their social media accounts, or the customers they refer might tell others about you. It’s then up to you to engage with and hold on to those new sets of eyes and use the exposure to your advantage!

Example at SuperZoo 2022: There is a group of seven exhibitors who are collaborating with an “American Made” scavenger hunt map to drive business to each other, raise awareness about their quality, and stand out on a crowded show floor.

Seven $100 merchandise certificates (one from each participating vendor) will be given away every day at the end of the day to one lucky winner! The grand prize of seven $100 Visa Gift Cards will be drawn an hour before show close and given to one winner.

To qualify for the drawings, attendees must stop by each of the seven vendors to hear about their product line and snag a signature on their map. They will leave the completed map at the last vendor they saw for their chance to win!

Each vendor participating promotes this to their customers, raising awareness for all involved! This is such a fun concept that you can do at home with your local business district, too!

Here are the vendors and their booths. Mark them on your route!

#4462 Puppy Cakes
#4562 Auburn Leathercrafters and A Tail We Can Wag
#4563 Scout and Zoe’s
#4565 Baylee Nasco
#4566 Elmo’s Closet
#4568 Katie’s Pet Products
#4662 Mendota Pet

To see the most up-to-date list of vendors and their specials by show time, visit
✔️Affiliate for them or each other.
Besides bringing in new potential customers, your new partnership might open the door to joint special offers that both you and your partner can offer to your existing client bases. Providing your audiences with an exclusive offer with a trusted pet professional will boost the trust factor, and everyone will reap new benefits!

Example at a Show: Have a big social media following? Ask around your network and find a brand at SuperZoo, or any networking opportunity that is looking for influencers. The brand should align with your values and customer base. Work on giving this particular brand extra visibility in exchange for exclusive deals for your followers and customers. Maybe there’s a little extra margin or a commission in there for you, too!

✔️Become each other’s raving fans!
Don’t have a following yet? As you and your referral partner grow together, you can also scale your partnership and offerings by collaborating as much as possible. Partner in other areas, like hosting events together, attending events together, and creating content together or for each other. You can each be positioned as an expert about the other’s business, which will strengthen both of your relationships with clients.

Local Example: Are there people from your referral network who you admire? Or whose online content you already love? Share the content on your social media and celebrate what they are doing! They may return the favor. Or start doing your own content and invite them to be a guest collaborator.

How can you start to build connections through Relationship Marketing?
1. Reach out to pet businesses in your area.
Is there a certain veterinarian you always send business to? A dog walking service? Trainer? Boarding facility? If so, these are good businesses to start with since you’re already supporting them anyway! Reach out to the owner and arrange a meeting to see how you can help each other.

2. Attend trade shows and consumer expos.
Trade shows and consumer expos are the perfect places to start new marketing relationships! You’ll have access to endless pet industry brands and can strategize who you’d love to work with, what that looks like, and approach them to make it happen!

You can connect with pet industry social media influencers who have a broad audience reach and discuss what working with them would look like. You can even chat with pet businesses that are similar to yours to hear their relationship marketing success stories that you can try out at home! Let the trade show floor be your relationship-building playground!

3. Join online communities to find like-minded business owners.
Not all relationship marketing opportunities are done in person! There are plenty of opportunities to build relationships online too… you just have to know where to look! You can join our free Facebook community for pet industry professionals here to start connecting right away.

You have circles of influence all around you! Tap into those networks in your local area, online, or while traveling. If this article inspires you, let us know! We’d love to hear what you create for yourself through relationship marketing.