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Reinventing Animal Shelters

with Digital Marketing

Awareness can keep a local animal shelter alive. In today’s world, getting attention is far more difficult if you can’t keep up with trends. Right now that trend is going online, something shelters can’t keep up with.

It is far too easy for shelters to be low on funds and overflowing with animals. The cost of spaying/neutering, vaccinating, and general pet costs add up fast, especially when you have 30+ animals under your roof. This leaves little room in the budget for web design or to pay for an online digital marketing agency.

Now imagine a perfect world where shelters have more funding. Picture a campaign that can boost search engine optimization and save animal lives, all while taking a large burden off animal shelters. But how you ask? Online! Through online resources, like social media, shelters can spread a message that makes pet owners more responsible and reduces strays. One thing shelters should not do is be afraid to ask or reach out to web designers. It never hurts to ask, and you’d be surprised as to how many places take a lower rate for good causes. No harm will come from presenting a budget to a digital agency and seeing what they can do for you.

Animal videos are getting shared like crazy on platforms like Facebook. If shelters could create similar videos that have an underlining message to leash, spay/neuter, and microchip their animals they could boost the buzz around their shelter and spread a message that makes pet owners more responsible while drawing more people from social media to their website.

Media in any form is incredibly influential for pet owners in both good and bad ways. With the help of social media, lost pets can be returned to owners in record time. Shelters can share images of their adoptable animals and triple the number of potential adopters that see’s that animal. Media also has the power to spread breed stereotypes, evident in the case of the pit bull, a kind-hearted breed assumed dangerous due to bad training and owner mistreatment. Also, consider Finding Nemo or 101 Dalmatians. After Finding Nemo came out, there was a huge demand for clownfish. Likewise with 101 Dalmatians. After the film, there was a skyrocket of Dalmatian sales and a short time later shelters were overrun with abandoned Dalmatians. So the question is, can shelters do the same? Can they spread awareness and create a demand for rescue animals using digital marketing and social media? I think the answer is yes, and that it is something that needs to take a higher priority!

Last December an Atlanta animal shelter, Furkids, made a low budget commercial where they tried selling their animals in a commercial what imitated a bad used car commercial. The humorous video took about 30 minutes to film and now has 4,869,426 views on Youtube! It just goes to show, if you put something online you have a huge audience that can hear your message, and that is untapped potential for animal shelters to completely change how we view our animal companions. My recommendation? Having more shelters bring on unpaid college student interns majoring in electronic media communication, public relations, and advertising to help them go online, boost SEO and web traffic.

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