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7 Locales for Veterinarians to Grow Their Email Marketing List

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How to Green Your Pet Business Marketing in 7 Steps

Always design with “green” in mind. Direct your designer at the beginning of the project to use “green” initiatives when creating your marketing materials. This would mean that you will have certain constraints applied to your marketing piece, but these shouldn’t affect the efficacy of the project as a whole. For example, not having inks or photos that run to the edge of the paper is one “green” technique to cutting down on paper as well as trimming time. Another is to not use any kind of laminate or UV coating. These coatings are used when you want to add a shiny or dull element, prevent scuff damage to the piece or you need to cut down on drying time. While both of these coatings prevent the paper from damage, they don’t break down quickly in landfills, and the UV coatings are known to contain carcinogens. Not good for us much less the planet. Aqueous coatings would be a better option, but they don’t hold as much shine as their counterparts.

Choose recycled paper and soy inks for marketing materials. Recycled paper content varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. However, you should be able to get free paper samples from your graphic designer who can help you pick the best paper for the project. Soy inks are a great alternative to the traditional inks since they contain no toxins that can be damaging to the environment. Soy inks have come a long way and their vibrancy now can evenly match their traditional cousins.

Choose a “green” printer to produce your materials. Ask your designer to look into local printers as well as “green” online printers. The cost of shipping may not be worth the price if you can find a better deal in town. Be sure to compare apples to apples because not all printers are alike. Your designer should know what to look for so you receive the best deal available. Why a ‘green” printer? Green printers go through a rigorous process in order to receive certification. This certification process includes items such as: type of inks used, type of printing plates used, how much waste is accrued in the printing process, and how materials are disposed of after a project. Greener Printer takes this certification process even further by using wind power as their main power source. Work with your designer and together you’ll find the best match for your project.

Utilize eco-friendly packaging materials for your product. Paperboard and recycled paper are obvious choices, but did you know that there is a plastic made from corn? Great option for those who need to use plastic for food packaging and want a clear container. Cellophane bags and sheets are another option since they biodegrade in landfills with zero waste.

Choose promotional products that are eco-friendly and truly useful to you and your customers. Focus on your customer’s needs before purchasing promotional product giveaways. Will they use the item beyond the campaign or event? Can it be recycled? If you’re unsure of what to pick, then let us help you find the perfect match. These are critical questions a responsible marketeer should ask themselves before placing an order.

Look for eco-friendly and recycled products in your local office supply store. Examples of eco-friendly office supplies would be: recycled copy paper (We use the Office Depot brand), pencils made from denim or currency, paper clips from aluminum like Acco’s, and reusable printer ink cartridges.

Use electronic media as your workhorse. Electronic media not only cuts down on paper, but today’s connected culture demands with smart phones, tablets, and pads almost beg to be used as marketing tools. Coordinate any offline marketing with your online presence to get “more bang for your buck” so to speak. Marketing is fueled by synergy so the more you plan and orchestrate your marketing efforts to include all your tools, the better chance of success.

  • Web site marketing– Make your web site your main business hub. Include links to all your social media accounts so folks know where to find you. Include a newsletter sign-up box so customers can receive updates on new products/services as well as company news. (Remember, people buy from people so don’t forget to put a face to your business.) Don’t forget to optimize your site, simplify your navigation, and place your “Calls to Action” in plenty of white space so your customers don’t miss them. It could mean losing a sale!
  • Mobile marketing – If you have an extra $30,000 laying around that begs to be used then develop your own app. However, I believe the smartest thing a small indie business can do for mobile is to make sure your web site looks good on all the latest devices.
  • Social media marketing – Facebook, Google+, and Twitter are all tools to increase your reach within your audience. Use them as frequently as you can by scheduling most of your postings through a program like HootSuite. These accounts should all look polished and professional with your company’s branding  and language across the board. If you don’t have a Twitter background or Facebook page that makes your business look polished and professional, then email dara@7luckydogs.com and we’ll talk about next steps. We also work with several copywriters who can help polish up and optimized that Linkedin account for you as well.
  • Email marketing – Email allows you to deepen your relationships than social media since you can communicate so much more information. We are big fans of MailChimp since you can mail up to 2,000 names for free. If you have fewer than 2,000 subscribers, you can send up to 12,000 emails per month absolutely free. There’s no expiring trial, contract, or credit card required. There is a catch – you don’t have access to all of MailChimp’s features on this plan. If you can live with that, then you’re golden. If not, check out their affordable plans.

