Increasing client loyalty through love for the pets

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Connect with your target market via their pets

Tomorrow is the day we celebrate Panther’s birthday. Last week, I got an email birthday card from our new vet. Not just a happy birthday email, a link to a cute (of course) online card. I’ve been a cat caretaker (you don’t “own” a cat) for years and never had a vet send an acknowledgement of any of their birthdays.

From a marketing standpoint, this is a genius idea. Taking it a step further, the vet office could have sent me the email card along with an invitation to stop by and pick up a little cat toy. How many people would tell all their friends about that? So it would be a very inexpensive strategy to garner word of mouth advertising, and as we all know, there’s no better new client than one who is referred by a current client.

According to The American Pet Products Association, in 2011 Americans spent nearly $51 billion on food, vet costs, grooming, boarding, pet hotels, pet-sitting, day care, toys and other paraphernalia. Canadians spent $8.9 billion.

The point is, people LOVE their pets, as much or sometimes more than their children! So even if you’re not a veterinarian or in the business of selling anything related to pets, you could communicate with your clients or prospective clients ABOUT their pets and create a strong bond.

Let’s say you’re a financial planner. You could include in the client intake info a question about your new clients’ pets. What kind of animal do you have, what’s its name, what month is its birthday? Now when the dog’s birthday comes around, you send out a card with a dog treat, or a gift card to a local pet store, or a gift certificate for a pet photography session. THAT will get you talked about more than sending a birthday card to the client herself.

No matter what line of business you’re in, if you have a newsletter (what do I mean, IF? Of course you do, right?!), you can invite readers’ interaction by encouraging them to send in pictures or stories about their pets for publication. Guaranteed, that issue will be one they hold on to and pass along, which means longer shelf-life and exposure for your messages.

I know several people who smartly use their own pets in their print, online and video marketing. Doing so allows you to share a more personal aspect of yourself and helps your target market feel like they know you better and cements a bond. Want an example? Check out this episode of Newsletter Guru TV.

In what other brilliant ways can you incorporate pets into your marketing strategy?

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