All pet retailers that have been in business for at least 2 months know that they don’t see (most) customers more than once a month. Keeping your business as their go-to shop for all their pet needs is tough, especially since it will take time to dazzle them with your incredible customer service skills.
How can you stay connected with those infrequent customers and keep them from slipping into Jeff Bezos’s hands?
The internet is the best-worst thing ever invented. Everything you ever wondered about is at your fingertips…actually it’s probably in your pocket right now since the invention of Smart Phones (mine’s beside me on my desk).
When Fluffy has runny stools, most pet parents rush to the nearest device and ask their trusted friend Google. They read some articles, fret a little, then try what they think will work best.
What makes a pet owner trust what they read?
I could write all kinds of strange information and slap it on the internet (conspiracy websites).
Most people know who has posted what – an article from Dogs Naturally Magazine is going to have a better trust rate than Aunty May’s Dog Website. But why?
It doesn’t happen over night. You need to offer useful information, from accredited sources which you can link back to in your blog post article, thus building both credibility and search-ability.
Your posts should be thoughtfully planned and researched. A well written blog post can take a few hours to research and write.
Understand what your clients are searching for – honestly, Google is great for that. Just start typing and you’ll get the list of the top searches. You’re welcome for that copywriting industry hack…Google it and get topics. Don’t worry, it’s not an Illuminati level secret.
This search won’t give you credibility, but it will give you content ideas. Credibility will come slowly as you provide your readers with valuable information that works.
Not everyone can offer newsletters due to franchise restrictions, CASTL regulations, and most just don’t know what to do or how.
Newsletters are a slow build with a big impact. Think of them as a volcano of customers. Over time, you will grow your email list, it will feel daunting, writing newsletters for one or two subscribers, then boom – the list will prove quite profitable.
Your readers will trust you. Grow to enjoy your letters, like a good friend staying in touch with heart-warming news.
I have read some terrible newsletters (really terrible), all they did was offer me sales, push me to subscribe or fall flat for useful content. They all ended up in the ‘unsubscribe’ column.
Offer your readers insight, stories, tips and tricks and keep them informed. Remind your readers that you’re more than a business, you’re their trusted advisor, the person they turn to for help, yours is the only pet retail business they will support.
Give people a reason to trust you, even when they don’t speak with you everyday.
Social Media Channels
If your store isn’t on at least one social media channel, stop reading and email me right now (firstname.lastname@example.org), I will suggest where you should be – free.
Since my inbox didn’t ping, I’ll assume you’re on at least one channel. Good. Aim for two, but good start.
Are you posting regularly? Don’t lie…it’s only to yourself anyway and that’s worse than lying to me. On any given channel, you should post at least 4 times a week, depending on your channel and content ability, you should post more than once per day.
I know it’s a lot, that’s why social media managers make good money.
Be consistent, that doesn’t mean post every day at the exact same time. It just means consistent. Daily, twice a day, whatever, the goal is to post regularly not every other week or once a month when you remember it.
Offer your followers relatable and meaningful content. Share your latest blog post, or better yet, break it up into tidbits and spread that content out. Show them products in action, behind the scenes and fun things that happen. Share their stories and engage with them.
Posting regularly is great, but make sure you take time out of your day to scroll through your feeds and engage with your customers. Congratulate them when they have a work anniversary, wish them happy birthday or compliment an artistic image they shared.
What do any of those things have to do with pet retail? Nothing. Engagement has everything to do with keeping your business top of mind.
Free tip: follow relevant brands, hashtags and more. For my mom’s Pet Valu store, I follow @thecityofpickering where her store is located. Why? Because when I engage with posts from them, I am directly engaging with members of her community and subtly introducing her store to new prospects without paid advertising or direct sales.
That’s a Wrap
As a pet retailer, you don’t always have the luxury of seeing your clients daily or even weekly. Staying in front of your clients and prospects can be tough. Online shopping and paid advertisements are appearing before your customers at every turn.
When they buy a toy or treat box online, it means they won’t buy it from you when they come to pick up their monthly pet food.
Staying in touch with clients won’t stop them from shopping online, but it will help build their trust in you and loyalty.
If you need help sorting out which avenue best suits your clientele and your budget, email me. It’s free.
Tell me what you’re struggling with, tell me what you want to see happen with your business and I will offer the best solutions that I have at my disposal.
Brianne Vander Neut
Top Dog at Dogwood Copywriting