Interview with Adam and Wendy Leidhecker, Paw Luxury

08/04/2008

Last weekend I had the opportunity to talk about two of my passions .. social media marketing and Max_may_06 Max! I was invited to speak to a group of small business owners attending the Luxury Pet Pavilion conference in Atlanta.

My Challenge: I knew that most of the people attending my session would walk in the door knowing about social networks like MySpace and Facebook. However, based on conversations with the conference manager, I knew that few people would have connected the virtual dots .. how to use social media as a credible business strategy.

My Goal: To help bring home the point that turning Flickr, YouTube, social networking communities, blogs, widgets and other fun online toys into online tools could help build their businesses through the most powerful strategy .. relationships. I wanted the people to walk out the door jazzed to explore the possibilities of including social media marketing.

Pawluxury_logo I reached out to Adam & Wendy Leidhecker, owners of the eCommerce site Paw Luxury, who I "found" in my Twitter Travels. In addition to tweeting, the Leidheckler are active in several other social networks.

Paw Luxury is a niche player (eco dog products) in a very fragmented and crowded space (pet products). I was curious to hear their story and some of their lessons learned that I could pass along.  Adam and Wendy, with help from Lola,  kindly answered a few questions and also gave me their point of view about how to best use Twitter. Thanks Adam, Wendy and Lola for agreeing to let me post our interview on Diva Marketing.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Please tell me a little about your online business at Paw Luxury and the people, and of course Lola, behind it.

Paw Luxury: Paw Luxury specializes in selling earth friendly products. We offer quality products that are stylish, durable, all natural, organic, holistic, sustainable, biodegradable, fair trade, and Made in the USA. Our motto is "healthy dog, healthy earth, and happier life". We feature all of these eco-friendly in convenient easy to shop destination on our website.

Toby/Diva Marketing: You must be the poster "pet child" when it comes to using social media with a presence on: Facebook MySpace Dogster Flickr Linkin and Twitter! Which camPawluxurye first the blog - Lola the eco dog or the communities?

Paw Luxury: We did social networking first then our community of friends wanted to stay in touch more and thats where blogging came in.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Why participate in so many social networks?

Paw Luxury: It allows you to connect with people of the same interest, meet people with different
interest, engage in interesting conversation as well as being a great networking tool. People love to feel like they're part of something, a community and family and that is what social networks do. Our community and animal lovers are members of different networks not just one or all.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Which one do you feel you are getting the most bark for you time?  (ouch! did I really say that?) Why?

Paw Luxury: Twitter has been a great tool. The connections we made on Twitter are irreplaceable and people get to know us on an even more personal level. Even Lola the eco dog has her Twitter account and she gets to bark with her pup pals.

Toby/Diva Marketing: If you would drop one which would it be and way?

Paw Luxury: At this point we have so many unique friends at all of our social networks that we could not discontinue using any of them. Because each social networking is unique and has different feature and meets different needs.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Everyone always wants to know about the time. How much time do you average in say a week posting, reading, etc blogs, communities, tweets?

Paw Luxury: In the beginning while we were in the building stages of setting up the communities we would sometimes spend full days over weeks. Now that our networks are fairly established we are on everyday, because when you join a social community people love hearing from you and want to be a part of your lives. Now that's amazing!

Toby/Diva Marketing: Let's talk Twitter. Why are you including micro blogging?

Paw Luxury:  Its fun to hear what people are doing at that very moment and we enjoy getting updates from our followers and people we are following. Also, we are able to get instant feedback and ask question and the community is always their a second click of the mouse to help. As business we wanted to always be transparent.

Twitter is great for getting news briefing, friend sourcing when you are looking for services, micro-attention sharing to let people know about your latest blog post or something funny and entertaining you found on the web. But also serves as a great way to spread the word about a good cause, for us saving the planet.

Toby/Diva Marketing: I've noticed that there are quite a few "pet tweeters." Is there a pet tweet community?

