Relationships now begin online – meaning your veterinary website is one of the most important marketing opportunities that your practice has. What matters is that you have an effective, smart and well executed digital strategy. In this article we are going to help you lay the foundation of that digital strategy; we are going to guide you through the three pillars that support an effective veterinary website.
The first pillar is a high-converting home page. “Convert” simply means an action taken on your website – such as a phone call or appointment request. Obviously the goal is to get as many conversions as possible. This begins by understanding what makes a user convert.
When a pet owner finds your website, it’s likely that they’re looking for two things. One is conscious and logical, the other is unconscious and emotional. The conscious and logical thing they’re looking for is your business information – who you are, what you do, where you do it. But what’s far more important is the unconscious need they’re trying to feel – trust. This is the necessary precursor to any relationship, and if we don’t feel it there’s a telltale feeling in our gut warning us to stay away.
You instill trust (and earn the subsequent conversions) through having a highly professional website design that tells your story in an engaging and interactive way, and utilizes client testimonials throughout it. Utilize rich photography (you can use a mix of stock and your own) in order to create a visually stimulating experience. You want pictures to tell as much of the story as possible – it is much more powerful when we see a high quality photo of you with a pet on the table, expertly caring for them, than it is to just tell us about it in a paragraph. We are just wired to be captivated by imagery instead of text. If you would like to see examples of websites that do this very well, you can take a look at a few here: Portfolio
The second pillar is a well optimized service page. Your goal is to rank as highly as possible on the search engines for as wide a selection of search queries that you can. You are not just going after “veterinarian near me” – you want to capture all the possible searches that pet owners perform online. For example – your write up about dentistry services should contain information about how you check for signs of periodontal disease, such as inflammation, redness, bad breath, etc. Not only do you do a better job of educating people on the website, you are now becoming visible for similar search terms (such as “why does my dog’s breath smell?”).
The third pillar is an ongoing blog campaign. Your website should never be “done.” You need to constantly be adding to it. A dormant website offers little reason for pet owners to return (and you want them thinking about you as much as possible), and it does no favors with the search engines. If Google perceives your website is dormant, it tells them that it’s either abandoned or that you simply don’t care. Neither of those offer a compelling argument to rank you well.
You should blog at least monthly, and you should use it as an opportunity to educate your clients and the wider pet owning public about important issues in pet health. For example, one blog post could be about raising awareness for heartworms, while another could be about which vaccinations are appropriate for new puppies or kittens. Client education is one of the most important things you can do for your practice and the pets that you serve, and this is an incredible opportunity to revolutionize your strategy.
With these three pillars, you will have a veterinary website that is effective at converting users into hospital visitors, that ranks well on the search engines, and educates pet owners about the value of veterinary care. Trust us, this will go a long way towards building a flourishing veterinary practice!