How to turn pets into an irresistibly adorable marketing department
Even better, using the power of pets the right way increases sales despite the market dominance of big box retailers.
Of course, the basic premise behind ‘pet marketing’ is that pet owners first convert to customers and then let their furry friends do the persuasive work to generate more sales.
In a moment I’ll explain the human psychology behind how this persuasion strategy works and how to make it work for you.
CREATING A CUSTOMER FOR LIFE
My first forehead slapping moment occurred when I realized how the marketing power of pets worked on me.
Hey, even a headstrong research scientist like me has marketing hot spots.
The experience began when I was googling a solution to a digestive problem Dixie, my little 11-year-old terrier mix, had.
The pages that stood out to me the most were the ones where other pet owners were commenting.
I was grateful to find good, honest advice from other people who love their furry friends as much as I love mine.
I paid particular attention to the products my fellow pet owners recommended to me. They influenced me to improve Dixie’s food brand and purchase specific supplements.
I am now a loyal customer of products that I have not purchased before.
That story, brief as it is, is just one particular personal experience related to pet marketing. In this case it was pet supplies.
It made me wonder how this strategy could work for other types of products.
My thoughts led me to realize how a different personal experience with pet marketing worked for me. This time it had nothing to do with pet supplies.
My family loves to travel. We like to take Dixie and her little “sister,” 3-year-old Ellie, with us.
Finding good hotels that allow pets, without charging extra for them, can be a challenge.
That’s how we call Mac. He’s a “spokesperson” for a national hotel chain.
He is cute. He is persuasive.
Mac is all over the hotel website. He talks about how he loves staying there. And how the people at the reception tell him that he is a good boy. He welcomes pet owners to come with their little friends and stay a while.
That was all it took to convince my family to always plan trips around Mac’s hotels. That’s the only place we stay when Dixie and Ellie travel with us.
So far I’ve described how we became loyal customers of two completely different types of businesses, both of which are fueled by pet marketing.
I’m sure I wouldn’t have to dig too deep to see how other companies have used this approach to influence me.
I answer because I love my pets.
The appeal of this strategy goes straight to the heart: mine.
Now, as a marketer, I realize how “pet marketing” won me over. And how you can persuade others.
It raises the question of what other companies are harnessing the power of pets in their marketing plans.
What I discovered is the psychology behind why this strategy works.
More importantly, I also found out how any business can implement it for optimal results.
THE UNDERLYING PRINCIPLE OF PERSUASION
The foundation of pet marketing involves a powerful persuasion principle called social proof.
Social proof is well known in marketing. The value of it is so great that my old colleague, Dr. Robert Cialdini, talked about it in his book “Influence: Psychology of Persuasion.”
It’s one of your six keys to persuasion.
Pet marketing in particular lends itself to this principle. it’s like a social proof accelerator.
For me, the endorsement of other pet owners was a bigger influence than the standard testimonials. I paid more attention to other pet owners because their feedback was voluntary and genuine. It appeared on forums, blogs and social networks without any apparent request from any company.
[If you’re thinking about generating automatic referrals, then – BINGO!]
By the way, Mac hotel sponsorships provide social proof in two ways. The first is subconsciously very subtle. Mac gives the impression of a happy customer, even though we consciously know that he isn’t actually talking.
The second is comments from human visitors to Mac posts. They are unsolicited and persuasive.
HARNESS THE POWER OF PETS
The fuel behind pet marketing is a steady stream of satisfied pet-owning customers.
Getting them in the first place depends on how well your standard marketing strategies are working.
All of the most effective ways to do this require good marketing copy for every aspect of your digital presence.
It could mean maintaining an attractive website, running lots of ads, building a strong social media presence, creating effective bait pieces to build a subscriber list, sending out newsletters, recording podcasts and videos, and putting together lots of blog posts, press releases, and more. press. , magazines and e-books… the list is endless.
Persuasive writing is at the heart of it all.
Once you’re up and running, the next three steps will harness the power of pet marketing.
1) Give your customers the opportunity to brag about their pets on social media. They’re going to do it anyway. You could also have them do it on your company’s social media pages.
Social media is a big driver here.
Videos and images from pet owners are a key source of engaging content.
All you have to do is heal it.
Satisfied customers showing off their little friends online attract the attention of any business.
2) Climbing the ladder of social proof.
Partnering with an influencer in your niche brings a lot of social credibility.
Imagine being associated with Mannie the French Bulldog. At last count, he had 1.1 million Instagram followers, 7,600 YouTube channel subscribers, and 1.7 million Facebook followers.
A word from Mannie has tremendous ‘canine’ social proof of the top dog online.
Mannie covers a wide variety of products. His own website offers drinks, clothing, art, and face masks. She’s also promoting supplements online, CBD products, and even a car wash.
He is not alone. A quick search for other pet marketing influencers gives us quite a list on Twitter. The big ones right now include @remixthedog, @tinkandmeek, @milliegthegolden and @coconutricebear.
Note that although I’ve been talking about dogs so far, the same strategies work with cats.
To see what I mean, just check out Instagram for ThatLittlePuff, Nala Cat, Venus the Two Face Cat, and Smoothie the Cat to see some of the influential big cats.
3) Answer questions and comment.
A simple but invaluable strategy for building credibility and trust online is to answer questions on forums and comment on blog posts. All niches have forums and blog comments.
Done right, the authority you build there attracts responses from others. The more, the better.
Ready! More social proof.
What I’ve outlined here is harder for large online stores to do than most businesses. The big ones trust more in brand marketing. They do not allocate the necessary resources to implement the power of pet marketing.
Your bonus is a level playing field. Harnessing the power of pets can give you an edge against even the largest online retailers.
So far, I’ve simply outlined the basics and strategies for putting your canine and feline sales forces to work.
Of course, as I mentioned above, they are all based on good marketing copy. That’s what initially attracts the happy customers you want. The social proof of them and their pets is based on that.
That’s where I can help.