A NEW YEAR HAS begun, and inevitably we’re seeing a lot of pet business owners come down with cases of the “I shoulds.”
I should be posting more often to social media …
I should be sending more newsletters …
I should start a TikTok channel …
Does this sound like you? If so, you’re not alone. For owners of independent small businesses, this is a huge struggle. We’re conditioned to see opportunity everywhere. We wouldn’t have started our businesses if we didn’t. The flip side is that we tend to suffer from “squirrel syndrome,” and an especially big case of the “I shoulds” when a new year rolls around.
I’ll tell you what I say to both the world-leading pet brands I work with at Cause Digital Marketing and the smaller petpreneurs I coach through Working With Dog: “That would be nice, but if you don’t know how that specific tactic will fuel your business goals… no, you shouldn’t.”
A large part of what I do with pet businesses involves telling them what not to do (at least not right now). Instead we decide what they should focus their time, money and attention on to achieve their business goals.
While I am a huge believer in content marketing (social media, blogging, guest writing, newsletter building, etc.) as one of the most solid, long-term marketing strategies, it can be especially wasteful. The reason is simple:
It’s way harder to know how to budget, which channels to choose, how much time to spend and how to tell whether it’s working. After all, if you run an ad and get no sales, it’s easy not to do it again; but if you have a social media following and are struggling to get sales, it’s not necessarily that easy to pinpoint the issue.
As you consider digital marketing, here are two guideposts to help:
1. Assess the channel. Make sure you can draw a straight line from what you’re trying to achieve (get more awareness, build trust, get sales, etc.) to which content marketing channel works best for that. For example, TikTok can be fab for getting you new, international exposure and reaching a younger audience, but it isn’t as great for driving local product sales now. So using TikTok to drive newsletter subscriptions and traffic to products on your website will help you draw the easiest line from marketing to sales. You can get our guide to assessing additional channels at causedigitalmarketing.com/petsplusmag.
2. Publish once, distribute everywhere. Even the world-leading pet brands don’t have unlimited budgets, so this is how I’ve helped them cut costs while increasing impact. Many small brands think they should only share a blog post to social media once or write a completely different newsletter topic. This wastes so much time and money! Instead, focus on creating content that works as a campaign: Publish it to your blog, share it several times over several months (or years!) on social, make it your newsletter topic at least once. This increases visibility and saves you tons of time and cost.
As you begin 2022, focus on overcoming your case of the “I shoulds.” Your marketing budget will be happier for it. (And you will too!)