Paw Luxury: Yes, many pet lovers, owners and even their pets have their own twitter account.

Toby/Diva Marketing: How do you find new followers?

Paw Luxury: Now that we have a presence many find us. However, we do search a website called tweetscan.com for people talking about their dog. We like to find people that need pet advice from stinky dog to itchy dog or just someone to talk to. Also many of the blogs that we read and get in our Google reader those individuals have tweet accounts and we add them. Then it becomes a ripple effect and people start spreading the word about you.

Toby/Diva Marketing: What advice would you give to a small business owner, be it in the pet industry or not, for why she/he should embrace social media?

Paw Luxury: Its an excellent way to connect personally and directly with your demographic. Especially if you are internet business and your customers are online.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Where would you suggest a newbie start?

Paw Luxury: We would suggest you start slow and get to know the ends and outs of the social network you
are working on. Whatever social network you are using look for people you know first or share similar interest and start genuine conversation.

When starting out using Twitter it is not advisable to follower 10,000 people just because you want them to follow you back. Because most likely they will think you are a spammer. If you can connect on a real level with one to five people a day who will follow, it may take a long time to build up your community, but in the long run you will have longer lasting valuable friends.

Because we believe that it is not about the quantity but about the quality of relationships being built, this has paid off for us.

Pawluxury_lola More About Eco Friendly Paw Luxury and Lola!

What was our inspiration? Evolving from the overwhelming love of our beautiful, loyal, carefree, lovable and cuddly boxer named Lola, Paw Luxury was born. As proud parents we wanted to give Lola the best nature had to offer but found it difficult to find eco-friendly products under one roof. So we went
sniffing with Lola, searched high and low and dug a few holes along the way. Then we thought to ourselves why not create a one-stop online destination that caters to the need for healthy alternatives. Now
these eco-friendly pet products are accessible and can be puchased at www.pawlux.com.

We wanted to remain true to the motto "healthy dog, healthy earth, happier life." This idea, now a reality, was to sell products that both us and Lola have come to love; products inspired by nature with the everyday dog in mind. But we didn't want to stop there, we wanted to strive to offer products sourced and manufactured primarily in the USA, while treading lightly and making a contribution to better the world and the people in it.

What is in a name? Our name, Paw Luxury, is inspired by the commonality that pets and humans in a sense both have paws that need love to. We define "luxury" as your dog living the good life, it's all about wellness with some pampering thrown in. We believe you can fuse green living with the cachet and comforts of luxury living-for a healthier life now and for future generations.

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Comments

I'm new to this aspect of marketing so I find your article extremely interesting. I'm learning it;s not like in traditional terrestrial marketing - sort of. Anyway cjould you check out my site and let me know if you think it is something I could market in the manner you've described. Thanks
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Posted by: skiphaynes on Aug 4, 2008 2:38:08 AM

Considering that there are now so many social networks catering to such a wide range of niches, my biggest problem is finding ones relevant to me and related to my specific interests or product niches. Google seems to be inefficient and returns alot of irrelevant results. A good resource that I use to find them is a search engine for social networking sites called simply findasocialnetwork.com.

Posted by: Chad McDonnell on Aug 4, 2008 5:41:58 PM

Often we forget the little guy, the SMB, in our discussions of the comings and goings of the Internet marketing industry. Sure there are times like this when a report surfaces talking about their issues and concerns but, for the most part, we like to talk about big brands and how they do the Internet marketing thing well or not so well.


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Posted by: henrylow on Jan 4, 2010 5:42:03 AM

@henry - yes, so often we focus on the Big Brands as ways to help us learn because they have the cache and 'sex sells.' However, those under the radar are often doing great work especially in nonprofits and small biz where it's even more important to make every click count.

Posted by: Toby on Jan 4, 2010 10:41:03 AM

Whatever social network you are using look for people you know first or share similar interest and start genuine conversation.

Posted by: refurbished computers on Mar 7, 2010 11:00:35 AM

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