Email campaigns offer both benefits and challenges for dog walking businesses. On the one hand, you want to reach pet owners regularly. On the other hand, you don’t want to them become the cyber equivalent of white noise. How can you best use email to entice customers and keep them engaged with your pet sitting business?
- Study the Numbers There are various tools out there that enable you to track customer engagement for every set of bulk emails that you send. Scout’s “Messages” feature allows you to send targeted emails to pet owners using data from the Scout system. You can see if your email was delivered, who’s opened your email, and if anyone marked it as spam. You can use this as a starting point to determine what is working. Did a set of emails lead directly to sales? Were there any that just seemed to fall flat? Break down the content: were these holiday-inspired? Who designed the layout? How much information did you include? The data doesn’t lie, so always take this seriously.
- Remember Content Still Rules. It’s important to remember that you want any contact with your customers to remain worthy of their time. Don’t write an email merely to remind them that you exist – that sort of thing becomes clutter. Avoid being an annoyance and produce content that can be meaningful and insightful for your pet sitting customers. This demonstrates that you respect their time and you are not diverting their attention for meaningless chatter. On this same note, remember to proofread everything, including links. You don’t want to have to send out the “oops” email with the corrections.
- Provide a Judicious Use of Graphics. A visual element will engage the viewer, but remember that most people will be reading this on their phones. Be sure to design with that in mind. Don’t go crazy with the images either: just make sure that there are powerful images to match the content. In the pet sitting world, puppies reign supreme!
- Don’t Ignore the Subject Line. Say what you mean immediately. Avoid being coy or offering a tease – that can get you sent to the junk folder or trashed without being opened. If you are offering updates to a dog walking or pet sitting service or tips on a dog training technique that you support, then be clear about that right away. Be thoughtful about how you phrase the subject, and go easy on the exclamation points. You have fewer than ten words so clarity is your best friend here.
- Time the Communication to Benefit You. It is easy to schedule emails to go out weekly or bi-monthly. A regular schedule can be helpful, but don’t feel that you have to be chained to it. Take advantage of upcoming three-day weekends or pet-centric events that may be occurring in your area. Will you be at an expo in a week? Is there a sidewalk sale coming up? Are you partnering with another business for a grand opening somewhere? Provide clients or customers on your email list with special offers for being in the know early. Provide simple, thoughtful content and make your clientele aware.
In the end, email campaigns should never feel like a burden. As soon as they feel that way, you are in an uphill battle against businesses that thrive in the pet sitting industry. Once you learn to make email an effective tool, you will see how well it benefits you and allows you to compete.