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A Note To Pet Product Advertisers…Build Relationships!

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I know a few of you out there are pet bloggers and I’m sure you’ve run into the same frustrating moments as me when it comes to pet product advertisers.  Today we’re veering away form the normal puppy training tips and instead we’re going to give a little lesson on what we think advertisers should be doing to get my attention.  Here’s a list of things  I’d recommend pet product advertisers do to get a better response from us, the pet bloggers.

Adelle and the Trackpad
Now how do you use this thing again…

5 Things Pet Product Advertisers Can Do To Get A Response From Me (The Pet Blogger)

I get several email requests from pet product advertisers every day and if you (the advertiser) don’t somehow make yourself standout it goes directly into the circular file.  Guess what?  You can easily make yourself standout!  The problem is you need to take a little extra time before sending that email request.   Here’s a list of things I’d recommend every advertiser do to get my attention.

1. Figure out my name

My last 4 salutations from Advertisers: Hi, Good Afternoon, Hello, and Dear Sir.  Not one of them included my name.  Come on guys!  First of all, I’m terrible with names in person, but when it’s as easy as going to an About page and finding a person’s name and a little bit about him it doesn’t get much easier then that.

Bonus Points: Figure out my dog’s names, find out more information about me, my dogs, and my story.  Make some kind of connection with me.  You have a Labrador Retriever?  Great! we can relate to fast eating pups.  You’re a puppy raiser too?  Great! we can relate to turning in our dogs when they’re 18 months old.  Weave that information into your email message.

2. Stop using that stupid form letter

I’m going to tell you a true story.  I recently received an email that was addressed Dear FName along with several other spots that required copy/paste of information.  A second email was delivered that clearly had information copy/pasted from my website (the font styles were different then the rest of the email).

The message here:  Please stop using that form letter and send me a personal email.

Bonus Points: Major bonus points if you handwrite and mail me a personal letter.  Forget that email thing…I don’t think it will ever catch on 🙂  Seriously, when was the last time you hand wrote a letter to anyone?  What!? You forgot how to handwrite?  Well, lets get more technical then.  Instead of an email or handwritten letter send me a video response.  Today everyone has an HD video camera on their cell phone. You can easily contact me through YouTube or just email me a link to a personal video message.

3. Read some of my blog posts.

I spent thousands of hours writing hundreds of blog posts.  Pouring my time and energy to talk about some of my favorite topics.  You’re telling me you can’t read a handful to try and get to know me and my blog?  By the way, don’t just cut and paste my last blog title and say you really enjoyed my article about “How To Potty Train A Puppy“.  You will get major red flags for that one.

Bonus Points: Subscribe to my news feed through an RSS Reader like Feedly and read my daily blog posts.  Do this for about a month before contacting me.  Now weave in what you’ve learned about me over the past month.

4. Leave a good comment(s)

I don’t think any advertiser has come to my attention by leaving a comment on my blog.  Let me give you a bit of good advice.  First of all, I try to respond to every “meaningful comment” on my blog.  Put together a well thought out comment and you’ll most likely hear back from me.  Your odds of getting in touch with me this way before your sales pitch will increase 1000% (that’s not a real number, but lets just say by a lot).

Bonus Points:  Don’t stop with one good, meaningful comment.  Subscribe to my blog posts through your favorite RSS reader and keep leaving meaningful comments before making that initial sales pitch.  Comments and interaction don’t stop at my blog…join me at my social media channels: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Google+.  Interact with me there by tweeting, commenting, and liking my posts.

5.  Subscribe to my newsletter

Our newsletter gives you further insight about what we’re up to at the blog.  This gives you one more chance to learn more about me and the dogs and guess what?  Although I have several thousand subscribers I usually only receive a handful of subscribers per day.  I see names and often times recognize them later on.  This is a good way to get in front of my eyes.  Isn’t there a marketing rule of 7 that you can apply in this situation?

Bonus Points: One of the awesome links in my newsletter to one of my blog posts moved you to tears?  Expand upon that on your blog (I’m sure you have a company blog) and link back to me.  Then email me telling me that my post was so moving that you had to respond in a blog post of your own.

My Question For Pet Product Advertisers: Who’s Going To Step Up?

You’re in luck!  95% of pet product advertisers (this is a real number I checked my last 20 emails from advertisers and only 1 used my name) have not stepped up.  If you want to standout and make a connection with me start building a relationship.  Use at least some of these tips and there’s a good chance I will respond back to you.  Use all of these tips and bonus tips and I guarantee we will be chatting and I will seriously consider whatever you’re pitching.

So what’s the problem?  Why will I continue to get the same emails from advertisers not following the above outlined rules?  My guess is that mass emailing pet bloggers works.  Pet bloggers please stop responding to these mass mailings!  It’s a lot easier for advertisers to take a form letter and click send to thousands of email addresses in a single instant.  Building a relationship is much more difficult, but worth it.

What say you pet bloggers?  Do you have a few pet peeves about pet product advertisers?  And pet product advertisers what’s your take?  Are you going to follow these guidelines?  Tell us your thoughts in the comment section below.

