I’m no marketing pro. Far from it. But, I do have some insight to share as a veterinary professional trying to connect with and engage pet owners on a limited budget, resources and time.
Unless you’ve been living under a technology-resistant rock, you know that we all need an online presence today to grow our business. We also have to change the way we’ve traditionally approached advertising. Gone are the days of barbecues and flyers.
Modern marketing ideas offer great opportunities for small businesses like ours. Thinking outside the box can expand our clientele and help us bond with them in new and innovative ways.
Below is a quick breakdown of the essentials you need today to create a meaningful marketing campaign:
This is like your signature. A mark that has history and aspiration wrapped into a symbol. Your logo should not only reflect your practice, but it also needs to be consistent and designed to adapt with the various channels you use today (e.g. social media, direct mail, email marketing, etc.). Make it professional, unique and more than just a circle around your company’s name.
Your other “storefront.” This is often the first research point for your customers. And curb appeal matters. Make sure your site is aesthetically pleasing, easy to use (on any device!) and clearly showcases your passion, services, and expertise.
Personally, I have not had a Facebook account in years. But I understand and respect its influence. Use it (professionally) to connect with clients, staff and your community. Share content and, if you have a few extra dollars, learn to use promoted posts in a 1-mile radius of your physical location.
This platform can be hard to effectively use in business. However, our line of work is primed for photographic content. People love to share photos of their fur babies. But please, I beg of you, don’t use stock photos or gimmicky ads.
Despite how much some feel that Twitter is becoming an ineffective social media marketing platform, I’ve found it’s a great place to keep up with the news going on in the veterinary world. It’s also a quick way for your clients to mention your business and engage in industry conversation.
Collect and organize your clients’ email addresses. Don’t blast them with emails and always respect their wishes to unsubscribe. That said, newsletters and periodic emails can be a great way to quickly communicate with your client base. Flu outbreaks, local charity events for animals and holiday closings are all easy to convey through email.
7. Create content.
This is hard. Writing does not come easy for most of us, especially those of us with scientific brains. But content marketing is the new name of the game. Write informative, interesting articles for your website. Use snippets of that content for social media. Not only does this practice educate your clients but it also forces you to stay up to speed on current industry best practices and innovations.
Participate in your state’s veterinary medical association, join political action committees, mentor students, lend a hand to local shelters and adoption services. This can be as rewarding to you as it is for your business’ public presence.
I know, I know – it seems like a nightmare to consider marketing, networking and communication with your list of obligations. We are all so busy. How can we possibly add something else to the mix? Whether you jump all in and just participate in a few activities, I encourage you to at least try something. In order to thrive (much less survive), you absolutely must step outside of your comfort zone to meet the goals and priorities of your clinic.
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