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Welcome to Pet Legacy's eNewsletter

Laying the Groundwork for a Strong Future

Friends and colleagues,

As the leaves change color, many of us turn our thoughts to the end of the year, the holidays, and in many parts of the country, the coming colder weather. In this quarter’s newsletter we invite you to look ahead even further, and think about how keep your memorial business strong for the next five years, the next 10 years, and beyond – and how Pet Legacy Marketing can help.

We begin with Reaching Millennial Pet Owners, an article about the generation born between 1980 and 2000. This group of 80 million is the biggest generation in American history, and already makes up a significant part of your largest target client group. As a memorial business owner, it's vital you understand who they are, what they want, and how they decide where to spend their money. To that end, we've also included Why Your Business Brand Matters More Than Ever, which explores how to make your practice the choice of this massive, influential cohort.

The first place to start is with a great customized website for your memorial business. If you’re still unsure that it is necessary, please read Why a Great Website is Still a Great Investment. Online marketing without your own memorial business website is basically like building your house without a foundation – definitely something you don’t want to do.

Finally, our Spotlight on New Design showcases our custom website for Into the Sunset — a warm, inviting site whose modern, welcoming design perfectly captures the professionalism and quality of client service the business offers.

Thank you for taking the time to read the Pet Legacy Marketing quarterly newsletter. Offering valuable information to help you make the best decisions and grow your business is our only goal, each and every day. If you have questions, please feel free to contact me directly at 603-743-4321.

—Dr. Mark Feltz, DVM, and the Creative Team at Pet Legacy Marketing

Reaching Millennial Pet Owners: Yelp Reviews Make Their Tails Wag

According to a study by Wakefield Research, the millennial generation — those born between 1980 and 2000 — is set to have more spending power than Baby Boomers by 2018. One statistic from Appfolio, a property management company, suggests that over 76% of millennials are pet owners.

As a millennial and a pet owner, I can't speak for all my peers, but I can offer anecdotes of my own.

Millennials: The First Digital Natives

It's often said millennials don't remember life without the Internet. While that isn't strictly true for me, Google is my first stop when I need information.

After 15 years on earth, my cat, whom my parents had adopted when I was in middle school, was terminally ill. We agreed that simply letting the veterinarian dispose of the remains didn't seem right for a member of our family, and I took on the task of finding how to properly memorialize her. In this case, Google was again the first resource I used to find pet memorial services in my area.

However, not all sources of information on the Internet are worthwhile or trustworthy. In an article from the Columbia College Marketing Division, researchers found millennials look to friends and experts to recommend brands, products and services. In this case, the word expert doesn’t necessarily mean someone with professional or academic credentials, but rather someone with first-hand experience.

In my case, I consulted a variety of sources to figure out which pet memorial business would be the best choice. First I turned to my peers in the form of a question on Facebook. But few had suggestions for me, and with my cat's final visit to the veterinarian looming, I needed to make a decision soon.

Making The Call With Yelp

My next stop was the business review site Yelp. I don’t completely trust Yelp's algorithm for finding fraudulent reviews, nor do I take every word written by users as gospel, but the website is one of the only places cataloging experiences with pet memorial businesses in my area. One pet memorial company had multiple reviews that said the pet memorial company ended up charging substantially more than they quoted. This was a red flag for me.

I ended up choosing a company with more favorable reviews, and was happy with my experience. The staff was compassionate and professional, and they were patient with our questions about their available services. We now have a fitting remembrance for our cat.

We might have received excellent service at the pet funeral home I decided against, but I wasn't willing to take a risk. Besides, with the second pet memorial company's stellar reviews, the choice was easy.

Online Reputation Management For Veterinarians

The idea that pet owners, especially those from my generation, can be influenced by reviews written by people on a website that has no direct connection to your pet memorial service is frustrating for many business owners. There are ways, however, that you can help shape the online conversation about your pet memorial company.

One way is through working with a company that offers online reputation management. Reputation management experts monitor review and social media websites and track mentions of your company. They can ensure positive reviews get the most attention, and mitigate the impact of negative reviews.

Pet Legacy Marketing's reputation management services are specially designed for businesses in the pet loss services industry. Our reputation management experts know where pet owners go to sound off about their experiences at pet memorial companies, and we know how to lessen the impact of negative reviews and solicit genuine positive experiences from pet owners. We also know how to monitor these websites to make sure every review is spotted quickly. That way, fraudulent reviews can be found before they become part of your veterinary hospital’s narrative.

If you want to continue to attract millennials as the group’s spending power increases, reputation management is a must for your pet memorial business. Contact Pet Legacy Marketing today to learn more.

Why Your Brand Matters Now More Than Ever

Differentiating your memorial business in today's market based on services and prices is not enough. Your clients, especially the millennials, expect more. They are the largest generation in American history and are different from their predecessors in important ways. The bottom line for your business? Attracting them may require you to re-think your branding strategy.

According to Tam Powell's article Millennials: How They Make Decisions, "Brands that fail to acknowledge, understand and embrace the needs and characteristics of this generation…will have a difficult time developing and marketing appealing products/services to this group of tomorrow's big spenders."

