Your veterinary team is extremely busy, from running the front desk and seeing patients to performing lifesaving surgery and educating pet parents. Add the stress of researching and putting together the most basic marketing plan, and your team can quickly become overwhelmed.
We put together the 2017 Unique Holiday Calendar for Veterinary Clinics. If you haven’t downloaded it, it’s recommended as the rest of this post ties directly into it. The 12-month calendar lists fun, unique, and bizarre animal-related holidays that veterinary clinics can market around. We are taking that one step further and outlining a basic marketing plan you can step-and-repeat with any and all of the holiday’s listed in the calendar.
Offer a Special Promotion
For months with themes, such as National Heartworm Awareness Month for April or Lyme Disease Prevention Month for May, offer promotions to entice new clients and those clients who rarely visit to make appointments. Using April as an example, you could offer heartworm prevention discounts or buying in on promotions (buy 6 months, get 15% off 6 months) or tie in with a service, such as a discount on preventatives when the client has a complete heartworm screening performed.
Once you’ve determined the holidays you’re going to celebrate and/or the promotions you’re going to run, create several different graphics using a service like Canva or Pablo. You will use these graphics through all your marketing pieces, so it’s important to have a few different ones so audiences don’t see the same one repeatedly and tune out. Select easy-to-read fonts, complimentary colors, a fun pet-related image, and to-the-point wording for the graphic.
Continuing our plan for National Heartworm Awareness Month for April, a timely, educational blog is a very effective marketing tool for your veterinary clinic. Not only does it add new content to your website, it can also be shared across other marketing vehicles such as emails, social media, and as handouts in your clinic.
Blogging doesn’t need to be an exhaustive effort, either. A brief 400 to 600-word blog with important information and statistics is more than sufficient, and can easily be reached following a simple outline:
- What is a heartworm?
- Why is heartworm prevention important?
- Who is at risk to be infected by heartworms?
- How do pets become infected with heartworm?
- How do owners determine if their pets are infected?
- Call-to-action to visit your clinic to take advantage of your promotion during April (example: Call today to schedule your appointment to save big on heartworm prevention. Hurry, the promotion ends April 31, 2017!)
If you’re considering adding photos to your blog posts, use your best judgement when doing so. While you’re used to seeing surgical procedures and other aspects of veterinary care, not everyone who reads your blog is. If you plan on using photos of patients, whether on your website, social media, or email, ensure you have the consent of the owner (in writing, preferably).
Your promotion is ready and blog written, now you need to get your information out to the masses. One tactic is through email marketing. One step in your patient check-in procedure should include asking the client for their email address. Not only can you send them helpful appointment reminders but the occasional email from the clinic, such as sharing money-saving events – both of which most clients will be interested in receiving.
Utilizing a service like ePetHealth, MailChimp, or Constant Contact will help you create an email quickly and professionally. Once again, email marketing doesn’t have to be exhaustive if you follow a simple formula:
- Header (like your clinic logo, photo of your clinic waiting room, etc.)
- A brief paragraph with any news or updates about the clinic.
- A graphic showcasing the month’s promotion with a brief description.
- Hyperlink the graphic to your blog post with a CTA to learn more in the description.
- A call-to-action to take advantage of the promotion (example: Call to schedule your appointment to take advantage of this limited-time promotion!)
You have the holiday selected, a promotion created, and a blog published. Now it’s time to share it all on your social media! Don’t feel like you must share everything at once; spread out the information over the month (it’s why having several graphics on hand will be beneficial). Consider a spaced out posting schedule:
- Graphic and announcement on the 1st of the month
- Blog on the 7th
- Graphic on the 14th
- Last-minute reminder on the 28th of the month
That way you’re spreading out your points of activation across the entire month, reaching followers each time with a different message with the goal to bring them into your clinic. If you’re not already using a social media management tool, consider HootSuite, Buffer, or DrumUp.
Not everyone is signed up for your email list or regularly checks your website for new blog posts. To reach these individuals, consider printing out your blog post to hand out to clients in your clinic. If your blog is long without bullet points, consider condensing and adding points to make it easier to scan and read.