Reasons to Start Blogging, Plus 10 Quick Topics for Pet Retailers
As a pet store owner, you have a ton of pet-related knowledge. That knowledge (along with your stellar inventory of products) makes a big difference when it comes to attracting and retaining customers but in this growing industry beating your competitors requires more than just excellent customer service. As a small business owner it can sometimes be difficult to find new ways to market your business, connect with customers, and bring them more value. That's where blogging comes in. Blogging is a great and affordable way you can market your business and share your wealth of pet-related knowledge effectively establishing yourself as the local 'pet expert' and connecting directly with your customers.
Your company blog will help deliver valuable information to your customers and pet parents right at their fingertips. You may think that a blog won't bring your business enough value to be a worthwhile investment of your limited time, but let's consider the facts. Here are just some of the benefits of adding a regular blog to your marketing strategy can bring.
Drive More Traffic to Your Website
In some ways blogging is similar to fishing. The wider the net you cast the higher the chance you have of catching more fish. Consider your blog content the net and each time you generate more content the wider your net will become. As more and more pages from your website are indexed in search engines the better your SEO ( Search Engine Optimization) will become. Research shows featuring a blog as a key part of your website will give you a 434% better chance of being ranked highly on search engines.
In the digital age it is incredibly important for a small business to be easily found online. Improving your SEO through things like a blog or online reviews will help your business become more visible online. This means that when someone in your area searches for you specifically or even just a pet store in their area you will be one of the first results they see.
Establish Yourself As A Trusted Resource
As an independent pet retailer you work hard to provide pet parents with the answers to their questions and products that offer them a solution. By creating a blog you can establish yourself as an industry expert all while giving your customers useful information they can reference anytime they need it. Your blogs can be the go to source for customer research before they buy especially since 61 percent of US consumers have made a purchase based on a blog post.
Consistently publishing new blog content will increase engagement and build your credibility as a local pet expert. However, consistent content won't be enough to build trust you need to be producing quality content that is well informed and relevant to your readers.
Generate Leads Through Email Collection
One of the greatest benefits of a blog is its ability to effectively generate leads. Through blog subscriptions you are able to gather data about your readers most importantly you can capture their emails. Once you have their email you can use them in your email marketing strategy to further nurture those relationships. Send them an email when a new blog is published and include other useful information to convert them from a lead to a new paying customer.
To entice readers to subscribe consider offering them something of value in return for their email, like a coupon. You could even consider sending out an email notification to your subscribers and include a coupon relevant to the blog topic. For example, if you share your training tips and tricks in a blog post offer a coupon for training treats within.
Make Connections While Building Your Brand
Through your online presence you are able to express the voice of your business and brand all while sharing your values. Social media can be a great tool for this, but you are limited in expressing yourself to just pictures and a few hundred characters. Blogging is another way you can do this and often, more successfully. In fact, 60 percent of consumers feel a company's positivity after reading their blog. So use your blog to allow the voice of your business to come through and show the personality of the people behind the checkout counter.
The content you choose and the angle you take when writing is what will help build your brand online while forging connections with customers. Just like on social media posts, readers should be able to like, comment, and share your blogs which in turn gives you a boost in engagement.
10 Quick Topics
Turning your wealth of pet knowledge into blog posts, may seem difficult. In fact, if you try to think of blogging topics and find your brain suddenly goes on hiatus – you’re not alone. Chances are, you’re not a blogger. You may make a gazillion excuses about why your blog is looking lonely or why you just have not started one including, that you just “don’t have time” or "I'm not a writer" but this is something anyone can master when given the "old college try". Here are 10 ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
- Answer FAQ’s- What questions do your customers ask repeatedly? If you can’t think of any, then ask your staff. Write down the questions you’re asked over the course of the next week or two and then, answer each of them in their own blog post.
- Create “Best of” lists- Best dog collars, best cat collars, best pet food, etc. While we all know the “best” depends on your needs, you surely have favorites. What if you wrote a post on the best dog collars for large dogs? Then when local people google “best dog collars” or “best large dog collars”, your post has a better chance of showing up. I’ll bet you could knock out a “best of” list in 30 minutes!
- Share Pet Tips- Do you have any great tips on how to make it easier to brush your dog’s teeth or trim a kitten’s claws? Share them via a blog post! Consider recording a video or taking pictures of the process you are teaching to make your blog post more engaging.
- Share Testimonials- Got great customers? Let them tell customers why they shop with you in their own words. Put 3 or 4 testimonials together, add an introduction, a couple of connecting sentences, and a conclusion and viola, you have a blog post.
- Write a Pre-Event Blog Post- If you host or participate in events, why not write a post about it before the event? Share why you’re doing the event and what people can expect from it. Bonus: it gives you more opportunity to market the event through social media and emails.
- Post-Event- What happened afterward? Offer a wrap up for those who couldn’t be there and to remind those who were there how much fun they had. Don’t forget to include pictures!
- Blog About New Arrivals- Got new inventory? Talk about it! Why did you order those catnip mice? What about that new flavor of dog treats? You have your reasons, share them in a post. You could make this a monthly round up of new arrivals.
- Take a Stance- CBD, raw diets, grain-free – there are so many “hot topics” in pet care these days and you have knowledge. Share your insights. It establishes your credibility and your customers will appreciate you for it.
- Interview Another Expert- What other pet professionals do you know? Groomers? Veterinarians? Trainers? Dog walkers? Make a list and then ask each one if you can interview them for your blog. You can do it Q & A style and link back to their site when done. Not only does this help your customers, it also boosts your SEO.
- What ELSE Do You Want Your Customers to Know?- What do few people ask that you WISH they would? You’re a "Subject Matter Expert" so it’s easy to forget how much you know. If you need help, ask your staff about a topic they think you’re an expert in. You may be surprised!
Become a Blogger Today
So, as you can see blogs truly are a budget friendly marketing strategy that any small business should consider. With minimal expenses and a little bit of effort and time you can boost your SEO, and build credibility all while generating leads that are sure to become gained revenue. With the ten blog topics above you can get started today and add blogger onto your resume! Take it slow. Even if you just got started with one or two in order to gain your footing you could easily turn them into multiple topics and stock your blog for the rest of the year.
Do you have any blog topic ideas? Share them in the comments below!
About Jen Phillips April
A web writer since 2005, Jen’s written over 1000 articles on pet-related topics. She’s also led dozens of blogging and social media-themed workshops for small businesses around the country both virtually and in person. Passionate about both pets and digital marketing, you can find out more at jenphillipsapril.com. When not working with her fabulous clients, you can find her eating tacos and practicing her Spanish in her adopted home of the Riviera Maya.