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Email Best Practices

Pet & Veterinarian Email Marketing

As an experienced pet or veterinarian business owner or manager, you know your overall services may not be obvious to all prospects in your area. They may know your location by viewing your signage, but they may not be aware that you offer the precise types of products and services their pets and family require. They may not know that your clinic offers house calls with extended consultation or has packages for canine RV, DHLPP and Lyme, or feline RV, FIV, FVRCCP and FELV vaccines. If you have a pet retail outlet, your customers may not be aware that - in one handy location - they can have their pets groomed, take specialty photographs or sign up for dog training classes! To appeal to customers seeking offerings at your facility, careful consideration must be given to a number of important factors.
Email marketing for pet and veterinarian businesses differs radically from placing a listing in the Yellow Pages or running an ad in local newspapers, radio or television. The regulatory requirements for email marketing are far more restrictive and federal law is extremely specific on the procedures all pet or veterinarian business owners and managers must follow.
United States federal law dictates that customer data cannot be entered into your subscription email list unless specific permission was obtained from the client. Violation of this legislation is considered a serious crime and carries heavy fines and potential prison sentences.
Federal CAN-SPAM Law Regulates Email Marketing
In the United States of America, the legislation that has jurisdiction over all forms of email marketing is called CAN-SPAM. CAN-SPAM describes the standards of email marketing online activities. The legislation explicitly states that any subscriber should be able to immediately opt out of your list at their very first request. Violations of the CAN-SPAM Act can lead to severe fines and even incarceration.
Unsubscription Facilitation
Your pet or veterinarian business must make it easy for your subscriber to request removal from your systems through a link contained in all of your outgoing email missives. Failure to swiftly and irrevocably honor any type of unsubscription request is a severe violation of federal law and may trigger extreme legal sanctions against your pet or veterinarian business.
Bouncing Email Control
When your pet or veterinarian business sends out any type of email - whether it is a personal message, a business reply or an email marketing newsletter - one of three results will occur. If the send turns out to be successful (as most emails are), then it will then be delivered with no negative follow-up report. If the send is delayed due to a problem with your customer's email account or an Internet network issue, then it is called a soft bounce. If email sends cannot be executed due to the address being blocked or unavailable, then it is known as a hard bounce.

When you receive a soft bounce report back from the Web's Mailer Daemon service, it is advisable to contact the customer through other forms of communication and inform them of the delivery issue. If you receive a hard bounce notice, then you must immediately strike that email address from your subscription list, as resending to a hard bounce email address is a primary identifying characteristic of professional spammers.
Privacy Policy
It is important to have a privacy policy specifically written to suit the precise activities of your company's online engagements. Copying and pasting from a competitor's website to your own leaves your business open to legal challenges, which can be expensive to fight in court. Your privacy policy should be written by your pet and veterinarian business lawyer to ensure that it thoroughly covers the entire course of the way your company conducts its online business.
List Segmentation
Email segmentation is by far the best method for focusing your online communications strategy based on the demographic and behavior characteristics of your subscribers. Through the application of segmentation techniques, you can develop email marketing content that precisely fits the characteristics of your subscriber base and offer the types of discounts, events, products, services, feed, medication, equipment and accessories each group is most likely to be interested in.
Ongoing Content Testing
The A/B split is one of the most important tests available to business owners and managers: it allows you to determine how your subscribers respond to varying a number of elements within an email. By changing just a single parameter, such as the preheader or the subject line of your emails, and then carefully reviewing the resultant open and click-through rates, you will be able to make a clear determination about customers' reactions. Analyzing this data will allow you to continue to test and keep refining your email content to make it as powerful and alluring as possible.
Solicit Your Customer's Personal Data
Many customers are recalcitrant to contribute personal data, but online email surveys have been repeatedly proven as a highly successful way for pet and veterinarian businesses to obtain this information, as are signup sheets near your main or checkout counter. Pet and veterinary business owners and managers report that incentives work wonders in maximizing the percentage of customers who participate in this critical form of polling.
Scrutinizing Your Customer's Behavior Patterns
The best way to determine the success of your email marketing campaign is through an analysis of the open and click-through rate metrics. Some clients of your business who may be habitual customers who never open your emails; these customers are best deleted from your list. Other subscribers may open and read your emails but perennially fail to respond to the call to action and click-through to your landing pages; these individuals should not be eliminated from the list because they are actually reading through your email newsletters and may respond in other manners than a click-through, like by showing up for one of your pet events without registering online as your call to action requested. They may also call in for more information or to book their pets for a visit to your location. The most responsive group contains customers who both read and click through to your website pages; these subscribers are the most valuable from an email marketing standpoint.
Best Email Practice
Adopting best email practices for pet and veterinarian businesses will ensure your email marketing newsletter campaign is fine tuned for best returns. Preheaders and subject lines should be meticulously composed, and the various browser and mobile display pixel resolution restrictions should be managed across the board by your email template. Providing multiple landing pages featuring targeted content specific to the segmented outgoing emails will help generate the wide range of data necessary to perform your A/B split tests.