About the Author
Dara is a brand identity and marketing design strategist at 7 Lucky Dogs, a leading consultancy in marketing to “pet parents”. Through customized marketing and brand identity packages, 7 Lucky Dogs helps you discover what makes your company, product or service different from your competitors. We then translate this differentiation visually into a logo, product packaging, an E-commerce site and promotional materials to reflect those unique attributes. We make our clients look credible and memorable to their prospects while they increase their bottom line. As the owner of 7 Lucky Dogs, Dara is passionate about helping independent pet businesses stand out in front of their competitors and attract more clients. She blends business smarts with creativity with formal education in both graphic design and marketing.

April Sales and Marketing Themes

Can’t believe that it’s April already. The Pacific NW is still pretty blustery, but nice weather will be here before you know it. So, break out those wellies, grab an umbrella, and take your dog for a walk. You can think about what themes you want to use for your business as you get some exercise.

April Sales and Marketing Themes:

  • National Pet Month
  • Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month
  • National Pet First Aid Awareness Month
  • Prevent Lyme Disease in Dogs Month
  • Easter Savings – April 8
  • ASPCA Day – April 10
  • National Pet Day – April 10
  • Pet Owners Independence Day – April 18
  • National Animal Control Appreciation Week – April 11-17
  • Animal Cruelty/Human Violence Awareness Week – April 16-20
  • National Pet ID Week – April 16-20
  • Earth Day – April 22
  • National Kids and Pets Day – April 26
  • Hairball Awareness Day – April 27
  • World Veterinary Day – April 28
  • Foolish Savings (April Fool’s Day)
  • The Tax Rebate Sale (Tax Day)
  • The Green Sale (Earth Day)
  • April Showers Bring Savings
  • Overstock Sale
  • Opening Day Sale (Baseball)
  • On the Road to Stanley Savings (Hockey)

About the Author
Dara
is a brand identity and marketing design strategist at 7 Lucky Dogs, a leading consultancy in marketing to “pet parents”. Through customized marketing and brand identity packages, 7 Lucky Dogs helps you discover what makes your company, product or service different from your competitors. We then translate this differentiation visually into a logo, product packaging, an E-commerce site and promotional materials to reflect those unique attributes. We make our clients look credible and memorable to their prospects while they increase their bottom line. As the owner of 7 Lucky Dogs, Dara is passionate about helping independent pet businesses stand out in front of their competitors and attract more clients. She blends business smarts with creativity with formal education in both graphic design and marketing.

How to Use Pinterest for Your Pet Business

7 Lucky Dog's Pinterest Boards

Social network Pinterest has been creating quite the buzz lately in the media lately. It has been recognized by a new report by RJ Metrics for driving more referral traffic to sites than Google+, Reddit, YouTube, LinkedIn and Myspace combined with over 11 million unique visitors a month.

What is Pinterest?
It’s a virtual pin board that allows you to organize and share things you find on the Web. You can browse boards created by others to discover items that you’re interested in as well as find inspiration from people who share similar interests. Images are “pinned” virtually to boards which you can then “repin” onto your own board in your account. The importance of “repinning” is the viral aspect in which the URL associated with the visual is also copied onto the new board. More “repins” equals to more links back to the site where you found the image. Thus, using images from your own web site would be most beneficial for this type of viral marketing and brand exposure.

Who is pinning?
In America, mostly women from the ages of 25-54 are using Pinterest to engage and share fresh, meaningful content with their friends and family. However, businesses are becoming more savvy and using the platform as a way to visually tell their brand’s story as well as connect with their audience.

Tips for Pet Businesses
Pinterest is still new to most business types, especially brick and mortar stores. However, the platform shows promise if you’re using viral and word-of-mouth tools in your marketing toolbox. Open an account and spend 1-2 hours a week initially to test the waters. Connect with others who have an interest in pets, pet health, and other topics. You can find them through the search function by typing in “dogs” or “cats”. Interact with your current customers as well as prospects to show off your favorite new product or service. I listed below actionable items for you to complete as well as a few ideas for images to “pin”.

