Do you need more clients for your veterinary practice? Here are 10 marketing ideas, tips, and strategies that will help you earn new business, get more referrals, and retain your best clients.
Marketing Idea #1: Design an Effective Veterinary Website
Your website will be the landing point for most of your digital marketing efforts. From social media to direct advertising, you’ll be guiding potential clients to it. Most people who hear of your brand or get referred to you will check out your site.
Your website has the vital job of creating the first impression for your business. As it is with people, these impressions are formed quickly and often superficially. In just a few seconds, most people are 90% decided if they’ll trust you with their pet or not.
This means having a clean, professional website that communicates with clarity is essential. It must be mobile friendly so it’s easy to view on phones. It has to create a sense of trust so people will feel comfortable acting.
Here is an example veterinary website template from UXI®.
Make sure that your navigation is clear and that your content funnels towards your call to action. Your objective is to get people to schedule their pets for an appointment.
Pro Tip: Create Infographics
Today’s digital audiences are increasingly visual. Use imagery and infographics like this to get ideas across quickly:
Pro Tip: Use Authentic Images
Today’s social media, selfie-obsessed audiences respond much better realistic, authentic images than overly-staged stock photos.
On your veterinary practice website, avoid using photos that – let’s face it – everyone knows is not you, like this:
This type of image on your website or ads is just taking up space. Instead, hire a photographer and get some actual pictures of yourself with patients. Think more along the lines of creating a Snapchat story than trying to create a studio perfect image.
Images should make an impression and help you tell your story. If you need some free professional photos, try Unsplash, where you can find photos like this:
Marketing Idea #2: Get Social
There was a time when you might have thought of Facebook as just a place to catch up with old friends and share pictures of your cats. Well, it still is.
But it’s also much more. Social media offers some of the most robust marketing and advertising opportunities available, both as organic (free) and paid traffic drivers.
A big consideration for vets is how much people like to share stuff about their pets on social media. I almost never go on my News Feed without seeing dogs or cats:
As a vet, you can tap into people’s innate interest in pets and spread your brand name with free posts. Get your patients to like your page and share your client’s posts about their pets – your brand name will spread fast.
Then throw in some pet health tips that link back to your website blog.
As you get people to interact with your page and visit your website, you can create custom audiences and show ads that have direct response conversion goals.
Likewise, you can create a list of your current clients, then create a lookalike audience to advertise to new people with similar interests.
It’s fairly easy today to target people who own pets (you can even target the type of pet) and display paid advertising only to them. Between building an audience with fun, interesting, useful free content and running targeted ads, you have some great chances to win new business on social media.
If you’re confused by all the options or simply don’t have the time to manage social media consistently, talk to our social media management team. Whatever you do, don’t ignore these marketing opportunities.
Marketing Idea #3: Master Search Marketing
There are two ways people find veterinary services.
The first is ask around for recommendations. People ask friends directly, and also put out posts to their social media networks to get recommendations. Word of mouth is powerful, necessary marketing.
Second, people go online and search; instead of asking a person, they ask Google Home. Okay Google, show me the best cat vets near me.
Start by doing some keyword research to discover the keyword phrases you want to target. Focus in on the animals you specialize in and your geographic service area.
You need your clinic to show up at the top of the results. There are three areas to look at.
The first is pay per click advertising (PPC). This is how you get to the top spots on search, using the auction systems on Google and Bing. PPC ads give you the most control over ranking and content delivery, but you have to pay to gain top spots.
Second, set up and optimize your Google My Business page. This is a free listing that connects to Google Maps. It’s the primary way that Google knows where your service area is so you come up for local searches. Optimize your descriptions with keywords and try to get customer reviews to increase your ranking.
Third, do search engine optimization (SEO) work on your website. This also gives you free ranking/clicks and is a good way to expand the keywords you rank for so you can get traffic from people doing informational searches. Optimize your main pages for your main target keywords, then use your blog to expand on pet care, health, medications, food, etc.
