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How to create the 'purrfect' email newsletter for your pet shop

February 18, 2020

It’s hard to find a marketing tool that’s as effective, easy to execute and economical as a well-crafted newsletter.

It’s pretty simple. You ask for your customer’s email address. In between trips to your shop to pick up bags of pet food, they receive your email newsletter right in their inbox. They click it open, thanks to your irresistible subject line, and walk away with a positive reminder of the role you play in the lives of animals and the people who love them.

Not sure how to get started? Let’s dive in so you can plan your next steps.

Why newsletters?

The goal of a retailer’s email newsletter is to stay connected with established customers. Just by hearing from you, your customers will have your brand in mind the next time they need something for their pets, and are more likely to become return visitors and buyers.

Here are three additional reasons why you want to be in your customer’s inbox:

  • Email marketing comes with an astounding ROI, with $38 generated for each $1 spent.
  • In a survey, 50% of respondents say they checked personal email more than 10 times a day.
  • Nearly three in five respondents say marketing emails influence what they choose to buy.

(Source: HubSpot)

How do you build a newsletter for your pet shop?

Here’s a start-to-finish guide to help you plan what goes into your newsletter, and how to put it together.

Put customers first

Coming up with compelling content your customers will want to read can seem like uphill work. A great place to start is to think of things that interest you. While you’ll want to make it all about your brand to some extent, the things inside should inform and entertain readers, and reward them for being loyal customers. Here are some ideas for great pet-centered newsletter content.

  • Events, happenings and all the meet-ups.
  • Pet Photo of the Week feature. Who can resist opening the newsletter to see if their beloved pet gets pictured? Be sure to include a call for photos (don’t forget seasonal and holiday themes), include an email address, and, presto! — your inbox will start filling up with lots of cute pet photos to choose from. Submitted content always makes your job a little easier.
  • Pet advice. Invite people to submit their most pressing pet questions, and answer these in your newsletter space.
  • Best of the internet. If you find a fun video, a podcast featuring a wide range of topics and guest experts or a blog that’s packed with useful advice for pet parents, the newsletter is a great space for sharing!
  • Surveys. Discover what’s on the minds of pet parents, and include a thank-you promo.
  • Dole out treats. Send sneak peeks and private sale promos to newsletter subscribers as a thank-you for their loyalty. In fact, for every new signup, attach a killer welcome promo, because these generate 320% more revenue than other email promotions.

Find the right platform

Luckily, there are a plethora of free and low-cost online tools that take the guesswork out of creating your online newsletter. These let you do it all: design a look for your newsletter, upload the images you want to use, organize the content and manage your subscriber lists. Here’s a resource that will point you to some of the top tools for email marketing.

Find your frequency

Once you have an idea of what you plan to include, the next thing to think about is how often you should send a newsletter. The best answer to that question? It depends. Too many emails with repetitive content and customers will be sure to hit “unsubscribe.” At the bare minimum, the newsletter should be sent once a month, but weekly is a good rule of thumb.

Keep it quick

Instead of large blocks of text, the best newsletters stick to a scannable format.

  • Headlines: Keep them brief, punchy, but informative. They should promise precisely what’s in the text below.
  • Segments: Stick to a brief bites approach that’s quick to read. Use bulleted lists and bold text to keep the ideas well organized and easy to read.
  • Images: Well-chosen visuals that accompany at least three-quarters of the segments draw the eye and convey to readers what they’re about to read. (If you need stock images, here’s a list of sites where you can download them for free.)
  • Links: Include at least one link per item, when you can. When customers go to relevant pages on your website or social media, they’ll get to spend more time engaging with your brand. Your newsletter software will keep track of how many people clicked on the links, offering you another way to see what piques the interest of pet parents.

Embrace A-B testing

This is where you try two different headlines. One may be straightforward, while the second might have a more creative touch. Then, dig into the data to learn which headlines get noticed, and which land with a thud. In most industries, a 15-25% open rate is considered a successful campaign. Since hobby-related emails get opened more frequently, at 27%, expect a higher-than-average reach.

Check twice, send once

Before your masterpiece goes out into the world, give yourself a little extra time to make sure no mistakes have snuck through. Do a test send and check carefully for errors. You can’t go wrong with another set of eyes, so ask for a colleague’s help in looking for these common errors.

  • Misspelled or skipped words in the headlines
  • Faulty display of typesetting, formatting or images
  • Broken web or email links
  • Cut-off text.

Once you’ve put in the time to build your basic framework — colors, fonts and images — you may be pleasantly surprised by how automatic it feels to produce a weekly newsletter. When you start seeing the results in your store, it will be well worth it!

Social media marketing is a simple way to inform and educate pet parents in your community, and make your page worth a follow. NutriSource Pet Foods makes this task easier. Visit NutriSourcePromoMktg.com, set up your free account, and we’ll deliver great, ready-to-publish pet content to your inbox. All you have to do is share it with your customers so you can do even more to help pet families live happy, healthy lives.