Pet Marketing eNewsletter
Everything pet retailers and dog product manufacturers need to know about pet marketing.
DogChannel Marketing Team |
The Average Dog Owner on Getting a New Puppy
By DogChannel Marketing Team | Posted: July 31, 2013, 2 p.m. EDT
Dog Fancy and DogChannel.com asked dog owners what's important when they bring home a new puppy. From what type of food they buy for their puppy to whether they had their puppies microchipped, we have the lowdown on what really matters to new puppy owners.
To find out what these new puppy owners had to say, click on the image below to see a larger version.
Five Tips for Beginning Social Media
Get started marketing your business with social media by following these 5 easy steps.
By DogChannel Marketing Team | Posted: June 12, 2013, 4 p.m. EDT
At first you ignored it, hoping it would disappear. Then you tried hiding from it, thinking no one would notice. You even tried justifying your reasons for not getting involved, but they just turned into tired excuses. Now, pet owners are clamoring for it and your competitors are consumed with it.
Face it, social media has you in a corner and the only way out is to open your arms and like you would a pouncing dog, give it a great big hug.
So to help you get acquainted with man’s new best friend, we came up with a short list of items to help you on your way to co-existing peacefully (and profitably) with social media.
#1: Find Your Pet Community
Find out where your pet community is gathering. A simple Google search will do, or for more in-depth study use Google Analytics to measure the pet industry, your brand and even your own name. You may already have a presence on dog-friendly or pet loving social networks and not even know it.
#2: Choose Your No. 1
One of the biggest mistakes made by social media "newbies” is they try to dive into every social media hangout in their community. In order to put quality time and measured effort into your networking venture, start with one social media site and focus all your attention into it. Check out how DogChannel.com has built a following on Facebook!
#3: Get on a Schedule
Set up specific times during the day to make posts and check your timeline. If possible, write your posts ahead of time. This gives you a real sense of purposeful marketing and not just something you’re doing on the fly. This is also the time to engage in conversation with your followers – answer questions and respond to comments. In other words, cultivate relationships and prospect!
#4: Find Your Voice
After years of cold calling, your voice may be a little robotic. Social media will help you warm up to your customers and clients by connecting with them on a more personal level. Revealing your unique voice and personality will help establish brand credibility, as well as develop a trusting relationship. See how Dog Fancy has recently revamped their Twitter presence.
#5: Close the Deal
Make it easy for your followers to access your pet product or service. Remember people aren’t on social media to be sold to, so be subtle in your marketing and skip the blatant sales speak. Instead, optimize your call to action by enticing followers to visit your website and invite them to share your posts using sharing buttons. And try to follow your postings with a link back to your website, product site or catalog page.
Once you’re arm in arm with social media and ready to walk off into the sunset, check out our article "5 Ways to Deliver Your Marketing Message" from the June issue of I-5 Publishing Pet Marketing Newsletter for more ideas.
The Business of Adoption
An interview with adoption innovator Mike Arms.
By DogChannel Marketing Team | Posted: May 17, 2013, 7 p.m. EDT
This month I-5 Publishing is excited to speak with animal advocate and pet adoption champion Mike Arms. You may know Mike as the president of Helen Woodward Animal Center in San Diego and the founder of the Home 4 the Holidays Pet Adoption Program. For marketers, Mike is known for helping to change the business of pet adoption through innovative marketing, rebranding strategies and his "Business of Saving Lives” concept.
If you’re not familiar with the life-changing story of Mike Arms, we encourage you to read his bio on the speakers section of ACES Conference website.
I-5: When you first presented the concept of modeling adoption centers after businesses and retail stores, did you come across any resistance from within the industry?
Mike Arms: I had groups questioning my method of advertising in newspapers and distributing subway placards. They thought I was exploiting the animals. But when I urged these individuals to look in the classified section of the newspaper and see how many backyard breeders and pet stores were advertising there, and how they were in direct competition to helping orphan pets, they began to understand the concept.
I-5: You’ve mastered rebranding by way of language – replacing terms like "shelter” with "adoption center” and "mixed breeds” with "blends”. Why does the simple act of changing a word make such a difference?
Mike Arms: I think it’s about changing public perception. Years ago in our country, for example, we had children’s orphanages and they were perceived to be places that really didn’t care for children. … Today we no longer hear of orphanages. Instead, we hear of children’s centers, youth homes, etc. The negative stigma has changed.
