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Candace D'Agnolo

The Three Keys to Drawing, Engaging and Keeping Customers

Leverage your experience through all of your marketing channels.




WHAT PERCENTAGE OF your customer base knows why you do what you do? Can they confidently talk about your business philosophies and areas of expertise to their friends (potential customers for you)?

Imagine how they would introduce your business to them: “Sally — you should check out that dog shop on Main with the giant fire hydrant. Yeah, they have neat stuff” versus “Sally — do you want to come with me to this dog nutrition Q&A on Saturday? I’ve found this veteran-owned, natural pet market on Main where the owner, a certified pet nutritionist, only hires at-risk youth to give them guidance, confidence and a second chance. I can’t wait for you to meet her!”

Which do you think Sally is going to act on?

I think it’s pretty clear.

Words like these won’t get around if you’re the best-kept secret. It’s time you stepped up your game by putting all of your amazing knowledge on your website, sharing it on social media and in emails to customers.

Get a jumpstart by hosting a regular Facebook Live Q&A show, or record 20 quick video responses to your most-asked questions. This type of content can be repurposed over and over — showing millennials that you know more about pet parenting than their mobile device.


If you’re hiding behind a basic website, boring social media or phrases like “We’re a resource to our customers” and “We help them make confident decisions,” I would ask, “Are you really? Do you really?” Are you proactive with your knowledge or only when asked?

To compete with big boxes, to compete for your customers’ attention, to earn their dollars, they must know, like and trust you. And that needs to be facilitated by you, so you can influence what they think of you before they have an opportunity to disappear.

To get to know you, it’s important to be visible in as many places as possible:

➤ Have a welcome video on your homepage, telling a little bit about your story and what they can expect when visiting your business.


Fill your business social media with you and your team engaging with products, giving your opinions, fun photos, little videos. Get creative and show off your personality.

Attend chamber, rescue, local and even customers’ events to ensure you always have the pulse of what’s going in on in your area.

Get them to like you through uncovering shared experiences and common interests. Find common ground through asking questions. Show genuine interest in what they have going on and what their needs are. Engage them on a peer-to-peer, pet-parent-to-pet-parent level (instead of being a industry know-it-all). This will win them over a lot faster. One of my favorite books is How to Talk to Anyone by Leil Lowndes. Read it.

Then once they trust you, they won’t shop anywhere else. This is where your experience, integrity, honesty and consistency all intersect. Are you showing your customer consistently, what makes you trustworthy? Identify three to five key topics that you want to make yours. Learn everything you can about them, so you can shout your expertise from the rooftops … all over town!

Leverage your experience through all of your marketing channels to increase your sales and in turn create raving fans … like Sally’s friend.



Candace D’Agnolo owns successful pet business Dogaholics and offers business consulting at Pet Boss Nation. For help creating a customized 90-day plan to tackle all your business goals, download a free worksheet, at Contact her at

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