A common challenge most businesses encounter is customer retention. Those not engaging in compelling communication on a regular basis with their customer base risk losing them to competitors. When we examine the veterinary clinic vertical in particular, another risk to retention is the natural progression of life — the death of a beloved pet. After losing a faithful animal companion, some owners take a while to adopt a new pet into their families. Some need to grieve. Some can’t bear to think of suffering a similar loss again.
Eventually, most end up adopting a new pet, but even the most sophisticated of marketers cannot forecast when this milestone will occur. The owner of a pet who recently passed is often categorized in the clinic’s CRM as a “past customer” versus an active customer or a prospect. Typically, communication ceases beyond final billing. Months or even years could pass before the deceased pet’s owner contacts the clinic to schedule an appointment for their new family pet. Worse yet, in many cases when a lot of time has passed, the “past customer” switches to a new veterinary clinic altogether.
The compassionate professionals at Petersen Pet Hospital faced a similar challenge a few years ago. Although increasing retention was an important goal, executing it begged many questions. How could they become top of mind for current customers, past customers, and prospects? Did it even make sense to remain in contact with past customers who no longer have a living pet? If so, how could they make messaging appeal to people with and without pets?
To solve this content marketing conundrum, Petersen Pet Hospital enlisted Newsletter Pro to design, write, edit, print, and mail their monthly newsletters. Given budgetary constraints, only a select segment of 500 active customers received the printed version. This particular segment included customers that had been with Petersen Pet Hospital since they opened on June 23, 2003. Their entire list of past and active customers and prospects had since grown to over 2,000, all of whom receive the digital version of the newsletter, which is emailed. This HTML newsletter is hosted on FlippingBook.com to simulate a true page-turning experience, as the audio and visual effects emulate the actual turning of the newsletter’s pages.
To optimize the distribution of the HTML version, Petersen Pet Hospital uses Hootsuite. This tool enables the marketing manager to distribute the digital newsletter across all social media accounts like Facebook and Instagram in just a few simple steps. They email their newsletter around the same time that they post it on social media, so they can track which medium is more effective. They will know if more people are seeing the HTML newsletter because it was pushed as an email or if more people saw the version that was pulled when the user decided to click on the social media post. By partnering with Newsletter Pro, this clinic is also privy to digital newsletter campaign metrics such as unique page views, time on page, and bounce rate.
Petersen Pet Hospital credits Newsletter Pro with their newsletter’s success, stating that the content is fantastic. It engages readers while educating and entertaining, which increases its lifespan in both print and digital forms. The HTML newsletter enables Petersen Pet Hospital to engage former clients on a routine basis so when they’re ready to adopt a new pet, they’ll return to their former trusted vet.
As a result of Petersen Pet Hospital’s partnership with Newsletter Pro through FlippingBook, they have found a way to connect with both past and current clients in a manner that promotes name recognition and deepens interest in their business. On average, Petersen’s FlippingBook newsletter results in 1,022 page visits per month. This is an impressive number on its own merit but is even more impressive when considering that these statistics don’t include page visits that are spurred by a client’s independent search, which can also result from interacting with either the print or digital newsletter.
With a 40% open rate for customers (nearly twice the average for commercial emails), it’s clear that Petersen Pet Hospital’s content continues to resonate with their audience and captures the attention of both active and inactive clients alike. It’s no wonder that consumers find Petersen’s newsletters more engaging than your average email when their content is designed to appeal to a broader audience of animal lovers. Their newsletter includes stories such as “Humpback Whale Saves Scientist” and “3 Outdoor Date Night Ideas,” which fit the general theme of their business while providing additional intrigue. This has allowed Petersen Pet Hospital to improve their overall retention rates for current clients and reactivation rates for past clients — all through their willingness to build lasting relationships through captivating content.
- Based on aggregate data from 2020 and 2021, an average of 1,161 page visits per month can be attributed to the FlippingBook newsletter. This means that the newsletters have been shown to actively drive the audience to interact with the Petersen Pet Hospital brand, keeping the business top of mind for consumers.
- 74.34%–77.15% of page visits through FlippingBook are unique page views, meaning that around 24.25% of customers — or about 533 clients — visit the digital newsletter repeatedly. Repeated engagement with content is a good sign that the message is resonating with consumers, which solidifies Petersen Pet Hospital as a trusted source for information among their audience — boosting overall retention potential and name recognition.
- The data show that, on average, about 40% of customers on Petersen’s email list open the FlippingBook newsletter each month. This is far above the average across all industries at a 21.33% open rate for commercial email communications. This shows that Petersen Pet Hospital is actively retaining more of their audience’s attention through their newsletter than they would be predicted to retain through a standard email marketing campaign.
“Newsletter Pro has really helped us engage our audience on a regular basis and form lasting connections with our clients. I definitely notice that our patients’ parents are more comfortable around us and willing to recommend us to their friends because we have spent time building that relationship and keeping in touch throughout the year.”
– Dr. Petersen