Diego Saenz, president of PetPlace.com, discusses the launch of the content site’s e-commerce venture, PetProductAdvisor.com
Q What drove PetPlace to launch a shopping site?
A The initial vision for our overall brand was to create the premier media site for the pet space. Eventually, we branched out into other products, selling a site called VetSuite.com to Novartis, and we reinvested that money into a marketing engine. One part of that was creating an e-mail list and implementing a direct response program.
Q How did you get from selling through e-mail only to launching a dedicated site?
A We started to offer a newsletter program for our advertisers and saw that the newsletter program was performing about four to five times better than the banner ads. We thought, “We’ve done a good job building a loyal following, understanding that audience so that we segment it correctly and pitch offers to the right person, and we’re seeing great results. Why don’t we diversify and launch an e-commerce section?”
Q What’s your philosophy in terms of how the e-commerce site should work?
A We believe in clear, concise copy that sells, so we feature longer, compelling copy rather than short landing pages. We also feature video, because we thought that would convert better. We also try to put a very compelling offer on each landing page.
Q How have you continued to leverage your e-mail program after the site launch?
A Our custom landing pages are linked directly from e-mails. Prospects come from the newsletter — from our targeted group — to the landing page with a clear offer. We split test a lot in terms of pricing and headlines. Once e-mail prospects become a customer, they come back to the store and buy more.
Q What are your sales results so far?
A We are at more than $700,000 in sales since we began selling through e-mail last December. The site launched in late January, and we’ve been on a good pace.
Q What are your plans to continue to build out this part of your business?
A We’re going to cross-promote PetProductAdvisor with PetPlace in a big way. We’re very active on Twitter and trying to go through the same approach we did through e-mail in terms of building a relationship there — we’re starting to develop promotional campaigns and Twitter codes. We’re also going to optimize the site itself. We’re obsessive about conversion funnel and conversion metrics.