So what do we know about millennials? They:

  • seek personal connections and relationships
  • value authenticity and transparency
  • trust recommendations from friends
  • expect messages to speak directly to them
  • see their purchasing choices as a form of self-expression (What does this say about me?)
  • like brands that have social purpose to which they can relate

Developing successful strategies to attract and connect with this group will not only benefit your business now, but continue to pay dividends in the future as its members move through adulthood. They will likely be the influential core of your business for many decades.

Defining Your Brand Now and For the Future

Successful branding captures your memorial business's values and elicits the vital emotional response that makes pet owners choose you over your competition. Ask yourself:

  • Why should younger pet owners choose you over another memorial business or burial option?
  • What's the first thing you want them to think when they hear your memorial business' name?

If you can't answer these questions, neither can potential clients.

To being re-thinking how you brand your practice, compile a list of features that make your business unique, and then develop a mission statement. From your mission statement, create a short phrase about the benefits your memorial business provides, not the services. Don't focus only on selling your services. You need to stand out: make sure millennials know how your memorial services make their lives and their pets' lives better.

Meaningful Connections Mean More

As you complete this exercise, remember to keep in mind the things millennials find appealing. Be personal and authentic in your approach and align your practice with the values they hold in high esteem. Positioning your practice to build a connection with millennial pet owners will keep your business flourishing now and for years to come. Call the experts at Pet Legacy Marketing today to find out how we can help you define your brand and create a marketing strategy that makes you stand out from the crowd.

Why a Great Website is Still A Great Investment

With Facebook, online directories and review sites that list your business's profile and contact information, you may think having a website is something you can skip when it comes to online marketing. Foregoing a website for your pet memorial business, however, would be a big mistake. Just ask Matt Cutts, the head of Google's Webspam team and the software engineer behind Google's ever-changing search algorithms. He says companies lacking a website are basically invisible online.

Even in 2014, a great custom website should still be the cornerstone of your digital marketing strategy. If you choose to market your memorial business without one, you will definitely be missing out on sales.

Your Memorial Business Deserves the Best

Let's take things a step further. You need a website, but you should also strongly consider one that's professionally designed and written. As a business owner, you carefully choose the physical location of your business, your signage, and your interior design to attract the most customers; your online presence should be no different. The design of your site (your digital exterior), the content (your digital interior), and where it shows up on search engine results (your digital location) are vital considerations.

First, a website is still the most effective way to get your business to the top of search rankings — the most coveted, sought-after spot in the digital world. Once you're there, you still need to impress. When pet owners click on your custom site, the professional design and straightforward navigation immediately instills confidence in the quality of your services and expertise. The logo, colors and font choice are unmistakably a reflection of your unique brand and begin the important process of differentiating you from your competition. Finally, you communicate the benefits of your services within a carefully woven narrative infused with warmth and sensitivity that deeply resonates with mourning pet owners.

Working together, these elements lead pet owners to take the most important step: picking up the phone and calling you. None of these messages — what your brand means, the benefits of your services, what makes you stand out — could be transmitted to pet owners nearly as effectively with only a Facebook page, online directory or review site.

"The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago." – Chinese Proverb

The pet memorial business is booming. Now is the time to make the right marketing decisions that will keep your business strong for years to come. Don't wait until competition increases before deciding to firmly establish yourself as a pet memorial services leader among pet owners in your area. Plant your tree on the digital landscape now with an expertly designed custom website. Pet Legacy Marketing is here to help. To find out how to get started, call us today!

Spotlight on New Design

Into the Sunset: Clean, Warm and Modern

Into the Sunset is a pet transition center in San Diego. The company's new website is an excellent example of how bolder color choices and a clean layout can create a contemporary design, while font choice, content and sepia-toned images convey the warmth and sensitivity that pet owners need when grieving the loss of their pet.

Into The Sunset

"Pet Legacy Marketing has been so integral to both of my businesses. Everyone always comments on how beautiful our sites are! Thank you!"
– Vivianne Villanueva, CPLP, CGC, Owner, Family Care Coordinator

And Here Comes A Special Offer for You…

Sign up for a new custom website by November 30, 2014, and receive your first three months of web hosting for free — a $375 value! To find out more, please contact Jen Henry, our Customer Account Executive. Both warm and charismatic, Jen is here to answer all your questions and make sure your needs are met fully by our professional design and editorial teams.

Jen lives in Rollinsford, NH with her partner Michael, a geophysicist, actor and joint caregiver of their two pets: a dog, Jaxson, and a cat, Lil' Bean. When not at work, Jen directs and stars in numerous theatrical productions in the Seacoast area and enjoys playing a mean game of paintball.

Pet Legacy Marketing Services

Pet Legacy Marketing is a full-service marketing company dedicated to the needs of pet hospice, crematory, and memorial businesses. Our professional graphic designers and writers are here to help take your practice to the next level. If it's time to re-design your website, or add a mobile site or our proven SEO services, give us a call today!


Sincerely yours,

Mark Feltz, DVM and the Staff at Pet Legacy Marketing
(603) 953-0052
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