Effective Dog Marketing for Adoption


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Presented at the American Pets Alive No-Kill Conference 2014.

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Effective Dog Marketing for Adoption

  1. 1. Introduce yourself and give a brief overview of the Dog Marketing team: The Austin Pets Alive! Dog Marketing team is responsible for making sure the animals get in front of as many potential adopters as possible! We do this through a number of channels, and each one is extremely valuable to our efforts. Our volunteers spend countless hours getting to know all of the dogs in the program, writing their bios, taking their photographs and videos, and making sure that they get maximum exposure. The Dog Marketing Leadership structure includes: • Dog Marketing Manager • Writing Coordinator • 2 Photo/Video Coordinators • Database Coordinator • RescueGroups Coordinator • Craigslist Coordinator The Dog Marketing volunteer team includes: • Biographers • Dog Interviewers • Photographers • Videographers • RescueGroups Posters • Craigslist Posters 1
  2. 2. Explain  that  we  believe  that  every  dog  deserves  the  best  marke7ng  available  and  we  do  our  best  to  give  it  to  them!   2
  3. 3. Explain  that  bios  are  one  of  our  main  marke7ng  components  and  if  wri<en  correctly   gives  a  poten7al  adopter  a  chance  to  truly  feel  connected  to  a  dog  –  without  even   mee7ng  them!   Note  that  we  work  with  bios  in  two  ways:  interviewing  on-­‐site  dogs  and  working  with   fosters  to  get  the  informa7on  we  need.   3
  4. 4. Interviewing  On-­‐site  Dogs   We  always  encourage  our  big  brothers/big  sisters,  adop7on  counselors,  behavior  team  members,  etc.   to  send  informa7on  to  Dog  Marke7ng  as  they  learn  more  about  a  par7cular  dog,  but  we  have  a  team   of  people  that  are  specifically  work  on  gathering  informa7on  about  the  dogs  that  we  have  at  site.   Our  dog  interviewers  will  visit  par7cular  dogs  that  need  a  bio  and  spend  some  7me  with  them.  We   encourage  them  to  speak  with  the  dog  counselors  at  site  to  find  out  any  background  informa7on  they   may  know  about  (Were  they  owner  surrenders?  Do  we  know  if  they  are  housebroken?  Do  they  like   kids/cats/dogs?).  The  dog  interviewers  then  take  their  compiled  informa7on  and  fill  out  an  online  form   that  contains  a  series  of  ques7ons.  Once  submi<ed,  this  form  and  all  of  the  informa7on  is   automa7cally  sent  out  to  our  wri7ng  team.  Note  that  a  copy  of  this  ques7onnaire  is  included  in  the   marke7ng  sec7on  of  the  guide  they  were  provided  with.   AOer  the  informa7on  is  distributed  to  our  wri7ng  team,  we  ask  that  a  writer  claim  the  bio  by  signing   up  on  our  Bio  sign-­‐up  spreadsheet.  This  keeps  our  team  from  duplica7ng  efforts  and  ensures  that  we   can  easily  track  who  is  working  on  what.  Writers  are  asked  not  to  claim  more  than  two  bios  at  a  7me  in   order  to  give  everyone  on  the  team  a  chance  to  write  and  we  ask  that  bios  are  submi<ed  within  48   hours  of  being  claimed.   Explain  that  our  wri7ng  team  is  also  encouraged  to  u7lize  a  database  kept  by  our  Big  Brothers/Big  Sisters  program  called  Dog  Diaries.  The  Big  Brothers/Big  Sisters  are  asked  to  rou7nely  enter  informa7on  about  their  li<les.  Entries  can  include  great  details  like  whether  a  dog  loves  to  play  fetch  or  frisbee,  or  poten7al  dietary  needs,  or  special  behaviors  that  will  need  to  be  addressed  in  a  home.  These  details  can  help  give  a  bio  that  extra  person  edge  that  would  bring  a  poten7al  adopter  in  to  meet  the  dog.   Working  with  Fosters   As  soon  as  a  foster  gets  a  good  feel  for  the  dog  they  are  fostering,  they  are  also  asked  to  fill  out  the   online  form.  We  ask  fosters  to  focus  on  specific  behaviors  that  they  have  no7ced  about  how  a  dog  acts   in  a  home    and  any  special  needs  that  the  dog  may  have  (to  be  in  a  home  with  another  dog,  that  they   will  need  help  with  po<y  training,  etc.).   The  online  form  also  provides  fosters  with  a  place  to  a<ach  up  to  three  photos  and  a  video.  Essen7ally,   it  is  a  one-­‐stop  shop  for  fosters,  which  helps  streamline  the  submission  process.   4
