The Power of Email Marketing
The pet industry continues to grow, and it remains a great market for savvy business owners that offer unique products and services. The numbers speak for themselves. According to the American Pet Products Association, the U.S. pet industry was worth $66.75 billion in 2016, with $69.36 billion in spending projected for this year.
Many people in the industry probably already know this. What you might not know, though, is that many businesses are leaving money on the table by missing out on an important marketing opportunity.
A report by the global management consulting firm Mc-Kinsey & Co. found that email is still a significantly more effective way to acquire customers than social media. Many retailers have picked up on the importance of social media marketing yet are failing to regularly reach out to their customers via email.
And it’s not just retailers—the industry as a whole has been slow to realize the full potential of email marketing.
Whether your business is new or established, large or small, there’s huge potential in email marketing. So what exactly is it, and what do you need to know to utilize this powerful marketing strategy and grow your pet business?
Building Your Email List
As its name suggests, email marketing is simply marketing via email. Email marketing can be used to target potential and existing customers. So how do you get those email addresses? A simple way is by offering a free e-newsletter subscription on your website in exchange for a name and email. You could also give a small gift as an incentive for customers who provide their details on a customer comment slip right there in your shop.
Customers you’ve already sold to are most likely to provide their email address, whether on your website or in your shop, and that’s great news for you. Studies on consumer buying habits have shown that it’s much easier to sell to an existing customer than it is to find new customers to sell to. Your existing customers know what you offer, they like your business, and they trust you to deliver value. Email marketing can be a great way to build a list of prospects and customers, and stay in touch with them to make sure they think of you the next time they need your products or services.
Marketing to Your List
Once you’ve started to build a list of emails, you’ll need to target your list with regular, engaging emails that build trust and loyalty. So, what are you going to send people?
Here are a few ideas:
- Pet health tips
- Interesting news from your business
- Inspiring pet stories
- News of upcoming pet events
- Special offers, coupons and sale items
- Any other pet-based content you want to include
Emails are a great way to share all this information. To make it easier, you should set everything up with an email marketing service; search online and you’ll find lots of options. Both free and paid versions are available.
Email marketing is cost-effective and accessible. You also have the ability to track your results. Popular email marketing services will show you email open rates, links people have clicked on, and a variety of other useful statistics that will help you improve your efficiency and results.
With a simple system like this, you can stay in touch with your customers on a regular basis. Weekly emails work well; however, keep in mind that they should be sent every two weeks at minimum. Some of these emails can be shorter messages, but consider a longer monthly e-newsletter edition providing more in-depth content. You want to stay in regular contact so your customers remember you.
The key is to maintain consistent contact in a useful, nonthreatening way. Don’t make everything about advertising and selling—if you do, people are likely to ignore your emails. Instead, provide value. Be interesting. Be helpful. Tell stories.
Remember, you’re building a relationship. You want your customers to know who you are, look forward to your emails, and have trust in your service and expertise—so they’ll come to you when the need arises.
Standing Out in the Crowd
It’s an increasingly crowded marketplace, and connecting with your customers in an authentic way can make all the difference to your bottom line. You’ll need to be consistent, experimental and dedicated to providing value. But the end result is well worth it as it will lead to more traffic through your doors—traffic that is typically revenue generating.
But maybe you just don’t have the time to put this strategy in place, writing frustrates you or the technical side of things intimidates you. If you prefer to delegate this task, your web developer can get your email marketing system up and running, and a good content writer can generate ideas and write compelling emails and e-newsletters for your business.
However you do it, start using this simple email marketing strategy and watch your pet business grow.
Richard Rowlands is a writer and marketer for the pet industry, and a keen pet enthusiast. He works with pet businesses to improve their marketing and increase profits. To find out more, visit his website at richardrowlands.com.