As dedicated vets we know that our patients always come first. We also know that to make a practice successful, we must also be business-minded. This includes participating in veterinary marketing, more specifically online veterinary marketing. Using the internet for your veterinary marketing can do wonders in terms of client loyalty and ongoing new client acquisition. It’s a highly effective way to attract attention to your practice and reach a broader audience. In short, veterinary marketing must be an essential part of the overall business plan in order to realize continued success.
The fact is, in today’s day and age when people need to find a product or service, including a local vet, they turn to the internet. As such, your veterinary marketing plan must involve establishing a presence for your practice on the web. Without one these prospective clients won’t find you – they’ll go somewhere else and you’ll inevitably miss out on new business.
There are many ways in which veterinary marketing can benefit your practice, such as to:
Open communication channels with clients and prospects
Build customer loyalty and increase referrals
Appear at the top of search engine results
Remain top-of-mind among clients and prospects
Promote your staff, education and technologies
Increase website traffic
Communicate news and updates instantly
Make it easy for your target audience to find you
So how does one get started with veterinary marketing? The first step is to establish an online presence with a dynamic website. Your website should captivate your audience and provide a solid foundation for your veterinary marketing efforts. It should include a blog which is regularly updated and should be optimized so that it appears at the top of search engine results, both key components of an effective veterinary marketing plan.
Once your website is set up, you will need to further gear your veterinary marketing efforts toward search engines, like Google. The purpose of this piece of veterinary marketing is to ensure that when someone searches online for local veterinary practices yours will show up highest on the list of results. There are a variety of veterinary marketing methods that accomplish this, such as the analysis and optimization of certain keywords on your website and blog. This helps target what words and phrases are being searched for so that your veterinary marketing efforts can be tailored to capitalize on this information.
The next step in effective veterinary marketing is utilizing social media channels.
This includes Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and a variety of other networks. These websites are comprised of communities of people who connect with, gather and share information with one another. Your veterinary marketing plan should involve setting up accounts on these sites and becoming an active member. These social tools allow you to engage with and open the channels of communication amongst your current and prospective clients and interact with them on a much more personal level. As a veterinary marketing tool, they effectively supply a “face” for your practice.
Facebook allows you to set up a customized “page”, which other users can “like” to become fans. You can then share interesting content, such as updates, pictures and videos with your followers and engage in two-way communication. From a veterinary marketing standpoint, this open communication creates a feeling of trust which ultimately leads to valuable word-of-mouth marketing. If your content is compelling, users will share it with their own networks, thereby increasing your number of followers and your overall reach in the community and further bolstering your veterinary marketing efforts. With over 500 million registered users, Facebook is an incredibly powerful tool to have in your veterinary marketing arsenal.
Twitter is another huge online network that can help to expand your reach exponentially and should be a part of your veterinary marketing plan. Users set up accounts from which they can disseminate quick, helpful and interesting tidbits of information. Each “tweet” is limited to 140 characters, so you have to be creative. The purpose, in terms of veterinary marketing, is to establish yourself as a valuable resource to the online community. The more useful information you share, the more people will follow you and share your tweets with their followers, creating mass viral veterinary marketing in a short period of time.
The final step of an effective veterinary marketing plan is to stay on top of your web presence. Consistency is key and will set a healthy expectation for your audience. Regularly update your blog with short, interesting posts. Add compelling content to your Facebook page that your followers will want to share with their own networks, and interact with them frequently to let them know you are there and are listening. Tweet often and tweet regularly, sharing helpful, interesting information with your followers to solidify your role as a community resource. This consistency is critical to the success of your veterinary marketing efforts.
The ultimate goal of veterinary marketing activities is to continuously develop and foster existing client relationships while also improving new client acquisition. The steps outlined here will help you achieve all of these things quickly and efficiently. Through effective veterinary marketing, your practice will continue to grow and so will your profits.