More big changes coming to Facebook that will affect your pet business marketing.

On Friday, Facebook dropped a bit of a bombshell for Facebook Fan Page marketers when they announced that beginning in January 2015, people will see less organic promotional posts within their news feeds from Facebook fan pages that they have liked.

These posts will primarily be:

- Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
- Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
- Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads
Samples of these types of posts they cited include:



Facebook explained their reasoning for reducing the number of promotional posts from fan pages in an individuals news feed this way...'As part of an ongoing survey we asked hundreds of thousands of people how they feel about the content in their News Feeds. People told us they wanted to see more stories from friends and Pages they care about, and less promotional content.'

What does this mean for your pet business?

It means that increasingly Facebook is reducing how much of the content you post on your Facebook fan page in the news feeds of those that have liked your page; first with their algorithm changes in recent months, and now with this new change coming in January.

Without a big ad budget for Facebook advertising, it's clear to me that Facebook is becoming less and less a way to reach, engage, promote and market to your pet business current and prospective customers and am encouraging all of my clients to continue to work with their Facebook page, but to also begin strengthening their other social media outlets in the wake of this announcement.

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A little known Instagram trick that will drive traffic to your pet business website.

If you use Instagram to help market your pet business, you are probably aware that when you post there isn't an option to add a click-able link in your Instagram post that could potential drive traffic to your website and potentially increase sales.

But one thing you can do to help drive more traffic and utilize Instagram further as the wonderful potential marketing tactic is to do what Mashable has been doing for several months with good results.

Every time you post on Instagram, add a message to your post to remind individuals to click the link in your profile for more information. Then customize the link in your profile to a tiny url (utilizing Bit.ly or your own tinyurl) to drive traffic to specific related information on your website or blog.

You can see an example from Mashable here:



It seems that Mashable is seeing a good amount of increased traffic to their site through this method. And, it could be a great marketing idea for your pet business as well.

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Why, now more than ever, pet businesses should conduct market research

No matter how wonderful you think your pet business product or service is, the most important questions you need to ask are does your market want it and are they willing to buy it?

As we've discussed before, pet business marketing doesn't start with a great idea for a product or service, it starts with the consumer. If your target pet business market doesn't want or need your product, then you have no market and your business is doomed to fail.

Market research is important for every pet business, and should not be a marketing activity you do only once. Market research should be an ongoing and important part of your marketing efforts.

Successful businesses conduct research on a regular basis to keep up with market trends, to maintain a competitive edge, to understand the growing wants and needs of their prospective customer, keep focused on how they market their pet business, reduce risk, help them be more cost effective in their marketing tactics, understand their competition, and more.

Whether you are just starting your pet business, redirecting your pet business, or expanding your pet business, market research is imperative in helping you understand your market and increase sales.

What types of the information can you garner, and should obtain, from a market research project?

Let's explore....

Market research can be divided into two types - Quantitative research and Qualitative research. Although, making in-roads into market research is a third category of  'Observation'.

Quantitative research is all about hard facts, including market share, potential market numbers, demographic data and more.

Qualitative research is about exploring why people do what they do, garnering opinions, exploring ideas and issues, understanding likes/dislikes, etc.

Observation research is about gathering and tracking data including website visits, social media likes, click throughs and more, and understanding who is interested in your pet business product/service.

Within these types of market research are two very important aspects of information you need to obtain:

Demographics - Understanding who your prospective customer is, their likes and dislikes, how old they are, what income and educational level they obtained, gender, their lifestyle, and more can provide you with valuable information about how you can actively satisfy and target your intended market.

Psychographic information - Pschographics include the study of opinions, lifestyle, personality, values, interests and more. This type of information can help you understand a prospective or current customer's purchasing habits and trends, shopping preferences, lifestyle choices and more....all helping you specifically target and speak directly to individuals who are most likely to purchase your pet business product/service.

As Baby Boomers (the generation who created our booming pet industry) age, and other generations become the new pet business market, we see demographic information becoming less and less important to pet business marketing efforts; and see psychographic and observational information as key information to help pet businesses create marketing tactics to specifically target the new pet business prospective customer and increase sales.

To learn more about how your pet business can utilize market research to more effectively market and sell your products and/or services, contact Pawsible Marketing today for a free 30 minutes consultation.

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Tools coming for Instagram pet business marketers and advertisers.

Instagram is quickly becoming one of the hottest social media sites. If you're not on Instagram as a pet business, I highly recommend it.

The popular social media site recently announced it will be instituting key brand business tools for the marketer and advertiser to provide insights and value to brands.

There will be three main tools according to Instagram:

1. Account insights will allow businesses to see how they’re increasing brand awareness on Instagram through impressions, reach, and engagement and will look somewhat like this:


2. Another coming addition will be ad insights that show the performance of paid campaigns with brand analytics (impressions, reach, and frequency) for each individual ad delivered to the target audience; and will look like this:



3. And thirdly, ad staging will allow advertisers and their creative teams to preview, save, and collaborate on ad creative for upcoming campaigns.

With these new tools pet business will be able to monitor their posts and campaigns by seeing and evaluating information on time of day reach, overall reach, impressions, and engagement, consequently gaining a better understanding of how their target audience is responding to their sponsored photos.

