Marketing your veterinary hospital can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Keeping existing clients happy, while bringing in new clients is a top priority for your hospital. More than likely, you have the obvious marketing tactics put into place–client mailers, reminders, new resident mailers, birthday cards, etc. ,all of which are important to stay on top of client visits and keep them coming back to your hospital.
Goal Setting & Planning
The first step to marketing your veterinary hospital is to identify goals and start to plan. This is a time to sit down with your team and assess what your hospital is currently doing for marketing, what you are doing well, and where you can improve your efforts. Start with taking an inventory of what your hospital is already doing. This can include the following forms of marketing:
- Direct Mail
- Radio/TV ads
- Social media
After performing a quick inventory of what is currently being done, it’s time to set realistic goals. Have you found that you’re heavily focusing on radio ads, but are failing to get new clients every month? Then it may be time to switch gears and focus your efforts towards a different form of marketing. Remember to set realistic goals and timeframes, too. Maybe your goal is to go from three to five new clients every month, and that’s great! Start with setting goals that you know can be accomplished.
Scope out the Competition
Who are your main competitors, and how are you different from them? Why does the hospital down the street get 5x more traffic? Taking time to answer questions like this can help you and your team figure out how your hospital stacks up against other local hospitals, and what you can do to stand out from the crowd. Signing up for competitors mailing lists are a good idea too.
Covering the Basics
social media presence
Having a social media presence is an important (and mostly free!) form of marketing, so why not take full advantage of it?
Your hospital should at least have a Facebook and Twitter account. Be smart about what’s being posted, too. While everyone loves a cute animal post once in a while, is it really bringing clients into your hospital? Instead of a generic image of a pet, include one at your practice. Promoting puppy plans? Post a picture of a puppy, and happy client with a positive quote about their first visit. You want to try to post to Facebook once a day, and Twitter three times a day.
Making sure your website is up-to-date and information is easy to find can be an easily overlooked task. Your animal hospitals’ website should be easy to navigate, and visitors should be able to quickly find information such as location, hours of operations, services, and social media profiles. If visitors are unable to find this, you risk potential customers becoming frustrated and seeking out other websites for information.
Every marketing campaign your animal hospital promotes should be tracked. Big or small, tracking is one of the most measured of ROI. Tracking campaigns also helps to determine what marketing vehicles are working, and where you can save money.
Think of this situation–You create a beautiful print ad for your hospital in a magazine, and more than likely spend more time and money on it’s development than wished. How can you determine how many clients saw the ad? The answer is simple. Include a phone number on the ad where clients can call, and offer x% off their next appointment when they call and mention said ad. Just make sure to track all the calls and appointments coming in from the ad either manually, or through your hospitals CRM.
“How did you find us” forms on your website are another easy way to track marketing campaigns. Make sure to include a dropdown field that lists every place your hospital is advertised (social media, print, email, direct mail, and other). Keep it up to date and remove & ad new campaigns or retired ones.
One of the easiest ways to market your animal hospital is to get involved in the local community. This is a great way to connect with your clients on a personal level, and helps your hospital stand out from the crowd. Look into sponsoring local events such as runs, festivals, and conferences. Making an imprint in the community will resonate positive feelings with your hospital, and spread word of mouth.
By using the above tactics, you’ll be surprised on the clarity and insight that’s gained with your campaigns. And the even better news? This is just the tip of the iceberg. In upcoming posts, we’ll be sharing more marketing tips to help your hospital go beyond reaching your marketing goals.