You may have used tools to see how many people visit your website, but have you worked out how to capture their information so you can reach out? People who visit your website (your crowd!) often do so to gain more information about your breed or find out when you’re planning a litter. To reach out with information, you need to have their contact info. A pop-up mailing list is the key to most online businesses, and your kennel can benefit as well from this eaasy to use tool.
Why a Mailing List Service?
A mailing list, specifically, provides privacy for your crowd. Using CC or BCC still exposes your crowd’s e-mail addresses. A mailing list service sends an individual e-mail to each member of the list, with no identifying information passed along to any other individual. It protects them from spam, phishing, and other scams.
Mailing lists also provide for a level of legitimancy on the part of your kennel. It provides assurances and trust, so that buyers can be confident that your kennel exists and you aren’t scamming them.
Finally, you can set up automated e-mails ahead of time, so you don’t have to work on the list daily. You can set up a welcome e-mail that tells your crowd about your kennel and your purpose. Once they’re familiar with your kennel, you can schedule weeks or months worth of e-mails in one sitting.
Choosing a Provider
Your choice of provider is fairly simple and based on only a few factors. With larger businesses and mailing lists, the decision becomes complicated. But for the average kennel, your list will remain relatively small and require few bells and whistles.
Your first consideration is, most likely, price. Good news–there are free options. Small lists (under 2000 e-mail addresses) are free with Mailchimp, my preferred provider. There are no bells and whistles, but for small lists they are unnecessary.
Once your list grows above 2000, paid options are readily available and inexpensive, under $30 a month. Once you transfer into paid accounts, you can segment your audience. This allows you to send different e-mails depending on what that e-mail address is interested in. For example, you can send stud announcements to fellow breeders only, and puppy announcements only to people actively looking for a pet.
Depending on where you’re located, you may be required to do certain things with an e-mail list. I am not a lawyer, so if you’re concerned, consult with one.
That aside, in the USA you are required to include a mailing address and unsubscribe option in each mailing. Luckily, your provider will include that information automatically in each e-mail it sends. You will need to give your provider a mailing address (I recommend a P.O. Box.)
People also must choose to be on your mailing list. Even if you have collected e-mail addresses, you’ll want to prompt them to join your official mailing list. We’ll set up a website for them to sign up.
Setting Up a Mailchimp Mailing List
I’m going to walk you through setting up an e-mail list with Mailchimp, setting up your branding, and setting up a pop-up form on your website.
Start by visiting Mailchimp.com and choose “sign up.” Set up an initial account. You’ll confirm through your e-mail address. Once you’ve done that, the website will ask which level of e-mail list. If you choose a paid option, you’ll next be prompted to pay.
Next, it will ask for some personal information. Fill this out honestly and correctly, because it will appear in your e-mails. It will also tie your e-mail list with a Facebook and Twitter profile. This publishes your e-mails to your social media websites. Only do this if you don’t already have a social media strategy.
Setting Up Your Pop-Up
The type of pop-up depends greatly on the type of website you already have. If you go to the top right and mouseover your name, a menu will drop. Choose “Connected Sites.”
Find the type of hosting of your website. If you have a WordPress website, WordPress is under Website Builder. If your website was built otherwise, find the software used. You’ll take the HTML provided and paste it into your website. You can paste it into the header.
Go ahead and personalize the message. Tell them what they’ll get (updates on your kennel, litters, and dogs), and you’ll find many more than you expect will sign up.
Once you’ve installed the pop-up, you’re going to want to set up a template. The app lets you use a template and add your text each time, which saves time and makes sure your e-mails include your website, current information, and has consistent layout.
Along the top, click on Templates. Choose a basic layout, and put your specific information inside. You can include a banner image or a captivating puppy image. Adding a text block will let you list your current and upcoming litters. You can change the template whenever you want.
How to Send an E-Mail
The more you contact your crowd, the more they will respond, but with a caveat. Each contact must be unique (don’t copy and paste in the main content), and you must be consistent. Start by contacting them weekly. If you drop off the map for a few months, you’ll have to reel them back in later. In the long run, aim to send them an e-mail at least three times a week.
To start a new e-mail, click on Campaigns at the top left, and then Create. The software will walk you through a few options. Once you’ve created your e-mail, you are then given the option to schedule it for a future date. This is a great way to fill out your month ahead of time, especially if you don’t expect to have puppies.
What To Say
What can you say?
You can say anything you want about your dogs. If you have puppies, send frequent e-mails with updated information about the litter. Tell them how many puppies are left, if you have any that are especially suited for competition homes, and a little bit about their personalities.
If you have older dogs available, your mailing list is a great resource for permanent homes. You’ve hopefully connected with people through your website and social media, so the mailing list lets you say a little bit more about the dog even if you don’t want to post it for just anyone to see.
Share information about your breed. If your breed’s nationals are coming up, let them know–even if you won’t be attending. Talk about health clearances, competitions, and other events.
Tell them about yourself, too. Share your history in dogs, and why you love your breed. You’re trying to create connections with strangers, so tell them about you.
Will you be starting your mailing list?
Learn more about using the Internet to promote your kennel:
- Not sure you can do it yourself? We do that!
- Visit our Facebook page, Social Media for Dog Breeders. Like and follow to receive regular tips and tricks.