  • Build Boards Based on Themes – Create and organize your boards centered around a central theme for simplification. Utilize a photo sharing platform like Instagram and upload fun images of your staff with customers, pin product images from your web site, or show a video of you making your product. (Pinterest allows videos, too!) Remember, you want the images to tell the story of your business. Refer back to your core values, and think about how can you show them in a photograph.
  • More “Pinning” Ideas for Manufacturers:
    – Sourced ingredients used to create your food product
    – Photos of you and those who grow your sourced ingredients
    – Your product being used by customers
    – Videos of how to use your product
    – Before and After photos
    – Photos of storefront windows that carry your product
    – New product photos
  • More “Pinning” Ideas for Veterinarians:
    – Staff with customers and community events
    – Workspace photos
    – Images of products found in your retail space
    – Infographics of animal health statistics
    – Before and After photos of teeth cleanings
    – Kennel photos (if applicable)
    – New products or services
  • More “Pinning” Ideas for Groomers:
    – Staff with customers and at community events
    – Before and After photos of canine customers
    – New products or services
    – Products from your retail space (if applicable)
    – Workspace photos
    – Videos of grooming tips for at home
    – Images of your portable grooming van (if applicable)
  • More “Pinning” Ideas for Dog Walkers and Pet Sitters:
    – Staff photos with happy customers
    – Photos of where you walk your customers
    – New products or services
    – Recommended local products and services
    – Favorite dog parks
    – Videos of pet care tips for at home
    – Community events you participate in
  • Engage Pet Parents – Remember, the images you upload need to be engaging so others will want to “repin” your image. Be sure to thank anyone who “repins” your images and posts comments to them. This will help begin a conversation that may springboard to growth and more “pins”. You may use Pinterest as a team and assign certain boards to different team members.
  • Grow Your Presence – Pinterest gives you the option of sharing on Facebook every time you “pin” an image. Sharing your images on other social networks will give your business, services, and/or products more exposure and better chances of going viral. It will also encourage other users to interact, “repin”, and share your images. You can also add the Pinterest follow button to your web site to leverage hashtags and link backs to make your content more search-friendly. If none of these tactics help you grow, then hold a contest and the image with the most “likes” win. Be sure that the prize is appropriate for your audience.

Join the Social Community
Pinterest’s etiquette guidelines discourages blatant self-promotion, however, posting some images of your favorite customers and/or products are considered OK. “Pinterest is designed to curate and share things you love. If there is a photo or project you’re proud of, pin away! However, try not to use Pinterest purely as a tool for self-promotion.” One way of telling your business’s story is to include things you love personally as well as professionally on your boards. (See 7 Lucky Dogs’s boards.) This gives your customers a “behind the scenes” look and humanizes your business.

Pinterest is invitation-only at the moment, but don’t worry – we have your back. If you would like to try the groovy platform, follow us on Twitter @7LuckyDogs and leave a message with your e-mail address. We’ll send you an invite so you can “pin” to your heart’s delight.

Your Turn: Share with us how you think pet businesses can leverage the social power of Pinterest.

About the Author
Dara is a brand identity and marketing design strategist at 7 Lucky Dogs, a leading consultancy in marketing to “pet parents”. Through customized marketing and brand identity packages, 7 Lucky Dogs helps you discover what makes your company, product or service different from your competitors. We then translate this differentiation visually into a logo, product packaging, an E-commerce site and promotional materials to reflect those unique attributes. We make our clients look credible and memorable to their prospects while they increase their bottom line. As the owner of 7 Lucky Dogs, Dara is passionate about helping independent pet businesses stand out in front of their competitors and attract more clients. She blends business smarts with creativity with formal education in both graphic design and marketing.

Things We Love Tueday: Process

Process - One Piece at a Time

Process - One Piece at a Time

Great design just doesn’t happen, it takes time, energy, and strategy to produce a visual that evokes an emotional response. (After all, we humans follow our emotions to make purchase decisions.) I believe it’s prudent to describe our creative process in order for you, our readers, to better understand the value we bring to our projects.

Stage 1 – Discovery
We learn all that we can about your organization which includes: culture, vision, business objectives, as well as competitors. We listen as well as ask a lot of questions which we translate into strategy and document in a Make Your Own Luck™ PDF. The earlier you bring us into the strategy process, the more you will save on design and revision costs.

Stage 2 – Define
We define the work scope of the project, timeline, budget, and stakeholders. This information is compiled into a proposal for your review and approval. This is also the stage when marketing directors or brand strategists give us their strategy brief, providing clear direction for the creative process. The more clear you are about expectations, the more money you’ll save in the long-term.

Stage 3 – Redefine
We refine the proposal if work scope changes from the initial consult, and ask for signed approval to move forward. This is the last step before executing the proposal so it’s best to be certain that all details are included, and any misconceptions cleared before proceeding forward.

Stage 4 – Execution
Upon approval and a deposit placed, 7 Lucky Dogs begins work on your project with deliverables arriving according to the timeline given to you in the proposal.

