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Talk About Yourself in the Third Person — Really! — and More Tips for Your Pet Business

Bonuses? Let them eat cake.

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TESTIMONIALSCapitalize on Being Local

There’s an emerging interest in localism and a real desire to support main street retailers affected by COVID-19, according to market research firm Mintel. To tap this trend, Mintel researcher Alexis DeSalva Kahler urges you to use real customers and testimonials in advertising. “Customer feedback and reviews signal quality and trust more than ever, and can serve as a stamp of approval,” she says.

SANITATIONDeliver On Safety Promises

Shoppers are taking a tremendous amount of time researching where they want to shop. When dealing with customers who are nervous about their health, the message about what you’re doing to keep them safe is important. “If you tell me, for example, that you are going to do everything in your power to keep me safe, I choose you for those reasons,” explains small-business consultant Kate Peterson of Performance Concepts. “If you tell me that masks are optional, and I feel good about that, I choose you for that reason.”

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SELF-IMPROVEMENTKnow yourself Better

Given the list of people who frequently refer to themselves in the third person — Donald Trump, The Rock, Kanye West — it wouldn’t seem self-awareness was among their most evident attributes. But as self-help author Gretchen Rubin noted on her blog, thinking about yourself in the third person can be a direct path to self-knowledge. “Yes, I admit, this approach makes me sound a bit affected,” she wrote, “but the thing is, it really works.” Feeling depleted, she recalled, “I asked myself, ‘What’s the best medicine for Gretchen when she feels drained?’ And, when I framed the question from outside myself, I knew the answer.” Cheesy? Sure. But some of the best happiness strategies are. Although, yes, we agree, that this one is probably best done silently unless you’re alone.

MANAGEMENTBonuses? Let them Eat Cake

Bonus season is on the way for many businesses. If that includes yours, here’s something to think about: When unequal rewards are given out, there will be less dissatisfaction if they aren’t actually countable, says Kellogg Management professor Neal Roese. Research showed that people who received less cake than counterparts weren’t as dissatisfied as those receiving less cash they could count, focusing more on what they received rather than what they didn’t, he writes in Kellogg Insights.

TECHNOLOGYEnsure Web Accessibility

Is your website serving the sizable percentage of the population with low vision? How about those who are colorblind? Seventy percent of websites don’t. To ensure your website still offers accessibility, Peggy Gartin, marketing expert in the vision industry, suggests taking this simple test: Turn off color and look at your website. Does it still make sense? If not, it has color cues that 7 percent of Americans can’t see because they’re colorblind. Second, head over to colororacle.org and unplug your mouse. “Can you still navigate the site with your keyboard? If not, then someone using a screen reader would be stuck, too,” Gartin says. “Work with your developer to make things better for people with disabilities.”

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MANAGEMENTAccidentally Human

Doing a Power Point presentation to a local business group? Break the ice by “accidentally” dropping an incorrect slide into your presentation. Entrepreneur Magazine’s Ultimate Small Business Marketing Guide tells of one speaker whose show was interrupted by a picture of himself … as a baby, in a bathtub, naked. The crowd roared as the speaker feigned embarrassment, saying “Hmm, I wonder how that got in there.” And what could have become a ho-hum speech instantly became memorable.

DECORPower Of Poetry

Want an ultra low-cost way to add personality and romance to your bathroom? Tack pages of your favorite poetry up on the walls. For Liz Lambert, owner of the hip Hotel San Jose in Austin, TX, this was a cost-saving idea that eventually became one of the hotel’s most popular features. (Extra tip: If the pages start disappearing, it could be a sign that you’re not stocking enough toilet paper. )

Since launching in 2017, PETS+ has won 16 major international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact PETS+'s editors at editor@petsplusmag.com.

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