By the way, if you’re a pet blogger and you’re trying to get in touch with me follow steps 1-5 above 🙂

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  1. I read this post out of curiosity after reading a couple much-needed potty training posts, and it made so much more sense once I read this comment. I imagined these communications were like:
    “Dear Sir, I represent Tasty Wheat Dog Food and we would like to place an 800px x 100px banner advertisement on your blog. We are willing to pay 4 cents per view and 12 cents per click. We propose an initial advertising contract of $250,000 or 12 months, whichever comes first. If the advertising campaign is successful, we would likely consider renewing on similar terms. Please consider our request and respond at your convenience. Thank you.”
    I didn’t realize until this comment that such requests were asking for product reviews in exchange for providing the product. I think throwing in a “..along with a $500 gift certificate to your local pet store” would go a long way in standing out from the crowd populating the circular file.
    I’m sorry to hear that you get bombarded by a whole separate class of spam. I’ve only read a handful of posts (just found your site today), but I did find them useful and appreciate what you’ve done here! Thank you.

  2. Hi Colby, I’m not a pet blogger but I appreciate your comments here. I’m not really a pet product advertiser either but I’m gonna reach out to you shortly about a dog product that my 12-year-old daughters and I invented. Out of respect for your blog, I won’t turn this comment into spam by saying anything more about the product. Just want you to know that I appreciate your blog and the challenge you face dealing with purely self-serving advertisers.

    I’m actually in the process of trying to talk my wife into getting a puppy (I’ve already convinced my daughters) and so I’m glad I found your blog. I’m going to study it closely once I win the battle. I especially like the article you shared about training your puppy like a guide dog… even if it isn’t one.

    In any case, thanks. Look for a message from me soon.


  3. Yep, I totally get it. We get the totally unrelated requests all the time too. It’s tough to understand why people do this. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Agreed! I wish people would learn a little bit more about the blog before asking me to do something. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. So true – I hate getting generic emails where the sender hasn’t lifted a pinkie finger to learn anything about me or my website. A little personalization goes a long way!

  6. Great post! I agree with you 100%. I just got an email from somebody wanting me to publish their guest post about traveling overseas. Really? This is a pet blog! Even though he wasn’t from a pet company it is still irritating that people don’t take the time to read my blog before asking me to do a review, publish a post, etc. Your article is right on!

  7. Hi Cynthia,

    Good luck with your advertising efforts. Building relationships with pet bloggers is probably the best way to open up a communication channel if you’re an advertiser.

    Take care,

  8. Hi Colby,

    Thanks for sharing this to us! I was on my way to be a pet product advertiser since our company recently found a great pet product and would love to share this great pet toy to the world. I have not tried to get in touch with any pet blogger but always have this idea in mind. It just so happened that I read your “Top 10 pet products from amazon.com” and it leads me to this article. With your guideline above, I’m sure I can get some positive response from pet bloggers. It’s good to know what you (pet bloggers) think. Really appreciate your notes. I’m going to follow your step 1-5 now! Hope to get in touch with you in the nearly future 🙂

  9. I’ve been sending this link to advertisers. So far most don’t respond back. One has actually taken an interest in the blog and asked some questions about puppy training. Another one responded to the link (I don’t think she read it) just kind of saying yeah, yeah, but we’ll give you a free sample and you can be an affiliate just write a blog post and put some ads in your sidebar…Lindsay, you know the drill. I hope all is well with you!

  10. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    When will they get it?

    I was nodding the whole time I read this. I’m with you. Not a single advertiser has left a comment on my blog (other than spammy comments). And they almost always send form letters.

  11. I haven’t responded to these ad (spam) emails in a while, but I guess I got a little fed up a few days ago. I’m going to try sending advertisers to this link to see if anyone follows these tips on building relationships. I’m sure it will fall on deaf ears or more likely it won’t be read.

    By the way, just like Carrie over at Tales and Tails you are great at building relationships with your fellow pet bloggers. You two could definitely teach these brands a thing or ten!

  12. You’ve spoken for hundreds of pet bloggers here. I can’t tell you how many rants I’ve read form bloggers complaining about just what you’ve shared here.

    Personally, my only problem is the time it takes to empty my email. Bad pitches aren’t worth the time to reply.

  13. There was a time when I tried to respond to all of my emails, but today I’m sending 99% of those emails straight to the trash bin.

    Honestly, I would consider doing a review for a a box of treats from someone such as yourself. If you were to start your own treat company I would do a review for a box of treats because you have taken the time to leave thoughtful comments. You’ve added to the discussion. You’ve taken the time to chat with me outside of the blog. You introduced yourself to me in person. You’ve built a relationship! Thank you!

  14. You are preaching to the choir! And I am also sick and tired of pet brands who think that giving me a box of treats is fair trade for a review on my blog. A review requires a lot of extra time to write, requires me to take special pictures that showcase the product, result in lower audience interaction and participation for me and not only that, I’ve worked hard for the readership that I have. I reply to very few of these requests anymore because I don’t feel that the brands have any concept of what it takes for me to present their product to the public. And the frosting on the cake is people who reply when I tell them the post is up and offer suggestions about things I should change. I hope that more bloggers will stop letting brands take advantage of them and ask to get paid for their work and their voice.

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