The fifty poisonous dart frogs needing to travel from Switzerland to McAllan, TX didn’t deter PetRelocation.com. Nor did the single beloved Siamese fighting fish which was moved from San Francisco to Amsterdam. PetRelocation.com even successfully transported a swarm of mosquitoes tagged for academic research – a move that has entered company lore.
When a pet move goes well, owners are more than just satisfied. They are relieved and grateful – and that’s just the sort of customer who makes for good social media content. Caitlin Moore, new media coordinator for Petrelocation.com, collects, edits and disseminates satisfied mover stories, along with other content, on a variety of platforms.
The obvious forum is the company’s own blog, which features a menagerie of move stories, moving tips, pet-friendly destination features and health issues, among other features. In addition, Moore disseminates the content on Facebook and Google+, posts pictures to Pinterest pages, and teases items via Twitter.
But the company also uses its collected stories in a much more tailored and personalized way: When a prospect contacts its service center for a quote, representatives scour its satisfied customer database. Prospects receive estimates accompanied by a tale of a similar pet moved from a similar starting point to a similar destination.
“We solicit customer testimonials after people have moved and had a chance to settle in,” Moore, whose job includes editing the stories for grammar and other basic cleanup functions, estimates she posts around a dozen pet moving stories a month.
Between Google Analytics, HubSpot and metrics provided by Compendium, the software that serves as the backbone for Petrelocation.com’s customer story and information database, the company has a reasonable idea of which social media sites are contributing to its coffers.
“Facebook, in terms of driving leads to customers, has been the best social site for us,” says Rachel Farris, Petrelocation.com’s director of operations. “We receive leads from the others ones – Twitter, especially – but in terms of converting to customers, they haven’t been as successful.”
One reason for this is that the text-and-picture aspect of Facebook allows Petrelocation.com to best showcase its value. The service isn’t cheap: Relocations start at around $1,100 for a domestic and average around $4,500 for international moves. Between Facebook’s new recommendation feature and the photos of satisfied owners with their pets, the social network presents “a very visually appealing billboard of what we are doing,” Farris says.
Leads that come in from Facebook can convert at rates of up to 15%, she adds. “Twitter has value. We use it for word of mouth. We can learn about our potential clients by looking at who they are – most people don’t protect their tweets. But in terms of driving leads to customers, Facebook is beating Twitter.”
The effectiveness of content-based marketing comes as no surprise to Frank Dale, Compendium’s president and CEO. In fact, some marketers may be penalized for not providing enough information, especially of the type their prospects are looking for.
“People expect, because they can get information [more easily than ever before], you to be more transparent,” Dale says. “[Prospects] expect you to publish things that weren’t previously out there. People tend to be a little more frustrated if they can’t get pricing or a straight answer.”
Dale cautions marketers not to hide their prices. Social media, he says, gives customers the ability to discuss pricing – and it’s not uncommon for those discussions to be off base. “Either [marketers] can participate and supply information that is relevant, or they can let someone supply it for them and hope it works out.”
Compendium’s bread and butter, however, is based in facilitating customers’ ability to generate copy for marketers. “They are always more credible than you are,” Dale says of this type of content. Compendium’s offerings not only help solicit the content but store it in a highly searchable database and ease its syndication to a variety of social media platforms.
Marketing that tugs at the heartstrings can help bridge the relatively long sales cycle. “Someone might submit a [query] in January to move a pet to Australia, but might not be moving for two to three years,” says Farris.
The company uses a monthly email newsletter to keep in contact with prospects. Its file stands at around 30,000 recipients, with roughly 2,000 added each month. Recipients who haven’t clicked through
Moore populates its content with a “Relocation of the month” story, as well as a variety of informative and amusing content chosen from the top posts to its blog and website. Clickthrough rates in the newsletter are in the 25%-30% range for a given article, according to Farris.