Many veterinarians who we speak with are frustrated – they pour their heart and soul into practicing the best medicine they can, but they struggle to achieve their business goals. Fortunately, the diagnosis for this is relatively straight forward: the reason is typically that other local practices have become more digitally savvy than your practice, and are thus winning more than their share of new business. In this article, you’ll learn what it takes to compete at a higher level so that you can discover your practice’s true growth potential.
Effective digital marketing isn’t about software or computers – it’s about human relationships. Your digital strategy needs to be clearly focused on cultivating, strengthening, and advancing relationships. Relationships function the same way online as they do in person – they are built on trust. Trust determines our level of comfort in the relationship. Trust is inherently more difficult to build through a computer, because we’re wired to form relationships in person. However, there are new tools at your disposal that can create powerful results. We’ll talk about those soon.
The foundation of your digital strategy is your website. A good digital strategy will primarily do two things: capture relevant traffic (like local pet owners), and convert traffic into actions (like a phone call). Your website is responsible for a sizable portion of both of these factors. In order to design an effective website, you need to understand what users are looking for, and how they actually use a website. Usually, very little thought is put into this, and it results in frustratingly poor results.
When a user gets to your website, they’re looking to answer two questions – one is conscious and logical, the other is unconscious and emotional. The first question is who you are, what you do, and where you do it. The second is how much they can trust you. It’s typically an unsatisfactory answer to the second question that blocks conversions (actions taken that lead to actual business), but you do need to answer both effectively if you want to improve your business results.
Picasso had a saying – Good artists copy, Great artists STEAL. We’re going to show you an example of a website that is probably the very best in the entire industry right now, but it’s not enough to just copy it. Why? Your practice is unique. You need to understand why the website is effective, and how it is building trust and facilitating action. So take about 10 minutes, right now, and go through this website. Ask yourself what this website does differently than yours. This will give you an excellent starting point on your next-generation practice website.
Your website is the foundation, but your digital strategy shouldn’t end there. Social media has fundamentally changed the way we communicate in the past few years. From an anthropological standpoint, it’s really very interesting! From a business standpoint, it has huge practical effects on your business. Your clients, and potential pet owners, are hungry to connect and communicate with you through social tools. The foundation of your social strategy should be sharing the emotions and stories that are unique to your daily practice. Have an amazing success story? Share it, right now! And make sure there’s a relevant picture attached – all text posts get drastically lower engagement than posts with images or video.
You should be sharing at least 3 times a week. It should all be genuine and unique to your practice. It’s an amazing opportunity to connect the local pet owning demographic, and this is probably the best way for you to build brand awareness for your business. When you notice a particularly effective post – perhaps an amazing success story – it makes sense to use Facebook’s “Promote” tool. Spend $20, target people who are interested in dogs, cats, or any other pets you serve, and make sure to target only the area you’re likely to draw people from (like a 10-mile radius of your practice).
“Mary, we’re so sorry to hear this. Honestly, we’re so very committed to providing excellent service at every step of the way, that it really breaks our hearts to hear that we might have fallen short. Your business and your pet’s health mean a great deal to us, and we’d really like to work together to mend our relationship. Could you please contact us at (your number) at your convenience so we can talk more?”
What you have before you is the foundation of a smart and effective digital strategy. If you decide to methodically put this to good use and follow our advice, it is very likely that you will notice that growing your practice might just be easier than you ever expected.