Our competitive advantage is that our staff and contractors have broad reaching capabilities – multiple platforms providing hybrid skill sets. We also do more with less, innovate rapidly when needed, and trust our instincts. Part of doing more with less is using YouSendIt.com to send out digital proofs for approval rather than printed comps. (This also helps reduce our carbon footprint and upholds our sustainability promise.) Lastly, our size allows us to change priorities quickly, cutting out the “red tape” found in many agencies.

If you have any questions concerning our process, feel free to contact us at: Daisy@7LuckyDogs.com or call us at: (425) 337-6634 PST.

About the Author
Dara is a brand identity and marketing design strategist at 7 Lucky Dogs, a leading consultancy in marketing to “pet parents”. Through customized marketing and brand identity packages, 7 Lucky Dogs helps you discover what makes your company, product or service different from your competitors. We then translate this differentiation visually into a logo, product packaging, an E-commerce site and promotional materials to reflect those unique attributes. We make our clients look credible and memorable to their prospects while they increase their bottom line. As the owner of 7 Lucky Dogs, Dara is passionate about helping independent pet businesses stand out in front of their competitors and attract more clients. She blends business smarts with creativity with formal education in both graphic design and marketing.

February Sales and Marketing Themes

February is Spay/Neuter Month

February is Spay/Neuter Month

February is here and so is the snow. The Global Pet Expo is this month so pack your bags and head to Florida for a few days of lectures to help you grow your business and building relationships with your peers. Don’t forget to plan out your sales for the month before you leave for the sunshine state. You may use (for free) any of our sales and marketing themes in your newsletters, in-store displays, and more. Need help? Just let us know. We can help with e-newsletters design, store signage design, sales sheets design, and more!

February Sales and Marketing Themes:

  • Spay/Neuter Awareness Month
  • Pet Dental Health Month
  • Responsible Pet Owners Month
  • Temps are Dropping and so are Our Prices
  • Groundhog Day – Feb 2
  • Thank a Mailman Day – Feb 4
  • Super Bowl Day – Feb 5
  • Have a Heart for Chained Dogs Week – Feb 7-14
  • Pet Theft Awareness Day – Feb 14
  • Valentine’s Day – Feb 14
  • Westminister Kennel Club Annual Dog Show – Feb 13-14
  • Love Your Pet Day – Feb 20
  • Mardi Gras – Feb 21
  • Walking the Dog Day – Feb 22
  • International Dog Biscuit Day – Feb 23
  • World Spay Day – Feb 28
  • Leap Year Day – Feb 29
  • President’s Day Sale (Washington and Lincoln)
  • Let’s Get Ready to Rumble into Savings (Hockey)
  • Tailgate Party (Football)
  • Shoot Some Hoops for Savings (Basketball)
  • Carnival of Savings (Carnival Day)

About the Author
Dara
is a brand identity and marketing design strategist at 7 Lucky Dogs, a leading consultancy in marketing to “pet parents”. Through customized marketing and brand identity packages, 7 Lucky Dogs helps you discover what makes your company, product or service different from your competitors. We then translate this differentiation visually into a logo, product packaging, an E-commerce site and promotional materials to reflect those unique attributes. We make our clients look credible and memorable to their prospects while they increase their bottom line. As the owner of 7 Lucky Dogs, Dara is passionate about helping independent pet businesses stand out in front of their competitors and attract more clients. She blends business smarts with creativity with formal education in both graphic design and marketing.

New Work: Illustrated Desktop Wallpaper for 2012

Illustrated Wallper from 7LuckyDogs.com

January - Walk Your Dog Month

7 Lucky Dogs is producing an online calendar of computer wallpapers for 2012 to showcase our illustration skills this year to prospects and customers. Each month will be based on a pet related holiday as well as highlight the same textural and graphic style. January is “Walk Your Dog Month” and is available in three different sizes:

 

Large – 1920 x 1200

Medium – 1600 x 1200

Small – 1280 x 1024

 

About the Author
Dara is a brand identity and marketing design strategist at 7 Lucky Dogs, a leading consultancy in marketing to “pet parents”. Through customized marketing and brand identity packages, 7 Lucky Dogs helps you discover what makes your company, product or service different from your competitors. We then translate this differentiation visually into a logo, product packaging, an E-commerce site and promotional materials to reflect those unique attributes. We make our clients look credible and memorable to their prospects while they increase their bottom line. As the owner of 7 Lucky Dogs, Dara is passionate about helping independent pet businesses stand out in front of their competitors and attract more clients. She blends business smarts with creativity with formal education in both graphic design and marketing.