Pet food brands increasingly seek to develop personal relationships with dog, cat and other pet owners. One of the most direct ways to contact anyone is via text messages, and this communication channel can work for pet food, treat and supplement brands as well. However, unwanted texts can turn off a consumer, so brands should follow certain guidelines to make the best use of SMS or text messages. Along with the conventional goal of selling more pet food and providing customer service, petfood companies can use text messages to alert customers immediately when a problem arises, such as a recall.
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The real-time nature of text messages can make them ideal for crisis communications, Jeff Khadavi, head of growth for Wizard, a text-commerce company, told Petfood Industry.
Text messages reach people wherever they are, literally in the palm of their hands, Melissa Bridgeford, co-founder and CEO of Wizard, said. Not everyone checks their email constantly and sometimes that email that goes into their spam folder.
The more conventional use of text message marketing is to provide targeted and personalized messages that resonate with pet owners. Pet owners first opt-in to receive messages, often with the offer of a discount. Once pet owners have chosen to receive text messages from a brand, the content of the communications can have a wide range.
“We're there for really the entire customer journey,” Bridgeford said. “Through product search, marketing and commerce, and then customer services, if, for example, your package didn't arrive, or it arrived damaged…as well as traditional SMS alerts around when something's delivered or shipped.”
For example, Wizard worked with Myos, a muscle-building supplement for dogs, on a campaign that asked pet owners to respond to their text message with a picture of their dog and anecdotes about how the product helped their pets. The request went out to approximately 5,000 dog owners who had chosen to receive messages from Myos. More than 500 pet owners responded. Not only did they share pictures and stories, they gave Myos valuable data about their pets and themselves that the brand could use for further marketing.
“Now that we have all of this information, all these pictures of dogs, we were able to identify through the pictures, which ones are golden retrievers,” Khadavi said.
On February 3, national golden retriever day, Myos sent a custom, personalized message to its golden retriever owners, along with giving them a discount code.
“We think that's a sweet, fun kind of message to get in the middle of your day,” he said. “We're not blasting the whole audience.”
The pet space is very conducive to personalization with names and ages, he said. Different products come to light as the dogs grow older. The pet space is primed for a very personalized channel, which is why it works really well for text message marketing.
Guidelines for text message marketing of pet food, treats and supplements
Dog, cat and other pet food marketers can follow these guidelines to use text messages effectively as part of wider advertising and promotional strategies.
Build a list of subscribers: The first step is to build a list of subscribers who have opted-in to receive SMS messages from the company. This can be done through various channels such as website opt-ins, social media promotions and in-store sign-ups.
Segment the audience: Once the list is created, marketers can segment the audience based on various criteria such as demographics, location, purchase history, and behavior. This allows for more targeted messaging that is more likely to resonate with each specific group.
Craft a compelling message: The message should be short, clear, and compelling, with a clear call-to-action. The message should also be personalized to the recipient's interests and needs and use language that is relevant to them.
Send the message at the right time: Timing is important when sending SMS messages. Marketers need to ensure that they send messages at a time when the recipient is likely to be receptive to the message, and avoid sending messages too frequently to avoid irritating the subscriber.
Track and analyze results: Marketers should track the performance of their SMS campaigns and analyze the results to identify what is working and what isn't. This allows them to refine their messaging and strategy over time to achieve better results.
Some specific tactics that pet food brands may use to sell products through SMS messages include offering exclusive discounts and promotions, announcing new products or features and sending reminders about upcoming sales or events.