ma-meatloafPetFlow, a 3yr old company set to hit $65MM in online sales in 2013, covered “how social marketing became the rocket fuel for a small startup.” The co-founder and IRCE speaker, Alex Zhardanovsky, claimed he was nervous, but the results he shared on his company’s success were both humorous and engaging.

Customers engage with Facebook’s rich demographic focusing capabilities

PetFlow shared their frustrations with Google AdWords and Facebook advertisements alike; namely when it came to the cost of acquiring new customers. When originally targeting the customer of PetFlow products, they started with Facebook and were spending $300-400 each to acquire a customer. “Facebook sucked” said Alex. “So, we went to Google Adwords and focused on building the right audience for our product.”

They gained the target audience knowledge from adding a short survey to the follow up post-cart interaction page asking shoppers to answer a few short questions. Once PetFlow found their target market in women ages 35 and above, who were fans of Amazon (See: buy products online), and were also shopping higher end retailers like Bloomingdales, Nordstrom and others and were fans of those pages. Eventually, PetFlow came back to the Facebook drawing board and had great success: they brought down the cost of a fan to 35 cents.

Facebook: Using the Platform to Build and Extend Community

Where Facebook really did help, was in solidifying the PetFlow relationship with these newly acquired fans.  The first step was to rename their Facebook page from simply “Pet Flow” to a name and description of their service “Pet Flow – Pet Food Delivery.” They also included other customer experience add-ons like shipment confirmations, promotional emails, contests, blog posts and they even asked customers to send photos of their pets in via Facebook. They also ensured their Facebook page logo was included across all of these customer touches.

Not only was the PetFlow Facebook page growing from new customers, but adding fans who liked the funny animal photos they shared on a daily, (excuse me –20 times a day!) basis. The PetFlow team began posting funny shots of cats “MA, the meatloaf!” and dogs alike and drew more interest in from friends of their target market browsing through their Facebook feeds. The social result is a pet food delivery service that delivers in more ways and more channels than one.