These features will roll out to Instagram marketers and advertisers over the next few weeks and months, so keep an eye out.

I now leave you with a little of my dog YoYo (Johann) on Instagram....enjoy!

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10 great ideas for posting on social media to get your pet business the attention it deserves.

I get a lot of questions from pet businesses about how to grow their Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ fan base, how to engage their audience and most importantly increase sales.

It's not easy to come up with creative, engaging ideas of posts to share to accomplish the above tasks.

So we're sharing today some of our top ideas:

Post a recipe

One of the posts I find most engaging for my audiences on my dog sites are recipes, whether for humans or for dogs, cats, ferrets, horses and more. This type of post is one of my favorites for building a fan base.



Post a fun cartoon

But remember, don't just find any cartoon on Google images and repost it. Do it right and don't violate copyright laws....find your favorite cartoon site (like we did with Off The Leash) on Facebook and share images from their site, giving them full credit.



Post a wise saying or a quote

People love sharing quotes that speak to them with their audiences allowing you to be exposed to a much wider audience than your present fan base.



Make a book recommendation

Whether it's dog, cat, ferret, horse, snake (or more) related, share some of your favorite reads with your readers. Pet lovers love to purchase based on recommendations.



Wish your fans a happy holiday

But remember, make it personal as we did here with my dog YoYo. Your fans will love getting to know you and your furry friends.



Celebrate company milestones

Get a new distributor? Make a deal with a big pet store? Earn an industry award? These are just a few of the key company milestones your fans would love to hear about your pet business. Don't be shy about bragging.



Celebrate fun days with your fans

There are a lot of holidays dedicated to our four legged friends. Share the celebration with your fans in a fun, engaging and interesting way.



Re-purpose relevant content

A lot of the blog posts you've written over the years may still be relevant today. But many of your fans may not have known about that wonderful, educational and entertaining blog post. Feel free to re-purpose some of your relevant content from years ago.



Participate in some of the fun #HashTag events

Nearly every day there is some type of pet related hash tag event...from #MeowMonday to #TongueTuesday to #WoofWednesday (or #HumpDay) and lots more. Feel free to share in the fun and engage your readers with a great photo, promote a pet in need of adoption, and more.



Hold contests

Holding contests on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and more can be great fan base increasers. Just be sure that you follow each sites rules on how you are allowed to institute contests for your fans.



These few ideas that should give you some fuel for your social media fire.

For more ideas, feel free to contact us to discuss how we may work together to make your social media program achieve the ROI you want and need.

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What exactly is marketing, and how can it help my pet business?

What is marketing?

Over the years I've been asked this question time and time again, from former heads of tech companies with which I consulted, to the CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield when I was head of their community relations, to many of my current and prospective clients.

Many people believe that public relations is marketing, that advertising is marketing, that SEO is marketing; and they are partially correct. All of these elements are part of marketing, but they aren't the end all, be all of marketing. And they shouldn't be all you concentrate on in your marketing efforts.

In my view marketing is at the core of the critical point between your pet business offerings and the pet business consumer. It's the go-between, the arbiter, the middleman and the mediator.

Marketing has two goals, 'make the phone ring' and get sales; and that involves not only promotion like public relations, advertising, social media, SEO, communications and more, but it also involves pricing, product development, packaging, sales and customer service.

Pet business marketing doesn't start with a great idea for a product or service, it starts with the consumer; individuals who want or need your product and will actually buy it.

Marketing firms need a full and complete understanding of your market, who your customers and potential customers are and will be, what they want and need, what price they are willing to pay, what information they want to know to be 'blown away' by your product or service; and they need to know how your customers learn about potential new products and services, and what messages and forms of communication they like, understand and with which they engage.

Product developers and entrepreneurs are passionate individuals. And they have to be! That's what I love most about working with these individuals.

But what many believe is that their latest pet related product or service idea is the best idea to be offered to the pet loving market in years. And they innocently assume that everyone will feel the same way.

I hate to tell you, that's not reality. Pet lovers are unique individuals, they have their own perceptions of their world and they have their own ways of thinking. The most passionate of entrepreneur or product developer can have the most innovative ideas, the greatest product since 'sliced bread,' or the best idea for servicing pets; but these ideas only succeed when they fit with the pet business market ideas, perceptions, wants and needs.

Pet loving consumers don't just buy a product or service, they buy the concept of what that product or service will do for their pets, and help them do for themselves.

Marketing is your strategy for allocating resources (time and money) in order to achieve your objectives (a fair profit for supplying a good product or service).

Marketing involves all aspects of your business, it's not successful created in a vacuum. And it's not successful if you only performing parts of the marketing mix.

Without a full and complete marketing plan touching on all aspects from product, to packaging, to pricing, to customer service, to various forms of promotion, with all of these aspects working together, you will not advance your agenda for increased business and increased sales.

A good marketing plan can help you focus your energy, time and resources.

Peter Drucker once said, "The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.”

That's exactly how we help our clients. Feel free to contact us today to schedule a free 30 minute consultation to discuss your pet business marketing needs and how our full expanse of marketing services can help you achieve your goals.

Let's make some pets happy!

Photos courtesy of: GollyGforce, funkblast and MollyStevens.

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