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Customer Retention Strategies for Pet Businesses (& Why They Matter)

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Did you know it’s cheaper to retain existing customers than to find and acquire new ones? And did you know that re-engaging your existing customers can help you reach new audiences, too?

According to a 2018 study conducted by HubSpot, 55% of consumers rely on word-of-mouth recommendations when making purchase decisions.

Marketing is costly – in both time and literal dollars. It can take months before Search Engine Optimization takes effect, and paid ads aren’t cheap, especially when targeting sales-oriented keywords.

The organic reach of social media isn’t what it once was. Now it takes constant uploading and engagement to stand out from the crowd and win the favour of the algorithm.

And since you need a steady stream of sales to keep your profit margins where you want them, re-engaging existing customers is an efficient way to add to your bottom line.

Now, don’t get us wrong. We still believe in the value of SEO, paid advertising, social media marketing, etc., but we don’t want you to overlook the importance of maintaining relationships with your existing customers.

The value of customer retention
As the pet industry grows, standing out in a crowded market will only become more challenging. With the industry expected to reach a $350B market size by 2027, there is no question that the opportunity within the industry is enormous, but pet brands will need strategic marketing to position themselves effectively and maintain their market share.

By keeping existing customers happy and working to strengthen those bonds, pet businesses can convert customers into brand evangelists to help maintain and expand their hold on the marketplace.

A study published in the Harvard Business Review revealed that a 5% increase in customer retention led to profit increases between 25% to 95%.

Consumers are increasingly wary of brands but trust recommendations from friends and influencers. So, converting your existing customers into organic spokespeople for your brand is a powerful way to reach new audiences– audiences who are primed to purchase from your pet brand because it’s coming recommended!

With that in mind, here are some tips for increasing your brand’s customer retention rates.

Prioritizing customer service
Customer service is part of what makes a brand memorable. Having a great product is one thing, but coupling that with a delightful customer experience sets brands apart and keeps customers returning.
Think through the experience customers have when purchasing from you and consider how you can make the purchase process easy and pleasant.

There’s nothing more frustrating during the buying process than encountering questions and struggling to find answers. Ensure it’s straightforward for customers to contact customer support at any point during the sales process.

Work with your customer support team to identify common questions and create resources that address them. These resources could be anything from an FAQ page to blogs or video tutorials that help customers better understand your products or services.

If you work with distributors, host educational talks to ensure they’re informed about your products and can speak authoritatively if their customers have questions. Ensuring third-party vendors have the resources to understand your products and their benefits will help them support customers throughout the purchase process.
Educational talks, demos, and webinars can be powerful tools to help educate anyone selling your products. You might also create pamphlets or handouts with helpful product information that sellers can reference during the sales process.

Build trust through customer education
By educating your customers on your products and their applications, you can build their trust while benefiting their lives in tangible ways. Instead of selling them something and moving on to the next customer, create resources that help them accomplish their goals and solve their problems (now and in the future).

For instance, if your pet brand sells pet shampoo, create instructional blog posts and videos to help pet owners with grooming-related questions. You might create a video series on how to groom a dog and follow it up with a series of blog articles on common skin conditions dogs may experience. In doing so, your customer will begin to see you as a trusted expert in the space, and since your brand has already helped them with one grooming-related problem, they’ll likely think of you the next time something comes up!

Creating a library of educational resources instills your customers’ confidence in your brand and gives you materials you can use and repurpose for other areas of your marketing strategy.

Integrate customer feedback
Customer feedback is incredibly valuable, especially if you have a plan for how to use it. Incorporating customer feedback can help you improve and expand your products and services, so they continue to appeal to your existing customers and attract new customers simultaneously. It can help you better understand what your customers are struggling with and the questions they still have after using your products and offer insights into how you can support them more in the future.

Your marketing and customer experience strategies should integrate opportunities for customers to share their thoughts and experiences with your pet brand’s products. Here are some tactics for doing so:

  • Use email automation to request product reviews and customer feedback after purchasing.
  • Strike up conversations with customers on social media.
  • Have your customer support team log customer feedback, requests, and pain points in an internal document.
  • Send a survey to your customer database to gather insights.
  • Hop on a call with existing customers to gain deeper insight into their feelings about your brand or products.

Whether the feedback you receive from customers is good or bad, it offers valuable insights into how customers perceive your pet brand. You can use this information to refine product positioning and marketing strategies to increase customer retention and boost sales.

Use email marketing to keep your pet brand top-of-mind
Email marketing is a fantastic way to provide ongoing support to your customers and fans while also keeping your pet brand on their radar. Receiving informative emails from time to time makes customers feel valued and leaves them inclined to purchase from you again.

You can use email marketing to re-engage your existing customers in all kinds of ways. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Send a company newsletter to update subscribers on new and upcoming products
  • Use email marketing to promote any sales you’re having – you might even include a special promo code for email subscribers!
  • Share your latest blog posts with your customers via email.
  • Use email to engage with your subscribers by answering questions you’ve received.
  • Share thought leadership content from your business’s founder or an industry expert to offer additional value and insight on topics relevant to your products or services.

Email marketing is an incredibly powerful way to connect with your customers because you don’t have to compete with algorithms or other creators to land in your subscribers’ inboxes. To see success with email, keep it conversational and focus on adding value.

If you’re not sure how to get started with email marketing, get in touch with us! StreetDog can help you craft and implement a strategy that serves your goals.

Create a referral program
Referral programs can turn existing customers into brand evangelists. Like a grassroots form of influencer marketing, rewarding your customers for recommending your products helps you reach new audiences while encouraging them to continue buying from you.

Ultimately, customers trust other customers more than they trust brands marketing to them. A referral program enables you to capitalize on this while rewarding your existing customers for their loyalty.
Your referral program could be as simple as rewarding existing customers with a free product for every new customer they refer. Or, it might be a discount code that applies to both the current customer and the customer they refer.

The ideal referral program will depend on the nature of your pet brand, the price of your products, and the value you place on new customers. Take time to analyze the potential ROI of referrals before determining the ideal reward.

The Bottom Line
Customer retention should be a component of your marketing strategy. You’ve worked hard to build relationships with your customers, so don’t let them fall by the wayside after they’ve made a purchase. Look for ways to build on that relationship! The strategies we shared above are just a small sample of ways you might re-engage your existing customers. To get started, choose a strategy that feels authentic to your pet brand and is easy to implement.

If you need help identifying ways to retain your customers, don’t hesitate to reach out! The StreetDog team is here to help!

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