If you do this right, you can find your business ranking in three places on page one.
Marketing Tip #4: Manage Your Reputation
Today, online reviews are some of the most influential marketing content. People look to reviews for honest appraisals of businesses. They trust other consumers more than advertisers.
Just consider the content that gets displayed when I search for a local vet on Google Places listings:
The star ratings and comments dominate this listing. If you are a clinic without any reviews, you’re unlikely to garner much traffic.
A lot of business owners think reviews are out of their control. It’s true that the best thing you can do to earn a strong review profile is go above and beyond with your clients. When you delight them, positive reviews will follow.
But because review content is so important to persuading potential clients, you need to be proactive. Ask happy clients for reviews, and encourage them to share their experience on social media.
Also, monitor all places where people can leave comments about your practice, including Google, Yelp, Top Rated Local, and Facebook. If you get negative reviews, respond to them professionally and resolve the issue.
Also, include some testimonial content on your website itself. In general, people just want to know others have worked with you and were happy with your services. The best idea is to include a picture of the patient:
Marketing Tips # 5: Create a Video
Video is often overlooked by veterinary clinics, which is a missed opportunity because video can convey your message quickly and with a lot of personality.
You can optimize your video for search on Youtube, which is the second most used search engine. This is rarely competitive for local search, so you can be on page one in no time.
Also, create short videos on pet health, training, and care. Informational videos do well on social media, expanding your brand presence.
Marketing Tip #6: Create a Unique Value Proposition
There are a dozen vets in my area. You are one of them.
Why should I choose you instead of another vet? How do you solve my problem? What special offers do you have that will motivate me to choose you?
Most clinics don’t answer these question in any way. For all intents and purposes, they all seem the same. I’ll be inclined to go with the most professional website design and best reviews.
You can balance this by developing a clear value proposition. A value proposition:
- Communicate something specific of value.
- Clarify the benefit(s) customers derive from your offer.
- State or imply why you’re the best choice.
You provide answers to these questions:
- What do you do? Can you help me?
- What’s in this for me? Why are you worth it?
- Why should I choose you instead of another service or method of solving my problem?
Do you specialize in particular pets, health problems, or procedures? Do you treat owners and pets to amenities in your clinic? Do you offer a level of emotional support (for pets and parents) that’s above what your competition can do? Do you offer services like training or boarding? Are you kid friendly?
People are deciding on care for their beloved pet. You need to tap into their love and communicate how you are the best choice with a specific value proposition.
Once you have a value proposition dialed in, it will become central to all your marketing materials.
Why should someone choose you? If you don’t answer that question, nobody else will.
Marketing Tip #7: Use Email Marketing
Email marketing remains effective for veterinary practices, particularly as a retention tool for existing clients.
It’s fairly easy to blow off regular check-ups for your pet. When they are healthy and happy, you tend to forget.
Use email to send timely reminders to existing clients that it’s time to schedule an appointment. Offer limited time specials. Mix in informational material from you blog, videos, and social media with tips and news from your practice.
On your website, have an opt-in form so you can create lists of prospective clients. Create emails specifically to motivate them to set an appointment.
Today, you can automate your email marketing so blasts to various groups are all done with a click.
Marketing Tip #8: Use Marketing Software
Digital marketing today is daunting, even for smaller businesses. There are a lot of channels to cover, and technology seems to change almost daily.
You can use marketing systems like Marketing 360® to get this under the control of a single software platform. Your website advertising, search marketing, social media, email, CRM, and task management all on one platform with an easy to understand interface.
You need this type of software because it is pretty much the only way you’ll understand (much less keep up with) all your digital marketing efforts.
It’s also really affordable and at Marketing 360®, it comes with the help of a marketing executive.
Strategy, smart tactics, and consistent execution are what delivers marketing ROI. Put them together and you can grow your veterinary practice so it’s profitable for years to come.