Resources To Master Your Pet Brand
You are probably aware of the hundreds if not thousands of resources out there to run a business. It can honestly be overwhelming. We’ve been there ourselves.
So, we’ve decided to compile a list of resources for those of you who are wanting to master your brand from the ground up. We’ve included resources on designing social media graphics, building and ensuring a seamless, branded client experience with a CRM, and protecting yourself legally. These resources are either tools we’ve used here at Dox Design or those we’ve vetted and recommended to clients in the past (with great feedback)!
Let’s get to it.
Oh, and in honor of being transparent, Dox Design may receive compensation for recommending some of the below resources. However, know that we would never recommend tools that we don’t either use, love, and or know have been beneficial for other businesses out there!
One of the best investments you can make for your business to streamline your workflow as well as create a seamless client experience is through customer relationship management (CRM) software.
Dox Design uses and loves Honeybook. From one place, we’re able to send proposals, invoices, and contracts. We can save custom canned emails and seamlessly flow through a workflow for each client. This allows us to stay organized, on top of things, and make sure our clients feel supported and taken care of throughout our entire branding process.
Arguably one of the scariest parts of owning a business is handling legal matters, such as contracts and liability. It’s also necessary.
However, these contracts, agreements, and privacy policies can cost a significant amount, especially if you are working with a lawyer to get these custom created for you.
Thankfully, there’s a more affordable option and that’s with contract templates. Both The Contract Shop and MyLegalBFF are made with service-based entrepreneurs in mind and allow you the ability to have access to these contracts at a great price.
All you have to do is customize it to your own business and you’re set.
Canva (for beginners)
If you need custom-designed social media graphics, Facebook banners, flyers, business cards, you name it, Canva is the first place to go!
You can start a free account to access the basics or upgrade your account to get access to your custom brand guide. This grants you the ability to save your brand colors, logos, and upload your own brand fonts.
The platform is very simple to use, even if you’ve never designed anything before, which is why it’s the best graphic design tool out there for beginners.
Adobe Illustrator or InDesign (for experienced designers)
If you’re looking to upgrade your design skills or have full control over every aspect of your designs, Adobe Illustrator or InDesign is where it’s at! In fact, we use Adobe Indesign for ourselves AND our client designs.
Design issues pop up ALL the time whether you need blog graphics, Instagram story designs, or anything else for that matter.
And, if you’re worried about getting started and learning the platforms as these are more advanced platforms, there are plenty of courses out there to help you get started – check out Skillshare. Adobe also has masterclasses on their website to help you get started and improve your design skills. View that here.
I mean, we are the experts. Take out the stress of spending hours on designs, learning the platforms, etc. and hire us. All of our current/past branding clients have access to our Design Lab, where we help you continually execute your brand presence everywhere outside of what we’ve already created for you. Because trust us, things do come up. So, think of us as designers on stand by! Learn more here.
We’ve chatted about both of these platforms before, and for good reason. They are both such an asset for those who don’t yet have custom photography. Unsplash and Pixabay offer free stock photography to use on social media, websites, flyers, etc. We recommend searching through and not just picking the first picture that you see. Think about your brand and what images resonate with your messaging when finding stock photography for your pet business.
Email & Document Organization – G Suite
G Suite is the go-to when it comes to professional email and file/document organization. If you don’t have a professional email address yet (and no, firstname.lastname@example.org doesn’t count), it’s time to do it. Not only does this help you reduce the potential of spam and hacking, but it also shoots your professionalism up a notch!
P.S. Some CRM systems don’t even allow you to sign up without having a professional email address, so there’s yet another reason to upgrade that email address!
Google Drive is also a great way to keep track of your content, whether it’s writing and organizing your blog posts, sharing information with clients, or working on projects with a team.
Team Communication – Slack
Slack is an amazing way to stay in contact with your team members without the hassle of writing emails. It’s essentially an instant messaging platform that you can organize into different channels. If you have a marketing team, a group of employees you want in the same group, etc., Slack has you covered.
Slack also has a searchable history, so you never lose past communication. We use it on the daily here at Dox Design and wouldn’t know what to do without it!
Sometimes, it’s not feasible to post to social media in real-time. If you’re too busy to post on Instagram and Facebook every single day, social media scheduling may be the answer for you.
If you’re planning your content ahead of time, which we highly recommend, imagine how much time you’d save if you scheduled a full month’s worth of social media content in one go!
The two platforms we use here at Dox is Preview and Later. Preview is great for Instagram because you can repost other people’s posts (great for e-commerce businesses). They also have a stock photo library embedded within the platform, which can be a huge time saver. Later allows you to schedule posts to Instagram (& Instagram Stories), Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter!
Speaking of planning ahead and producing social media content, Dox Design put something wonderful together with Fur Friends like you in mind. Take a look at our 2020 Master Social Media Planner, full of a year’s worth of content ideas, campaign ideas, social media graphics, and more.
Email Marketing – MailChimp
In today’s marketing world, email marketing is probably one of the most important pieces of any strategy. Dox Design uses MailChimp to custom design email newsletters for our subscribers. You can use email marketing to nurture your audience and build trust, increase sales, or segment your audience in a powerful way that social media just can’t do!
Design Inspiration – Pinterest
I mean, what better tool is there than Pinterest for design inspiration? If you haven’t binged on Pinterest for hours, then you haven’t lived! It’s any designer’s (or human’s) dream platform.
We use it on the daily for inspiration. It’s the best. It helps us with our own designs as well as designs for clients. Go ahead and give us a follow to see some of our favorite designs, patterns, and icons.
Community Support – Our Favorite Facebook Groups
The pet industry is a large and competitive one, but that doesn’t mean we can’t support one another and join the ‘community over competition’ movement, right?
Some of our favorite Fur Friends in the pet industry are our competitors, and we wouldn’t have it any other way!
Here are some of our favorite communities worth joining:
Working with Dog – a paid group that is WELL worth the money. It’s a group exclusively for petpreneurs who want to connect, brainstorm, vent and rant, gain insights and opinions from peers, and even make a few friends, as listed on the group description page. It’s founded by the one and only J. Nichole Smith.
American Pet Professionals – a group created for all pet store owners, groomers, manufacturers, distributors, sales reps, media, etc. that would like to discuss, promote, network, or ask questions about the pet industry, managed by Eric Bittman.
Unleashed Petpreneurs – a balance-based marketing community for pet business owners to get advice, feedback, and grow your online space together with other petpreneurs, founded by my friend, Mikaela Vargas.
Pet Boss Nation – a coaching and consulting community geared towards bringing profits to pet businesses and founded by the wonderful, Candace D’Angolo!
Design Support For Pet Products or Services (Dox Design’s Facebook Group!) – Our group is the go-to place if you have ANY questions on branding, design, or marketing for your pet-loving business. In the group, we provide freebie downloads, expert interviews, tips and tricks, marketing templates, and more!
Well, there you have it! We hope you find these resources helpful as you grow your own business and help enhance and master your pet brand!
Like always, if you ever need an extra paw, we’ve got your back. Get in touch here.