We now find our veterinarians online, but we look for the same things that we always have in forming new relationships. We want to find someone who shares our most deeply held values. We want to find someone we can trust.
This is the only way to explain the hyper-growth of review companies, most notably Yelp. We are comfortable with community-review services because we identify very closely with the reviewing population. We assume that they love their pets and want the best for them, just like we do.
You might see an interesting parallel here to word of mouth marketing. This has always been your best form of business. Have you ever asked why? It’s because people trust their friends! Community reviews are merely an extension of the very same principle you’ve been benefiting from (mighty successfully) for so long.
If I’m looking for a veterinarian online, and I see that other pet owners had a bad experience with a vet, I’m likely to (at the very least) have anxiety about that particular animal doctor. Introducing anxiety into the situation is often an insurmountable obstacle for you- people like to avoid things that make them anxious.
This is already happening on a massive scale, see the chart below. (Source: http://marketingland.com)
What this is… is an opportunity. If you take advantage (we’ll talk particular strategy, such as how to get more positive reviews and respond to negative reviews, in another post), you will be able to cultivate the right kind of feelings among all your prospective clients. You will make it psychologically easy for them to want to form a relationship with you, and thus entrust their pet to you.
Do this, and you’ll help more pets.