The best pet marketing strategies start with the fundamentals

Last week, I was going through my pile of marketing books and deciding which ones are keepers… and which can go to charity. Suddenly I came across one of my all-time favorites, Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins.

Have you read this classic gem first published in 1923? I have, and I was motivated to read through it again to see what relevance it has to today’s web content world, and specifically for the pet industry.

Believe it or not, the tested marketing principles presented by Claude 87 years ago are SPOT ON when it comes to writing pet web content that connects with an audience and generates sales orders. I can only assume that it’s because we’re still marketing to people after all. Our basic desires, wishes, needs and wants haven’t changed all that much. It’s very likely that your customers want to help their pets or customers stay well or feel better, solve problems and enjoy life, etc. — just as people did 87 years ago.

Therefore, I’m devoting the next few tips to specific and powerful ideas mentioned  in Scientific Advertising; and applying them to web content best practices, whether you’re marketing to pet owners, retailers or veterinary practices. Here’s the first one:

Give prospects enough information to take action

Is it true that we must always be very brief online because people won’t read lots of content? Here’s what Claude has to say about this common misconception that I hear a lot in the web content world:

“Would you say that to a salesman? With a prospect standing before him, would you confine him to a certain number of words? That would be an unthinkable handicap. The only readers we get are people whom our subject interests. Consider them as prospects standing before you, seeking for information. Give them enough to get action.”

Ahhh… thank you Claude! I’m constantly torn between the pressure of being super-concise and also giving people what they need to know before making a buying decision.

Here’s how I answer the question, “How much content is too much for a pet business website?”

It depends. If your prospect is buying a dog leash, she probably doesn’t need much content.

But if you’re asking a prospect to change the way she performs a major business task, invest hundreds of dollars in a new service, switch to a new service or trust an online tool that requires the sharing of sensitive information… you may need to spend some time (and content) explaining why she should bother. You may need to explain how it works, why it’s the ideal solution, how other customers are benefiting, etc.

You need to overcome objections, offer delightful surprise bonus benefits and literally win the prospect over. This takes salesmanship in the form of web content.

Here’s a great way to do this (I use this technique all the time):

Interview your best salesperson and ask him or her to go through a pitch that works well with prospects. Capture what is said, how it’s said, what makes the prospect light up and how much it takes to complete a typical sales call. You may discover that it takes more than a catchy paragraph to sway people and move them to buy.

How much content is right for your pet website? As much as it takes to get the highest number of responses.

Until next time, here’s to a prosperous site!

Pam Foster,