For some vets, marketing can feel like a challenge. With so many bits of jargon and different costs involved, it can be hard to know where to begin! The good news is that marketing for veterinarians doesn’t have to be complicated, and making a plan will help you to see the road ahead more clearly – you may even find it fun!
What is a marketing plan?
A marketing plan looks at what your business objectives are and then works out how you are going to achieve them. Objectives might include, getting 500 new clients registered by a certain time point, getting existing clients into the building that haven’t seen you for a year or more, or maybe you want to look at promoting your brand-new senior health clinics. Whatever it is, try and be specific and then the marketing can be tailored to it accordingly.
As well as looking at how you are going to target certain clients, you should think about the ways that you will measure whether your marketing plan has been successful or not. Key performance indicators (KPIs) will need to be monitored. This could be new client registrations or the revenue generated from those senior check-ups.
Why is a marketing plan important?
Marketing is your way of letting potential and existing clients know more about your business. You are selling yourselves to them, showing them what you have to offer and most importantly why you are the practice they should come to. Without marketing, there might not be an incentive for these clients to come through your door.
A marketing strategy or plan is necessary to help identify exactly what it is you want to improve and how much you want to spend. Otherwise, it can be easy to drift along, not getting the best value for your money.
Making a marketing plan – step by step
Let’s look at the main steps and key considerations that you will need to make when creating a marketing plan for your veterinary business.
Look at your current performance
First, look at the way your practice is currently performing. Amongst other things, this might include things like the number of registered clients, the average transaction value (ATV) of your consultations or the number of operations you have booked each week. Then think about which area it is you would like to improve. This will be the basis for the goals you will set.
Set your objectives
Perhaps you have identified that not many clients are signing up for the health care plans at your clinic, so a specific goal would be aiming to increase the number of sign-ups by 50%. Other goals could include getting a certain amount of new client registrations or perhaps increasing visit numbers by getting an extra 15 appointments in the diary each week.
Work out who your audience is
There are many different types of marketing available to you, but it is important to first identify your audience. When a client registers with your practice you must make a note of their communication and marketing preferences. This will first and foremost dictate how you reach out to people. But also think about your clientele. Do you have a young client base who follow social media? Or do your clients prefer a more traditional approach with printed press or radio adverts?
Look at the different marketing strategies available and their cost
Marketing for veterinarians can be done in lots of ways. These include –
Digital marketing for veterinarians
This can be further subdivided into areas like targeted emailing (emailing existing clients with special offers – for example, you could focus on owners of pets 8 years plus if you are marketing your senior health clinics…), social media pages and your own website. Digital marketing is leading the way these days, with more and more owners engaging with their veterinary practice online.
Taking out an advert in a local newspaper or magazine is a more traditional marketing approach but might miss busy families who don’t have time to read the printed press.
This is a way of targeting clients within a certain radius of your practice through posted letters or leaflet drops.
TV and radio adverts
Local radio and TV could reach local clientele, but bear in mind the potential costs involved.
Open days and events
Hosting an open day for your practice so that you can show new and existing clients what goes on behind the scenes is often valuable. Attending local shows and events can help your practice seem more personable too. Branded freebies like balloons, pens and sweets usually go down well!
Adverts on petrol pump handles, billboards, improving the signage at your practice or on your vehicle and updating staff uniforms could all come under this.
As well as the different types of marketing available, consider their costs. Postage for leaflet drops or TV advertisements will be more costly than targeted emailing or a veterinary blog for example.
You should include your budget within your marketing plan, between 1.6 – 2% of turnover is usually a good aim though some years may require more (for example a new practice starting out or a practice rebrand).
Measure how successful your marketing has been
After you have implemented your marketing, you need to be able to measure its success. This internal review lets you know what was worthwhile doing and it could affect what you try the next year. Check your KPIs to see the effects your marketing has had (or not!). You might also find it useful to read our post about making sure your veterinary practice blog is being read.
Marketing for veterinarians isn’t complicated, but it can take time. Hopefully, our overview of how to make a marketing plan has helped to give you some ideas for your own practice. However, if you need some help with the actual marketing itself then we are here! We are experienced in digital marketing for vets and can give time-poor practices a helping hand with their blogs and social media pages. Talk to us today if you would like to take your online presence to the next level.
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