By the time the initial marketing was over, Earth Rated Poop Bags had given away 5,646,585 bags to potential customers and vendors.
The blitz worked. Conversion rates were more than 70%, with retailers placing orders within a month of receiving the samples. To-day, the bags and dispensers are carried in 900 pet stores across North America and parts of Europe. And the numbers just keep growing.
The company said it experienced a tenfold growth in sales in the second year of operations, with sales this year expected to triple. “We pretty much dominate the industry right now,” Mr. Gnanendran said. That in-sight is based on the results of an informal poll of 119 pet stores across Canada to learn how their product was selling compared to its competitors. The data shows 92 out of 119 (77%) stores said that Earth Rated Poop Bags was their best seller in the category.
With the giveaway days behind it, Earth Rated Poop Bags are prominently on display and selling strong in retail stores. “It really stands out,” he said. “The packaging, the branding – it all shows we’re eco-friendly. And the price tag is reasonable, which isn’t always the case for green products.” (The suggested re-tail price for an eight-roll box containing 120 biodegradable bags is $5.99.)
While the company no longer sells products on its website, there’s still a strong focus on supporting a thriving online community, Mr. Selvadurai said. “Now we use social media to stay in touch with customers, retailers and the charities we support. It’s a great way to maintain communications, get feedback on our product and ensure everyone is satisfied.”
Since January, Poop Bags has been working with Rob Vena, president and creative director for Feast Interactive, a digital advertising and de-sign agency based in Toronto, to keep the social media momentum going.
“At that point, they had set the stage for a retail presence,” Mr. Vena said. “They just needed to target their social media presence to in-crease engagement and fuel organic growth. The goal was to build brand awareness and identify loyal followers who could continue to spread the word.”
There are plans for give-aways and contests advertised via Facebook. “These did really well to increase the fan base,” he said. “When we started numbers grew from 6,000 to 9,800 through January and February. The key now is to keep them as time goes on.”
Growing fan numbers have opened up opportunities to share stories and keep fans up to speed on environmental issues and animal rescue and shelter pro-grams, Mr. Vena noted. “At that point, it all comes down to the creativity behind your message.”
Earth Rated Poop Bags donates product to animal shelters across Canada. “We work with a lot of organizations. That’s an important part of what we do. And it’s important to our customers,” Mr. Selvadurai said.
How to keep up engagement on social media.
Be creative. Don’t use your site to sell product. Rather focus on providing content that’s interesting, relevant and appealing to your audience.
Don’t discount the value of your fan base. If there’s a product issue or complaint, deal with it promptly.
Use your site to showcase events that unite your com-munity. Earth Rated Poop Bags, for example, hosted a PawsWay event in Toronto for dog owners as part of social media week.
Put charitable efforts front and centre. Customers care about the organizations you work with and support.
Engage your fans in things they love. Pet owners often use the Earth Rated Poop Bags site to share stories, photos and videos of their pets.