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Pet Product News Editorial Blog:

February 6, 2012

Reaching Out to Your Customers

By Julie Jacobs

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The holidays have come and gone; now we need to keep the attention of our customers and, hopefully, new-found customers from the past shopping rush. Although we all need to consistently reach out to our customers, it is particularity important to do so now. They are still a captive audience wrapped up in the holiday spirit and hopefully still ready to buy, buy, buy. If you captured their buying power in the past weeks, you now want to hold it for the future as well.

There are a multitude of avenues for marketing. Print advertising is still a wonderful way to reach out to consumers. You can also advertise your website and products in the local and national newspapers. Local magazines or major city magazines provide opportunities for color advertising. Local pet directory magazines are ideal venues, as they directly target your market. Dog/pet magazines also give you national exposure, as do the many rescue charities that do magazine mailings to their donors. Want to take your online shopping site worldwide? Then take out an ad in airline magazines for exposure across the continents.

Keep their attention

Although prime-time TV advertising can be costly, some stations offer off-peak packages that can be enticing. Also, some cable networks can have attractive pricing, especially for off-peak hours. This type of marketing may be a once-a-year tool, but if you can afford it throughout the year, it cannot hurt. If your budget can be stretched just a bit further, local radio is relatively inexpensive and reaches a wide audience. Don’t overlook your local rescue groups as they often send out mail. New dog owners not only love doggy gifts, they need to purchase the basics, too.

Ideal for any retailer, especially online, are e-blasts that can reach a huge audience with a click of a button. Constant Contact is a wonderful tool to assist with these. You can create colorful, eye-catching fliers and mailers to email to your marketing list. Yes, it takes time to create and get the initial hang of how to do it, but once you do, it is quite simple.
 
The easiest thing to do is create a template flyer with your company’s letterhead and/or logo and use it for all your mailings. This eliminates the time needed to create a new flyer each time, as well as reinforces store recognition. During the holidays, add some holiday graphics. Don’t have an email capture button on your website to build your mailing list? Constant Contact gives you a simple solution by letting you install a quick link to do so.

Other ideas for getting your online business out there include postcard mailings to targeted markets and sending promotional specials to key businesses or even to colleges.

And no matter what you do, don’t forget to occasionally promote. Offer any of the following to entice a purchase or a gain new loyal customer: a percentage off with a code; buy-one-get-one-free; a coupon to use for their next purchase if purchased during a specific time period; free shipping; gift with purchase; or other enticing promotions.

If someone doesn’t own a pet of their own, they are sure to know someone who does; so get your store’s name out in as many places as possible.


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