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The Power of Cute & "Ewww" when Communicating with Your Veterinary Clients

Posted in Client Service @ Nov 14th 2013 - By Judy Gillespie, Director Vetanswers
Look How Cute We Are

Want your clients to do something?  Rather than tell them the facts, why not focus on the story?

I was walking home from school yesterday with Mia (my 11 year old daughter) and we were talking about the assignments she had left to do for the year.  She told me about a new English assignment she had received that day that involved the students making a case for whichever they thought was the most effective form of written communication to use to convince someone of something – either narrative or factual.

So we started talking about the benefits of each although Mia had already decided that a narrative, or story telling was the best form of communication to convince.  She felt a story  was more interesting and the reader more likely to stay around longer to read the information, whereas factual writing could easily get boring.

(I was impressed! An 11 year old recognised the power of storytelling over presenting the facts to convince someone of something.)

We then started talking about the power that engaging the emotions of your reader can have, and how if you can connect with the emotions of your reader, they were far more likely to react favourably to your message.  

Aww look at the cute kitten....

Aww look at the cute kitten in a mug!Then today I came across this blog post from Start Up Smart: Kittens, puppy dogs and effective sales strategies that talked about exactly this topic:

  • You may assume that people are entirely rational and think through every purchase decision, BUT...
  • 80% of sales are based on an emotional decision, clients then use facts to rationalise the purchase decision they have already made.

Now this StartUpSmart blog post is aimed at a wide range of businesses from Accountants to Zumba Instructors and includes many businesses that will find it a challenge to include an emotional story in their information to customers and clients.

And whereas it might be a little tricky for an accountant to come up with a story about a cute puppy or a happy family scene to add to their client work in a veterinary practice – surrounded by cuteness and stories that are fascinating to your clients!

Every blog post you write, email you send or post you add on Social Media involves pets or animals in some way. And it doesn’t take much to engage emotions when you’re talking about animals.

Show & tell to share the emotions.

However telling stories is only part of the secret and the right image can make a huge difference to the emotional response from clients to your important information. Your blog posts should always contain at least one image.  To the visual people out there (over 65% of the population), nothing is more boring than a page of words – even when those words are interesting!

Choose the right image and you’ll catch the eye of those that may usually have skipped over the ‘boring bits’.

You can source images online via websites such as iStock or Shutterstock, or use images of your patients – just make sure their owner has signed a ‘Photo Release Form’.

There’s the good & the bad: don’t forget the “Ewww..” factor

The cute factor is easy but don’t discount the power of the “Ewwww..”.  For example if you want to educate your clients on the value of your worming products compared with the supermarket brand you could use a cute puppy OR you could use something like this image on the right.  Yep that’s a worm!  It ‘emerged’ from a dog that had been regularly wormed using products purchased from the supermarket (you can read more about this particular worm here: Now THIS is What I Call a Worm!)

If you want your clients to DO something: dental care, wellness check, senior care, regular worming , etc.  You have a choice.

You can write a blog post, brochure or article all about the technical reasons why your client should do it. Or you could tell them one of the many stories you see every day that support your call to action. What might happen if they DON’T do something?  How would that impact their pet and / or their family?  And then find an awesome image/s to support your story. 

So tell me in the comments below if telling stories have worked for you when communicating with your veterinary clients.


Christine Burke @ Nov 15th 2013 7:14pm
Just added this to my surgery FB site. Have had 2000 views, 21 shares and 30 comments, which is what you want on a post. Lots of people actually checking their supermarket wormer and finding no tapewormer or old products. Thanks. Hope you weren't kidding about your friend being OK with sharing.
Judy @ Nov 19th 2013 10:53pm
Wow Christine - 2000 views & 21 shares! That's impressive - it really must have hit a nerve with your clients. And no I definitely wasn't joking about the sharing bit - all names have been changed anyway but my friend 'Jane' was more than happy to share her story :)

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