30%: Yes

  • Direct mail with a coupon or a redemption for a free item works better than just an informative item. Stacy Busch-Heisserer, Busch Pet Products, Cape Girardeau, MO
  • In-house generated address lists for two to three mailings per year have worked well. We make the postcard worth $2 off any event-day purchase, and we usually get between 5 and 7 percent of the cards turned in for the discount. What hasn’t worked is purchased mailing lists. We saw little to no return of the postcards with that promotion. Kate Lindburg, Animal Crackers Pet Supply, Corvallis, OR
  • We created a beautiful oversized card with several offers for each service we offer. Was sent to targeted ZIP codes. The recipient had to bring it in for the discount (or mention the card). Almost no response! We probably won’t do direct mail for a long while. Still best results are from current customer referrals and social-media presence. Suzanne Locker, ABC Pet Resort & Spa, Houston, TX
  • I love to send direct mail to veterinarians. They are my biggest referrals due to the nature of the cat grooming industry. I typically find a funny, relatable card to accompany my message. I always handwrite it, which is the best form of adding a personal touch. Rachel Diller, Urban Sophisticats, Littleton, CO

70%: No

  • We use email blasts through our POS and booking system, Gingr. We receive the data of of views, bounces, etc. from the system. We compare sales to previous years and expected projections. Amanda Smith, Play Dog Play, Burlington, VT
  • Seems more effective to use online advertising and word of mouth. Zachary Fincher, Petland, Columbus, GA
  • We offered a free self-service dog wash (value $16) and had only a handful of the thousands we mailed redeemed. I found it to be a waste of money. Heidi Neal, Loyal Biscuit Co., Rockland, ME
  • I have a great marketing team that believes in branding, a great logo and eye-catching billboards. I have used billboards and digital billboards and have found that’s been the number one response when I ask clients how they heard about us. Second is Facebook/Google. Angela Pantalone, Wag Central, Stratford, CT
  • It is pretty expensive; and I look at my own personal habits of throwing away anything that looks like an ad or “junk” mail. Alli McDonough, Fido & Stitch, Grand Rapids, MI
  • We used to send out mail flyers with a coupon, and it wasn’t getting the ROI we hoped for. We spend more advertising dollars on social media and give out coupons with treats to local restaurants and businesses for them to hand out. Jill Rodriguez, Bella & Lindy Pet Boutique, Saratoga Springs, NY

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This article originally appeared in the January 2018 edition of PETS+.