Email Marketing for Dog Clubs

People Like to Receive Relevant Email

I’m continuing to share some highlights from the AKC’s Digital Marketing 101 webinar in this post. AKC Brand Strategist Aurora Greenberg took the lead to explain how clubs can use email marketing. She shared research showing that people like to receive promotional emails from companies they do business with. Email is more effective than social media in helping companies acquire new customers.

Email Marketing is Affordable on a Dog Club Budget

Email marketing can be an inexpensive way to marketing your event or club compared to other types of marketing. You need to be careful your message is personalized and relevant, no one likes spam or excessive numbers of emails.

You also have the ability to test email marketing effectiveness by sending different versions to different people to see if one generates a different response. These differences can be subject lines, email copy or images in the email.

Using an email provider allows you to track open rates, click through rates, and actions taken to measure success. Several of these providers, including MailChimp, Mailjet and Mailerlite have free versions that can handle a typical dog club’s needs. Aurora mentioned some other options in the webinar as well.

How to Build Email Marketing Lists

Ask people to include their email on event registration forms, hand out forms at your events to invite them to join your email list. Include an option on your website to sign up to get on a list for upcoming events.

Clubs who are planning events can also reach out to AKC Club Development, who can send emails to a targeted list of people in the AKC database through its Club Outreach program on their behalf. This service is free but requires the clubs to opt-in or request this assistance. Clubs have the option to customize these messages and can encourage recipients to sign up for email updates.

How to Design Marketing Emails

Emails should be easy to scan so people immediately know what they are about and will open them if interested. This means a short subject line so it’s easy to read on a mobile device, and the rest of the content should be easy to read regardless of the device it’s being viewed on. Email service providers have templates available to aid in this process.

Your email should clearly state who it’s from, what you want people to do, and give them an option to un-subscribe. These elements not only encourage people to trust you, they keep you from violating the CAN-SPAM Act.

More Resources

Aurora also mentioned a couple of online email marketing guides that clubs can refer to on this topic, including Really Good Emails and the Hubspot Guide to Email Marketing.

Get Started with Dog Club Email Marketing

These are the next steps you should take to start using email to promote your club.

  • First, contact AKC Club Development and enlist their help to promote your next event through their Club Outreach email program.
  • Develop an email list. Think about ways you can encourage people to share their email; make a form to fill out at club events, have your event secretary save all exhibitors email addresses along with their names in a spreadsheet, keep track of members names and emails in a spreadsheet as well.
  • Think about how and what you’d like to communicate. Do you want to focus on inviting people to your events? What about meetings? Do you want to share an e-newsletter?
  • Look into free and low cost email marketing services and pick one. Send an email to the people in your current email list. As them for feedback on the email and what they are looking for from your club.
  • Improve your content, grow your list, and repeat!

Cleo  Parker

Cleo has been working with dogs and showing Bull Terriers at AKC events since she was a teenager. She is an AKC Breeder of Merit and was approved as an AKC licensed conformation dog show judge in 2018. Professionally, she has held marketing insights and analytics roles in a variety of industries, including automotive, advertising, and pet specialty retail.

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