Even better, using pet power the right way boosts sales despite market dominance by large retailers.
Of course, the basic premise behind ‘pet marketing’ is that pet owners first become customers and then allow their furry friends to do the persuasive heavy lifting 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 moment of slapping on the forehead occurred when I realized how the marketing power of pets worked in 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 my little 11-year-old terrier mix, Dixie, had.
The pages that most caught my attention were those in which other pet owners commented.
I appreciated finding good and honest advice from other people who love their furry friends as much as I love mine.
I paid special attention to the products that my fellow pet owners recommended. They influenced me to update the Dixie food brand and buy specific supplements.
Now I am a loyal customer of products that I had not bought 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 might 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 enjoyed taking Dixie and her younger “sister”, Ellie, 3, with us.
Finding good hotels that allow pets, without charging more for them, can be a challenge.
This is how we put Mac. He’s a “mouthpiece” for a national hotel chain.
He is cute. It is persuasive.
Mac is all over the hotel website. Talk about how he loves to stay there. And how the people at the front desk tell him he’s a good boy. He welcomes pet owners to come and hang out with their little friends.
That was all it took to convince my family to always plan trips around Mac hotels. That’s the only place we stay when Dixie and Ellie travel with us.
So far I have described how we become loyal customers for two completely different types of businesses, both driven by pet marketing.
I’m sure I wouldn’t have to dig too deep to realize how other companies have used this approach to influence me.
I answer because I love my pets.
The pull of this strategy goes straight to the heart: mine.
Now, as a marketer, I realize how ‘pet marketing’ convinced me. And how you can persuade others.
It raises the question of which 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 PERSUASION OF THE UNDERLYING PRINCIPLE
The foundation of pet marketing involves a powerful persuasion principle called social proof.
Social proof is well known in marketing. Its value is so great that my former colleague, Dr. Robert Cialdini, spoke of it in his book, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.”
It is 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 comments were voluntary and authentic. He appeared on forums, blogs, and social media without an apparent request from any company.
[If you’re thinking about generating automatic referrals, then – BINGO!]
By the way, Mac’s hotel endorsements provide social proof in two ways. The first is subconsciously very subtle. Mac gives the impression of a happy customer, although we consciously know that he is not the one who is really speaking.
The second is comments from human visitors to Mac posts. They are persuasive and unsolicited.
HARNESSING THE POWER OF PETS
The fuel behind pet marketing is a constant stream of happy customers who have pets.
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, spreading a lot of ads, building a strong social media presence, creating effective baits to build a subscriber list, sending out newsletters, recording podcasts and videos, and collecting lots of blog posts and press releases. . , magazines and e-books … the list is endless.
Persuasive writing is at the center of everything.
Once you’re up and running, the next three steps will harness the power of pet marketing.
1) Give your customers the opportunity to show off their pets on social media. They are going to do it anyway. You can also have them do it on your company’s social media pages.
Social media is a big driver here.
Videos and images of pet owners are a key source of engaging content.
All you have to do is select it.
Satisfied customers showing off their little friends online are a great way to get the attention of any business.
2) Climb the ladder of social proof.
Partnering with an influencer in your niche gives you a lot of social credibility.
Imagine being associated with Mannie the French Bulldog. At the latest count, he had 1.1 million followers on Instagram, 7,600 YouTube channel subscribers, and 1.7 million fans on Facebook.
One word from Mannie has tremendous ‘canine’ social proof of the best dog online.
Mannie covers a wide variety of products. His own website offers drinking items, clothing, art, and face masks. It’s also promoting supplements, CBD products, and even a car wash online.
You are not alone. A quick search for other pet marketing influencers gives us a good list on Twitter. The top ones right now include @remixthedog, @tinkandmeek, @milliegthegolden, and @coconutricebear.
Note that although I have 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 for some of the big feline influencers.
3) Answer questions and comment.
A simple but invaluable strategy for building credibility and trust online is answering questions on forums and commenting on blog posts. All niches have forums and blog comments.
Done right, the authority it generates draws responses from others. The more the better.
Ready! More social proof.
What I’ve described here is more difficult for large online stores to do than it is for most businesses. The big ones rely more on brand marketing. They don’t allocate the resources necessary 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 limited myself to outlining the basic concepts and strategies for putting your canine and feline sales forces to work.
Of course, as I mentioned earlier, 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 takes you from there.
That is where I can help.