Veterinary Marketing Ideas to Keep Your Customers Coming Back
We’ve got some great veterinary marketing ideas to ensure your veterinary practice keeps your customers coming back time and time again.
Veterinarians who want to build a thriving practice are tempted to chase the latest bells and whistles: hiring veterinary marketing services, social media for veterinary professionals, Facebook and other social media posts, and PPC advertising. And those practices may work to get clients (meaning, of course, pet owners) in the door. Yet the clinics still are struggling to make ends meet.
So, then, what’s the problem? When assessing how to pump up profits, veterinarians need to examine their client retention rate.
Client retention rate means that customers keep coming back to a practice after their initial appointment. Estimates vary, but it can be about 5-7 times more expensive to attract a new client than to keep an existing one. So vets who have a large patient turnover—they churn ‘em and burn ‘em—are leaving a lot of money on the table.
Sure, it’s essential to pay attention to veterinarian website design, SEO for veterinary hospitals, and various veterinary marketing strategies. But the most cost-effective marketing for veterinary clinics is taking care of their most precious assets: their current customers.
Veterinarians need to focus on the lifetime value of each customer. They must not underestimate the power of a loyal customer base. A small cadre of loyal customers will account for a majority of appointments. And those raving fans will tell others, thereby generating free but priceless word-of-mouth advertising.
Veterinary Marketing Idea Number 1
Veterinary Customer Service and Reputation Management
Keeping existing customers loyal, or client retention, begins with customer service. Special care must be taken in hiring the front-desk personnel who are the patients’ primary point of contact. Those staff members should have a pleasant, customer-focused attitude, and should be empowered to make routine decisions.
A pleasing telephone manner is no longer enough for front-desk personnel, though. Prospective patients may prefer to communicate through email or text, so front-desk people should be adept at written communication, too. Ideally, they can communicate well in another language. It will cost more to hire quality people (front-desk people as well as techs). Still, no veterinary practice can afford to cut corners in this area.
Taking care of customers’ needs also means being available at their convenience. Practices should have extended hours at least one day a week. They may also consider opening for a few hours on Sunday to handle weekend emergencies. That’s one clear way to communicate respect for clients’ busy schedules.
Even when the clinic is closed, customers should be able to communicate with clinic personnel. Consumers have grown used to having their needs met 24/7. This may mean paying a staffer extra to respond to texts at night and on the weekends when the clinic is closed.
Veterinary Marketing Idea Number 2
Invest in Veterinary Marketing Automation
No matter how wonderful your hired humans are, they can only juggle so many balls. So invest in a system that takes some routine tasks off their plate and reminds your patients to prioritize their pets’ care.
Automation works well for appointment reminders. Vets can also set up email, text, social media campaigns—or all three—to educate patients.
For instance, campaigns can remind pets’ humans that heartworm season is coming up. The heart-wrenching reminder of how deadly heartworms are can encourage people to bring in their pups for a checkup and medication renewal.
Veterinary Marketing Idea Number 3
How to Build Veterinary Customer Loyalty
Given a choice, many clients would prefer to pay an annual lump sum to access discounted veterinary care. Veterinarians can offer a veterinary-care savings plan that may include yearly checkups, medications, and discounts on services. Such plans help encourage customer loyalty and increase satisfaction.
Another innovative way to help customers save money while at the same time increasing the veterinary practice’s credibility is to offer a discount for reviews. One way to go about this is to text or email customers after the service is completed to thank them and share a link to leave a review. To thank clients for the review, vets can offer a 5% discount off of the next service.
Veterinary Marketing Idea Number 4
Offer Freebies—Especially Strategically- Builds Veterinary Loyalty
When waiters offer restaurant customers small freebies after a meal—like fortune cookies or mints, for instance—consumer satisfaction and tips go up a bit. But satisfaction and tips skyrocket when the waiter starts to leave, and then apparently thinks better of it. Turning back, he graciously offers a second freebie, saying something like, “And for you nice people, here’s one more.”
Veterinarians would do well to think about what small tokens they can give their customers that would make them feel special and cherished. Perhaps it could be a mug or a small refrigerator calendar advertising the practice. The one-more strategy would work best, however, with consumables such as dog biscuits.
Veterinary Marketing Idea Number 5
Veterinary Reputation Management – Embrace complaints
It’s human nature to avoid dealing with angry people who feel like they’ve been wronged. However, it’s the people who leave a practice without saying something who are the problem. Most of the time, complainers will stay as customers when they’re satisfied with how their issues are taken care of. And the feedback they provide is an invaluable way to up a veterinary clinic’s game.
Veterinary Marketing Idea Number 6
Veterinary Customer Review Responses
One way to proactively deal with complaints is to send out patient surveys. It may seem like surveys are boring, but most patients like being asked.
Hearing directly from patients how they feel about the care they and their pets received is an excellent way to cement the vet-patient bond. Surveys are also an excuse to communicate, which builds the know-like-trust factor that’s vital for client retention.
When clients are asked to express themselves, they will likely offer surprising insights. When they complain, vets should welcome this feedback and take care to address their customers’ pain points.
Often a person will not initiate a complaint but will do so in response to a survey. Through following up on such feedback, vets can re-engage clients who are close to walking out the door and never coming back.
Although there are many effective ways to market veterinary hospitals, clinics, and practices, it’s essential to take care of and retain existing customers. When properly nurtured—with some of the ideas presented in this article, for example—loyal customers are worth their weight in gold!
Full Service Digital Veterinary Marketing Agency
Vet Marketing Agency (VMA) is a full-service digital marketing agency exclusively working with veterinary clinics and practices.
As a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Interactive Firm, itself founded in 2001, VMA enjoys tremendous corporate resources and support that translate into unrivaled features and services for its veterinary clinic customers.
VMA builds modern veterinary websites that work on any device and provides veterinary hospitals with ongoing support and services needed to dominate in local markets and win new customers. The VMA team manages the entire digital footprint, social media presence and customer reputation management.
VMA is a Google certified partner and a member of the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association (VHMA).
The Company can be reached via VetMarketingAgency.com or by calling (800) 609-7657.