  5. 5. Great  photographs  and  videos  can  mean  the  difference  between  an  animal  that  gets  no7ced  and  one  that  gets  passed  on  by.  We've  had  animals  on  our  website  for  weeks  with  no  inquiries  that  have  go<en  interest  as  soon  as  a  great  photo  and/or  video  was  posted!   Never  discount  the  power  of  videos  and  photographs  in  increasing  adop7ons!   5
  6. 6. Who can take photos Explain that anybody can take photos! The digital age has put cameras in the hands of just about everyone and you never know who is going to be in the right place at the right time to capture that perfect moment. A balance of photographers and regular volunteers with their cameras is the key to having a well-rounded collection of profile photos. Good photographers play a very important role in getting good shelter photos, but it’s important to use the resources that they have available. Never discount the impact that a great instagram photo can have. Encourage attendees to recognize that someone is out there experiencing an amazing moment with a shelter dog. It’s about ensuring that people know that they can share those photos with the marketing team. Getting great photos • The most emotional pictures are the ones where the animal is looking right at you. • Try to get some pictures at eye level with the dog. Don’t be afraid to get down low to their level. (ie, on the floor, etc) • If the animal has some funny, beautiful or unusual aspect, try to get a shot of that. For example, if their tail is really unusual, get it in the picture! • If the dog wants to come too close to you (or runs away from you), use a leash to tie them to something. Often the dog will sit down and look at you funny. • Be patient – just follow them around for a while and let them relax. Eventually you will be able to get a good shot. • If the animal is very active, put your camera on ‘action’ mode. • Outdoors around 10 a.m. or 3 p.m. has the best lighting. • Try not to take pictures outdoors in direct sunlight. • Use a treat or a squeaker toy to get their attention. • Sometimes it helps to have someone stand right behind you or over your shoulder with either a toy or a treat. • For the best pictures, make sure they are looking at you and not at the other person! 6
  7. 7. Scroll through the photos one at a time and ask the audience what stands out about each photo to them. Ask them if they feel drawn to the dogs; would the photo make them think about looking at the dog’s profile? What kind of photos to use Our system allows us to post three photos of every dog, so we try to post a close-up, a full-body shot, and an action shot or something that really shows off the dog’s personality (working agility, playing with a tennis ball, etc.). How to submit photos Dog Marketing manages a SmugMug gallery that allows volunteers to upload all of their photos. Then we ask that they notify the dog marketing leadership team that they have uploaded photos and we go and upload the photos to the dog’s profile. This allows us to keep a catalog of all of our photographs for use in a variety of marketing efforts. 7
  8. 8. Explain  that  dog  videos  are  extremely  important,  because  they  show  the  dog  in  ac7on.  While  bios  and  photos  can  paint  a  picture,  a  good  video  brings  the  dog  to  life!   8
  9. 9. Basic  Video  Tips   •   Let  the  dog  get  comfortable  before  you  start  shoo7ng.  Your  video  will  be  more  personable,  because  the  dog  will  be  comfortable  interac7ng  with  the  camera.   •   Try  to  get  some  footage  at  eye  level  with  the  dog.  Don’t  be  afraid  to  get  down  low  to  their  level.  (ie,  on  the  floor,  etc)   •   If  the  animal  has  some  funny,  beau7ful  or  unusual  aspect,  try  to  get  some  footage  of  that.    Highlight  their  most  unique  features!   •   Let  the  dog  run  towards  the  camera  if  they  want  to.  Dog  noses  =  cuteness!   •   Make  sure  the  dog  has  something  to  interact  with  (ie,  a  tennis  ball,  squeaky  toy,  swimming  pool,  etc).   •   Show  off  what  the  dog  already  knows  (sit,  stay,  shake,  etc.)!   •   Don’t  worry  about  external  noises  when  shoo7ng  your  footage  –  you  can  edit  that  out  and  add  royalty-­‐free  music  over  the  video.   Explain  that  it  really  helps  to  have  someone  help  handle  the  dog  while  shoo7ng  video  footage  (throwing  a  toy,  giving  a  treat,  and  showing  off  the  dog’s  tricks).   9
