It is cost effective, easy to set up and it will help you build brand awareness and bond with your customers.
Used correctly, it can also increase repeat purchases over time.
In this article I’ll talk you through what email marketing is and exactly how it can benefit your pet business.
What is Email Marketing?
Email marketing is an efficient way to stay connected with your clients while also promoting your business. Email marketing comes in many shapes and forms, and you might already be doing some email marketing without even thinking about it in your pet business today:
- Newsletters – sharing company news
- Promotional Campaigns – emails promoting discounts, sales or special offers
- Invitations – Invitations to special pet business events
- Survey Emails – emails asking for customer feedback or testimonials
- Transactional Emails – emails confirming a transaction, and delivery details.
Why Does My Pet Biz need Email Marketing?
Whether you are a dog groomer, pet store owner, dog walker or independent veterinarian – chances are you are competing with some really big brands and chains out there for the attention of your customers. The big brands might be splashing out on big advertising campaigns and glossy flyers – whereas you are a one man band with a limited marketing budget.
Email marketing can help you build a bond with your customers, establishing you as an authority on pets in your area, and letting your customers get to know you and your services. You know your customers personally and you know what their most common questions and worries about their pets are – that sort of relationship is really difficult for big brands to compete with.
Also, if your customers feel like they know you they will trust your opinion on anything pet related and your name will always be front of mind.
Here are a couple of examples of ways email marketing can help build a relationship with your customers:
- Behind the scenes stories – talk about things like staff training, new window displays or that adorable puppy’s first bath.
- Frequently asked questions – make for excellent newsletter topics. Do your customers always ask about ear cleaning? Then write about it! Helpful tips on grooming, weight loss, dental hygiene are other similar topics.
- Introducing staff – let your customers find out about your staff and what their areas of expertise might be.
- Write about pet news in your area, fairs and dog shows, your favourite dog parks
- Reward loyal customers and let them be the first to know about upcoming promotions.
How often do you see your customers?
If you’re a dog walker – chances are you only really meet your clients when you first sign them up. If you’re a groomer – perhaps every 6-8 weeks. Email marketing is an excellent way not only to stay in touch with your customers but also to increase repeat business.
- Friendly reminders that their pet is due for their vaccination, or grooming.
- Information about pet and tick season – and how your products and services can help.
- Reminding them to book ahead for the holiday seasons
- New stock – let them know what’s new in store!
Can’t I just do all of this on Facebook?
But surely Email marketing is old fashioned and on its way out? Can’t I just do all of this on social media?
The short answer is yes, you could do some of this on social media but you would be treading on thin ice. Remember that you do not own your Facebook page or Twitter account, and you have no control over your content there.
The rules on Facebook change often and they make no secret of the fact that they are looking to make money out of brands looking to promote their content on their site.
Let me give you an example – My Dog Blog has about 1400 followers at the moment on Facebook. Because Facebook’s limits the number of fans they show my posts to – a recent post only received a reach of about 300 people.
As the Facebook admin of that page that left me with two choices – either work really hard on creating super engaging content that people will share or comment on, or pay Facebook for more visibility. If I would have sent out the same update via email I would have had much more control over who sees my update.
In an ideal world you should be on both social media as well as email as there are many ways the two can work together to create creative and effective marketing for your pet business – but that a topic for an entirely different blog post!
What you should start doing today
Start thinking about how you can collect email addresses for your pet business. Remember that you need to ask people for their permission before you can send them newsletters though, otherwise you run the risk of being labelled a spammer.
What are your questions about pet business email marketing? Let me know in the comments section below.