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Top tips for marketing your veterinary practice in the 21st century

Posted in Guest Blogger @ Oct 2nd 2017 - By Dr Shane Simpson, Clinical Director, Karingal Veterinary Hospital
Top Tips For Marketing Your Veterinary Practice In The 21st Century

Marketing has changed & it's time for the veterinary industry to respond.

Marketing in service industries has changed significantly over the past decade, and the veterinary industry is no different. Like most of the other service sectors, it can be difficult for vet practices and hospitals to develop a meaningful brand, and the industry needs to respond to the changing behaviour of the consumer, i.e. the client. Let’s have a look at some of the marketing strategies that are evolving in response to new consumer trends.

The Digital Revolution and changing client behaviour

The rise of the digital health care provider is a growing trend, as over 50% of consumers use their mobile devices to find out information, book appointments, and shop and pay for goods and services. In particular, clients are using their mobile devices to find out third party information about their pets’ medical conditions and treatments, and to research the area of pet medicine that they are interested in.

Across the marketing sector as a whole, there has been an increase in digital ad budgets, creation of personalised content for the target sector, and improvement in search engine optimisation (SEO). The veterinary industry cannot fall behind in this change of focus, and websites now have to be mobile friendly. It is also important to understand the target audience you are going to be dealing with because the way they choose and use their service providers will be very different to what has happened in the past.

Silver Surfers and Generation Z

The marketing world has identified growth in the following areas: the Silver Surfer generation, and Generation Z (or iGen) consumers.

Silver Surfers

With the population living longer, the Silver Surfers are those in their fifties and sixties whose family have left home, who now have more disposable income at their fingertips but also, unlike the generation before them, have enjoyed good health and higher levels of education.

Tapping into this market sector means finding a selling point that says, “We understand you and care about your pet.” Ensure your practice has a professional LinkedIn page and use this to generate posts about the offers and services you can offer. Make sure that you keep your profile up to date, post information about the latest innovations and updates in the sector you are in, and continue to build a great network of contacts.

Generation Z

Generation Z consumers prefer to communicate using digital media and social network platforms. Generally aged 6-20, they are potential clients you may or may not be interacting with at present. They want information quickly, are going to be used to high levels of change in their lifetime, and will search for information using third party providers.

Ensure that your website has a “meet the vet, nurse, etc.” page and personalise it by giving your vet professional a name, e.g. Meet Dr Brown. If you already have this on your webpage, then ensure it is easy and quick to find. Showcase it in a clickable banner or add it to the navigation menu. Avoid stock photos and instead use actual photographs of your clinic or practice so people begin to feel a personal connection with you. Collect testimonials from current clients and post them on your social medial pages.

Online marketing

If someone is going to search for a new vet, for example, it is more likely they will do it online and use a search engine like Google or Bing. This is where online marketing efforts must be stepped up to capture this new generation of consumers.

Your website:

If you have a website, there are elements that need to be looked into to optimise it to be found by search engines and deliver the most appropriate results for those searching the Internet. The name of your practice, telephone number and address need to be cohesive across the Internet because this plays a really important role in getting results.

You want to ensure that you benefit from these improved lead-generation opportunities as well, so there is a need to revisit and refresh your marketing stance. Make sure that your blogs and website are populated with up to date, relevant content that is of good quality. This will drive up traffic to your site, while the use of analytical tools such as Google Analytics will help you to monitor what is working well and what isn’t.

Social Media:

Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter can, at a reasonable cost, boost your digital message, and some professionals are even investing in quality videos to place on YouTube.

In conclusion, veterinary practices, like any other service professional, need to think about projecting a brand image that encapsulates the latest in modern techniques while also showing the caring side of the profession. Harnessing the power of social media and a good website is the most important step, as this allows you to interact with potential clients while highlighting new developments and methods of treatments, as well as providing quality information that will build their trust.

About Shane

Dr Shane Simpson is the Clinical Director at Karingal Veterinary Hospital, one of Melbourne’s largest vet hospitals and one of just 45 veterinary facilities in the country to be accredited by the Australian Small Animal Veterinarians.

He has a particular interest in reptile medicine, surgery and practice management, and especially loves mentoring younger veterinarians in both skills development and client relationships and communication. Dr Simpson is also a former board member and past president of the Australian Veterinary Business Association.

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