Don’t Let Your Email Strategy Go to the Dogs

Cathy Traugot, Content Marketing Editor

Cathy Traugot, Content Marketing Editor

dogBuying pet food online is not a novel concept. Multiple retailers will sell you bulk-size bags of dog and cat food. But one such brand, PetShop.co.uk, has taken a much more inventive approach. They send their customers reorder reminders for food and other products based on breed.

This kind of personalization demonstrates a savvy approach to ecommerce and can really help a smaller company differentiate itself from the rest.

“When you compete with Amazon, it’s silly to focus on price. We win on education, personalization and fun content,’’ says Adam Taylor, the company’s founder. And this approach has helped the company enjoy robust growth.

More Meaningful Messages

Pet owners sometimes use the first dose of Drontal, Advantage or Frontline flea or heartworm medicine but forget to apply or buy follow-up doses. They might think the problem is taken care of, or simply forget. But when customers sign up for emails with PetShop.co.uk, the retailer asks for the name and breed of their pet. By knowing the breed, PetShop.co.uk can estimate the animal’s weight, allowing them to estimate when the owner should purchase and apply the next dose. This information is then loaded into PetShop.co.uk automated emails to make the customer’s life easier.

“We identify when they purchased and when they intend to use their purchase, and provide a very gentle reminder,’’ Taylor says. “And we’re seeing great results.’’ Customers will start to see more value and benefit in your business if you show them you understand their needs and reach out with relevant, timely messages. Ask the right questions at sign-up or in your preference center, and then use that data in ways that are relevant to your customers.

Quality Content for Customers

Along with personalization, PetShop.co.uk strives for content-driven emails and website information. It wants to give pet owners a reason to open the emails that goes beyond the latest offer. “Using the simple A/B split testing tool, we have learnt exactly what our customers want, and this has doubled the conversion value from our emails,’’ Taylor says.

One recent email featured the subject line: “What Treats Are Best For My Dog?” and included links to blog posts on each subject. That same email also included a couple of funny pet videos. The offers are actually located near the bottom of the message.

Taylor also uses content to educate customers on the benefits of higher quality food brands. Their blog posts explain how much less poo they’ll potentially step in if the owner switches to Grain Free pet foods brands with less filler. “It’s a very visual and logical selling point,’’ Taylor says.

Personalization Is Profitable

With just 12% of UK residents purchasing pet food and supplies online (according to Taylor), the market is still ripe to grow – and possibly acquire more competitors. Taylor’s edge: He isn’t spending near the amount of money he used to in order to acquire customers. In fact, the refill and email marketing programs have built up such a healthy list of repeat customers that he has sliced his online advertising budget in half. “We’re trying to phase it out completely,’’ Taylor says.

You don’t have to be in pet supplies to make your data work for you. The principles behind these strategies can be applied to almost any brand. Think about your product and how you could tailor your messaging to meet the needs of your customers. How can you stand out from the competition and offer a more personalized experience that keeps customers panting for more?