There are a number of marketing tactics you can use to encourage more visits to your clinic. But they all boil down to one thing: be helpful. By Rob Johnson
It’s easy for vets to get stuck in an endless cycle of triage. Pets can’t tell their owners when something is slowly going wrong with their health. As a result, you only get a visit when things have become so bad the owner can’t ignore it. The best way to help those pets (and your business) is to find a way to increase veterinary clinic visits.
But increasing visits doesn’t always come naturally to vets. You’re scientists, not marketers. So here are five simple ways you can encourage clients back into the clinic without doing the hard sell.
1. REMIND CLIENTS OF THE AGE OF THEIR PET
Pet owners don’t really think of the age of their pets unless they’re really young or really old. That’s because they don’t get wrinkles or grey hair or complain about the music being too loud. But there are a host of issues an animal may have with their health based at different stages of life.
Older pets can benefit greatly from twice-yearly checkups, but their owners may not register that Fido has reached that life stage. A brief blog post on what you issues you may face as your dog gets older can be promoted to your existing clients through an email newsletter. It would prompt a few pet owners to pick up the phone, without any hard selling or prompting from you.
2. REMIND CLIENTS ABOUT PET INSURANCE
Cost of petcare remains an issue for every pet owner. The easiest way to counter concerns about cost is by talking about value. No one likes coughing up thousands of dollars to treat a sick pet, but they’re absolutely fine with it when they understand the value they’re getting.
The problem is, it’s hard for you to explain the value they get from newer diagnostic technology and highly trained staff if you don’t know what the problem with the pet is. It’s much easier to talk about the value of pet insurance. Everyone knows the value of life insurance. It makes sense to get insurance for your pet as well.
The nice thing about blogging about pet insurance is you don’t have to sell it yourself. Just reminding people it’s an option can help overcome their fear of being hit with large bills for looking after their own pets.
3. EDUCATE THEM ON HOW TO ACTUALLY GET THEIR PETS TO YOU
The last time I tried to get my cat into a cat carrier, it was like trying to squeeze a fat, hairy square peg into a round hole. Your average pet owner doesn’t put their animals into pet carriers that frequently. So they never remember how to do it.
In fact, one of the major barriers to getting a pet into the clinic is just that physical challenge. The pet doesn’t know why you’re trying to trap them in a corner and shove them into a cage. But they’re fairly certain it’s not for any good reason.
But you know how to get a pet into a pet carrier, because you do it all the time. You probably show clients how to do it when they’re in the clinic, but then they forget.
If you wrote a brief blog post, or shot a video on your mobile phone, showing people how to do it, it would be enormously helpful. And a link to the video or blog post in your regular email newsletter will provide helpful information to hundreds of people with scratches on their arms.
4. REMIND THEM OF THE SEASON
Have you noticed how quickly Spring came around this year? I’m not talking about climate change. The year passes fast when you’re busy. It’s the same for your clients. And they won’t register it’s coming up to flea and tick season until the dog starts gnawing it’s own hind leg off, and the children are covered in tiny bites.
No one wants a flea-infested pet, or a flea-infested house. And without guidance from you, they’re going to go to the supermarket and buy a flea bomb to solve the problem.
And it’s not going to work. But you already know that.
Explaining to clients and potential clients that flea and tick season is coming, and how they manage it, can encourage a quick, simple visit.
5. SCHEDULE THE NEXT EXAM BEFORE THEY LEAVE, OR ASK ABOUT OTHER PETS IN THE FAMILY
This is really simple, but not every vet does it. There will be a reason for a pets next visit, even if it’s just a check up. When you have a client face-to-face, you can explain that reason, and ask them to book in the next visit. If they’ve made the appointment—either for this pet, or any other pet in the household—they will find it harder to ignore.
You can reinforce the importance of regular visits with a simple piece of content on your site, explaining why and when check ups are important.
Keeping that knowledge easily available helps pets stay healthy, and their owners stay organised.
IN SUMMARY: BE HELPFUL
These five tactics for increasing the number of visits you get from clients work because they are helpful. They are not a hard sell. They are all designed to make the life of a pet owner easier, as well as keeping their pets healthy.
If you are the vet who achieves both those aims, you’ll get their business.