We hear this question a lot from veterinarians, so if you’re asking it, you’re definitely not alone. But here’s the good news: the reason is almost always fairly simple. In this article, we will address this issue head on. You’ll learn the fundamentals of what’s going wrong, and you’ll get a step-by-step guide on how to overcome this frustrating problem.
So what’s the problem?
The problem is that the Buyer’s Journey has changed. The Buyer’s Journey is the path that prospective clients take to find you. For most veterinarians, it used to be enough to rely on strong word-of-mouth, occasional outreach at local events, and maybe some yellow page advertising. And that worked – when that was how people found their vets. But that started to change about 10 years go.
What began as a trickle is now a deafening wave – people almost exclusively use the internet for their entire buyer’s journey. Usually, it involves a google search, website comparison, and maybe a look through your reviews. And unless you accept this fact of reality, your practice will almost certainly be left behind.
The Good News
Ever hear of a Sales Funnel? It’s exactly what you need. Well, sort of – you see, you already have one. Your Sales Funnel is the structure that you’ve set up to lead prospects to your business. Here’s how it works:
The top of the funnel is your strategy for getting prospects to engage with you for the first time. They have a problem (they need a vet!) – and you want them to know that you exist, and you’re an option.
The middle of the funnel is your strategy for convincing them that you’re the right option to their problem.
The bottom of the funnel is where you get them to act on their conviction – calling your practice or requesting an appointment.
The job of each component is to be as effective as possible at getting the prospect to the next step. So what’s your funnel look like? What’s your strategy for getting in front of local pet owners who need a vet? What’s your strategy for convincing them that you’re the right option out of all local vets? And how do you convince them to act and become a client?
Most veterinarians have never thought about the challenge this way. If you haven’t, you’re not alone. And that’s exactly why we wrote the next part of this article – now we’ll guide you, step-by-step, as to how an effective Sales Funnel will look.
So… what do I do?
Your Sales Funnel needs to be built according to the modern Buyer’s Journey. As we mentioned, there are three critical components, each with a unique job. We’ll offer practical advice on each now:
Here’s where you get as many local pet as possible owners to engage with you for the first time. The key is to get in front of them where they’re likeliest to be receptive. This is usually on Google (where they’re searching for a vet) or Facebook (where they spend a significant amount of their time). This is where you need to use Targeted Ads. Also, it really helps when your website ranks highly for searches for a local veterinarian.
Your goal should be to have your AdWords advertisement at the top of page 1 for a search for a local veterinarian. Your ad copy should be compelling and relevant to the search they performed. And you should send them to a “squeeze” page or your website. On Facebook – you should target likely pet owners. Boost an advertisement – if you have a video, use it! The ad should offer a compelling reason (your “unique value proposition”) as to why they should get to know you.
This is basically the core of your traffic strategy, and its purpose is to get as many people above your funnel (before they know you) to the next stage…
Alright, so they’re learning more about you on your website. Great! But now you have another task: convincing them that YOU’RE the one they should be seeing. Now here’s where most people (and website companies!) go wrong: they believe the question people are asking is: who are you, what do you do, are you close to me? Now, this IS the conscious question they’re asking. But they’re also asking an unconscious question…
Can I trust you?
Trust is the foundation of any relationship. It determines our level of comfort in taking it any further. And it is absolutely the question that your website needs to answer. You answer this (emphatically) by showing them a website that’s modern, engaging, and one that brings your practice’s unique story to life in a compelling and genuine way.
That’s a fairly abstract answer, so we’re going to share a website that does this really well. Spend some time here after you finish the article (you only have about 3 minutes to go): http://southwestvetaustin.com/
If you have convinced them that you’re their choice, you have one final task: getting them to take action. The best way to do this is by making it as easy and simple as possible to get in touch with you. There are a few simple things your website should do in order to facilitate this, such as:
- Making sure the phone number is always prominent and visible, no matter where they are on your site (usually through a “sticky” header)
- Strategically placing “call-to-action” buttons around your site
- Offering one-touch navigation from your website to guide them to your practice
Oh, yes. You see, it’s not enough to just set up these three steps. Why? Because most of the time, even when someone’s interested in you, it’s just not going to be the right time in their Buyer’s Journey. Maybe they have a lot going on. Maybe they just don’t feel ready. There are hundreds of possible reasons. So what do you do?
Put them back through when they fall out!
Ever notice that when you shop for a product on Amazon, but don’t buy, an advertisement for that product seems to appear on your favorite websites? That’s because Amazon uses Retargeting, and you can (and should!) too. Basically, you’re staying in front of people who are interested in your services, but haven’t committed yet. You keep enticing them to go back through your funnel. This works extremely well.
This is how a Sales Funnel is built for the modern Buyer’s Journey. And if you’d like to talk to an expert, or would like to learn about how we could help you set one up, you should get in touch with us here: Contact Us.