Animal shelters and dog pounds have carried that same negative stigma for many years, conveying a perception of having sick, aggressive and throw-away pets. It’s our turn now to come into the 21st century and promote the great work that we do and the great pets that we have in our care.
I-5: In 2007 the ASPCA kicked off an extremely successful campaign using images of caged and sickly-looking animals. What are your feelings on that sort of advertising?
Mike Arms: When the Sarah McLachlan ASPCA campaign first aired, I had many supporters saying how they hated those commercials and would change the channel so they didn’t have to see all those sad faces! At the same time, it tugged at the heart strings of millions of viewers, and they donated to help orphan pets.
Me personally, I don’t care for those types of ads, but the results were great for the ASPCA, enabling them to receive more funds and further expand their programs.
I-5: Are there certain marketing approaches you avoid at all costs?
Mike Arms: The biggest marketing approach that I avoid is promoting free pets. I feel the organizations doing this are just devaluing their pets and telling the public, "If you want to get a good pet then purchase one out of a newspaper. If you want something cheap, that has no value, then come and get a bargain basement pet from us.”
I believe we must put the value back into the pets and promote them as such, as well as promote the work we do and give value to our services.
I-5: You often use clever headlines in promoting orphan pets. Give us an example of one of your favorite headline-generated success stories?
Mike Arms: Several years ago, we received a 9-year-old Rottweiler that had recently given birth to six puppies. One of our managers said to me, "Ok, what are we going to do with her? Who will be interested in a 9-year-old Rottweiler with six puppies?” I said, ‘Well, if you say it that way – no one. But we’ll run a story to get media attention for her and her babies, and she’ll be adopted in no time.’ On the news release, our headline read: "63 Year Old Gives Birth to Sextuplets!”
It became a media frenzy, and within 30 minutes we had 20 calls to adopt the mom. After that, it was easy to place the rest of them. You have to give the media something that they can have fun with and draw attention to your orphan pets.
I-5: How big a role has social media and online fundraising played in marketing to your community?
Mike Arms: There is no question that [social media is] the future for marketing orphan pets. We have been monitoring this for several years now and we constantly see an increase in awareness from the public because of social media networking. In addition, because of online fundraising, we see a decrease in printing and postage expenses.
More and more, organizations are coming to Helen Woodward Animal Center to learn how to increase their adoptions through marketing and social media. What was once taboo is now at the forefront for helping track new potential adopters.
I-5: Where do you see the adoption and rescue industry in the next five years?
Mike Arms: The biggest key is this: for every adoption, there’s one less puppy mill pet sold. I believe in the next five years, with strong emphasis to increase adoptions nationwide by 20%, we’ll decrease puppy mill sales by the same amount and most importantly decrease euthanasia.
I-5: In September 2013 you’ll once again host the Animal Center Educational Services (ACES) Conference in San Diego. The conference has become a huge success bringing together animal welfare professionals from around the world. What makes ACES so successful and different from other conferences?
Mike Arms: I have been honored to speak at conferences all over the country and in different parts of the world. The strong point of the ACES Conference is to bring all the organizations – limited access, full access, pet rescue – all together, working together.
The ACES Conference also gives animal welfare volunteers and part-time workers (who are using their great talents in enhancing the quality of life for orphan pets) a vision on how to come into the animal welfare industry full-time and get paid a competitive salary.
I-5: There must be 100 things you love about your work. Tell us the one thing that excites you most about what you do on a daily basis.
Mike Arms: My team has developed a system on our computers that sets a daily adoption goal, based on last year’s history, and every time we do an adoption during the day, it’s posted to all of our internal computers with the faces of each pet adopted.
After helping millions of pets over the years, I still get excited when I look at these individual faces, knowing they are no longer an orphan but a beautiful part of a wonderful family.
For more Mike Arms insights, drop by his website What Would Mike Say and follow him on Twitter @MikeArms.
The Top Ten Dog Related Google Searches
Ever wonder what dog keywords people search for most often? Here are the 10 most searched dog terms in Google.
By DogChannel Marketing Team | Posted: April 16, 2013, 7 p.m. EDT
Lucky for marketers, consumers search the Internet for just about everything regarding their pets’ needs, which makes it fairly easy to figure out what’s important to them. So we did a little research and came up with the 10 most searched dog-related keywords and phrases:
10. Dog Toys
7. Dog Beds
5. Dog Kennel
4. Dog House
1. Dog Food
Source: Google AdWords
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