Retaining and growing your client base is a challenge under any circumstances, not just during a pandemic. And marketing your veterinary practice takes more than just putting your name on giveaway items or discount coupons. What can you do to get your message to your potential customers – safely, effectively and affordably? It is going to come down to appealing to your audiences where and how they like to get their information – online.
Where do your clients hang out online? According to Pew Research, Facebook and YouTube are the most popular places across all demographics.
Let’s start with the lowest hanging fruit: a Facebook page for your business. This should be a separate page specifically for your practice, with a personality that reflects you and your team’s friendly professionalism. High quality photographs, fun graphics and/or short videos paired with written messages relevant for your customers can lay a good foundation for attracting and connecting with them. It is easy to set up and there is no cost, Check out “how-to’s” from Facebook here.
In addition to no cost posts (which should happen regularly), consider trying paid Facebook advertising. With a small budget, put together a paid ad for an audience target based on a combination of:
There is also something called a “look alike audience” you can use in reaching people who “look like” your current followers or contacts. Regardless of how you create your audience, a paid ad can be a great way to launch a new service or highlight something unique you have to offer the community. Just be sure to have a strong call-to-action to convert their interest into a direct connection with your practice.
There are a variety of ways to reach your audiences through YouTube. From creating your own short series of “tips and tricks” videos for reptiles to “The Veterinarian Answers Your Questions,” the sky is the limit for potential topics. Create a playlist of videos you think your patients’ owners will find most interesting – and then use the videos to help populate your website and other social media.
Looking to target younger audiences? Maybe those in their 20s adopting their first pets on their own? Or those in their 30s establishing families and more pets? Consider Instagram. These segments are heavily represented on this social media platform and it is a visually oriented way to provide an online presence for your practice. Put your best foot forward with a strong bio and visual to anchor your account.
No matter which social media platforms you choose to help market your practice, your online “home” – your website – should be ready to welcome potential and current customers. When someone lands on your site, they should find one that is:
One other important feature: make it accessible to those who may experience the world differently. Those with visual, auditory, physical or sensory impairments should be able to use your site too. According to the American Institutes for Research (AIR):
“The total after-tax disposable income for working-age people with disabilities is about $490 billion, which is similar to that of other significant market segments, such as African
Americans ($501 billion) and Hispanics ($582 billion) .”
So reach a wider audience with a site that allows more people to engage with you.
If you have a large animal practice, many of your customers are likely to be farmers or ranchers. These business owners tend to source and/or share information with others who “get them” – other farmers/ranchers at their local guild or trade association. To reach them online, you’ll want to check out the opportunities to:
Speak their language and convey the value in what you have to offer their business will make it easier to connect with this audience.
Before you dive into any online marketing activities, you’ll want to put together a plan. Determine who you want to target; what you want them to do – and how much time, effort and dollars it will take to accomplish your marketing goals. With those details in mind, the path to achieving your aims will be clearer.