  10. 10. Extraordinary  Videos   •   Great  videos  use  voiceovers  from  the  people  that  know  the  dog  best.     •   They  show  off  the  dog’s  great  traits,  but  also  note  things  that  poten7al  adopters  need  to  know  (no  cats,  etc.)   •   They  are  essen7ally  a  visual  bio.   Ask  a<endees  if  anything  else  stood  out  to  them  about  this  video?  Did  they  connect  with  it?   10
  11. 11. APA!  Website   We  market  dogs  on  the  website  in  the  following  ways:   •   Featured  Dog:  We  feature  a  single  dog  on  the  main  page  of  the  website  to  bring  special  a<en7on  to  them.  We  also  coordinate  other  marke7ng  efforts  to  highlight  the  same  dog.   •   Individual  Dog  Profiles:  Each  profile  contains  3  photos,  a  video,  and  a  bio.  The  bio  can  include  any  extra  video  links   •   Blog  Posts:  Occasionally,  we  write  a  special  blog  post  that  highlights  a  dog  that  needs  some  extra  marke7ng  a<en7on.  These  posts  give  extra  informa7on  that  is  not  included  in  the  bio,  extra  photos,  and  poten7ally  extra  videos.   Craigslist   Most  of  our  dogs  get  posted  to  Craigslist.  Each  dog’s  post  includes  a  special  catchy  headline,  their  bio  informa7on,  their  photos,  and  a  video  (if  available).  Each  post  also  includes  informa7on  that  directs  poten7al  adopters  back  to  the  Aus7n  Pets  Alive!  website.   RescueGroups   RescueGroups  uploads  each  ad  to  more  than  100  adop7on  lis7ng  websites,  including  Pefinder  and  Adopt-­‐a-­‐Pet.   Foster  Billboard  at  HQ   We  post  special  flyers  for  the  dogs  in  foster  at  our  main  adop7on  loca7on  to  ensure  that  they  get  publicity  with  all  the  foot  traffic  we  get.  These  flyers  include  a  photo  of  the  dog  and  bullet  points  that  highlight  the  dog’s  best  traits.   Kennel  Flyers   We  decorate  each  dog’s  kennel  with  a  very  colorful  laminated  flyer  that  include  a  catchy  headline,  a  photo  of  the  dog,  and  the  dog’s  bio.   Social  Media  Channels   •   YouTube  Channel  –  We  upload  all  of  our  dog  videos  to  the  organiza7on’s  YouTube  channel.   •   Instagram  Account  –  We  try  to  highlight  one  dog  each  weekday.   •   Twi<er  Account  –  While  our  PR  team  handles  the  organiza7on’s  twi<er  account,  the  Dog  Marke7ng  team  has  the  ability  to  highlight  par7cular  dogs,  and  share  special  photos  and/or  videos   11
  12. 12. Explain  that  we  have  specific  tools  that  we  use  to  streamline  our  marke7ng  processes:   Google  Groups   Each  group  of  volunteers  within  the  Dog  Marke7ng  team  has  its  own  Google  group  to  ease  communica7ons.  Dog  Marke7ng  leadership  uses  these  groups  to  send  important  informa7on,  updates  and  requests  out  to  the  teams.  The  volunteers  use  these  groups  to  let  other  team  members  know  when  they  are  covering  specific  dogs  or  if  they  need  help  with  something.   Dog  MarkeLng  Wiki   Our  Dog  Marke7ng  Wiki  is  an  online  resource  that  Dog  Marke7ng  volunteers  can  access  to  get  informa7on  on  our  team,  processes,  and  examples  of  successful  submissions.     Master  Dog  MarkeLng  spreadsheet   This  spreadsheet  tracks  every  dog  in  the  program,  their  current  status,  and  specific  dates  in  which  bios/photos/videos  were  posted  and/or  updated.  We  use  this  informa7on  in  many  ways,  but  it  gives  us  an  at-­‐a-­‐glance  way  to  know  which  dogs  haven’t  had  their  profiles  updated  in  a  while.   Bio/Photo/Video  Needs  spreadsheet   This  spreadsheet  is  available  to  all  APA!  volunteers  and  profiles  an  easy  way  to  determine  which  dogs  need  what.  We  use  four  statuses  to  determine  needs:  Incomplete,  Update  Needed,  Complete,  and  In  Progress.  We  also  provide  the  top  5  priori7es  for  each  marke7ng  area,  a  list  of  the  5  longest-­‐stay  dogs,  and  a  list  of  resources  that  will  help  volunteers  help  us  (SmugMug,  Dog  Diaries,  and  Bio  Sign-­‐up  links).     Bio  Sign-­‐up  spreadsheet   Ensures  that  writers  don’t  duplicate  efforts  and  allows  us  to  track  which  bios  are  in  progress  at  all  7mes.   Dog  MarkeLng  Volunteer  Manual   Provides  direc7ons,  7ps,  and  tricks  for  all  dog  marke7ng  photographers  and  videographers.     Explain  that  copies  of  most  of  these  tools  can  be  found  in  the  appendix  of  the  marke7ng  sec7on  of  the  materials  provided  to  them.   12