Archive for June, 2011

Another Cartoon From Greg Bishop’s “Fauna” Series

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Another Cartoon From Greg Bishop’s “Fauna” Series

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

Harnessing the Trend: QR Barcode Scanning and Your Veterinary Practice

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Mobio Technologies recently released a report that showcased a massive 4549% (yep, 4549%!) increase in the adoption of QR barcode scanning by technology users over the past year. As QR barcodes continue to grow in popularity, why not make them work for your veterinary practice?

What are QR barcodes, and what do they do?

If you think that you have never heard of QR barcodes before, chances are you just haven’t known them by name. Now popping up everywhere from Starbucks to your local supermarket, the codes (or “barcodes”) appear as a symmetrical square filled with randomly arranged black and white patterns, somewhat resembling a distorted version of a traditional barcode.

The QR barcodes are readable only via scanning applications available for download on most smart-phones and tablets. The user simply downloads the application from their device’s application marketplace, and points the camera at the code for a near-instant scan. Once the barcode has been scanned, it can automatically direct the user to website URLs, promotional materials, pictures, and more.

What this all means is that these powerful little boxes can be placed just about anywhere to give customers access to the exact information you are trying to provide them. While some consumers may not yet be familiar with the purpose of these barcodes, it is important to recognize that this is likely to change as they appear with ever-growing frequency.

Creating QR barcodes is quick and easy, and can be done for free through websites such as Kaywa QR-code in just a few minutes. Once you have created your barcode, simply download the image to your computer and you are ready to get started! Many mobile scanning applications such as the one offered by Mobio also allow you the ability to generate QR barcodes directly from your smart-phone, and email or text the image to anyone.

Many businesses both small and large have begun adopting these barcodes as a part of a tech-savvy marketing strategy, and as the numbers from the Mobio report seem to indicate, the response from consumers is overwhelmingly positive. Don’t wait to play catch-up, now is the perfect time to think about utilizing QR barcodes for your veterinary practice.

Now that I’ve created my QR code, what should I do with it?

Once your QR barcode is ready for use, there really are no limits to where you can use it.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Include QR barcodes on business cards – Allow your clients to instantly access your mobile-friendly veterinary website from their smart-phone or tablet.
  • Create a QR barcode for contact information – Include a barcode on your website that will allow users to instantly copy your number and address to their device.
  • Include QR barcodes on advertisements – Ensure that interested potential clients are sure to remember the name and website of your practice.
  • Use a QR barcode to offer special deals and promotions - Place on your website or in advertisements, allowing clients to quickly access your special offers and store them directly on their devices.

Embracing QR barcodes as part of your marketing strategy will help your practice stay ahead of the curve. Everyday more consumers are being turned on to the usefulness of these little codes, and we can expect to be seeing a lot more of them in the future.

Unlocking The Marketing Power Of YouTube For Your Veterinary Practice: Three Easy Steps

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Developing a comprehensive online marketing tool kit should be one of the most important elements in the marketing strategy of your veterinary practice. While some of these tools may appear more obvious than others, such as a well designed website, integration with social networking services, and online reputation management, YouTube is often overlooked as an invaluable marketing asset.

Over the past few years, YouTube has successful transformed from a beacon of funny cat videos to a place where businesses, non-profit organizations, and governmental agencies have turned to host educational and promotional videos. YouTube has the ability to offer your practice a chance to establish real online branding opportunities with a little extra effort on your end.

Establishing a YouTube presence for your veterinary practice is easier than you think, and can be accomplished in three easy steps:

Create the Videos: Having a hard time deciding on what to create a video about? Try to think about veterinary procedures and bits of pet-related information that your clients would be interested in learning more about. Whether its explaining the importance of regular vaccinations, or showing the best way to check a dog for ticks, there are sure to be plenty of ideas to work with.

In terms of equipment, very little is actually needed. Acquiring a webcam or a basic digital video camera will get you producing video in no time, and at a relatively low cost.

Create Your YouTube Channel: There are a substantial number of online resources that can help you with the creation of your channel, and uploading the videos that you produce. When you’ve completed this step, all of the video’s for your practice will be displayed within the same channel.

Share Your Videos: Now that your videos are uploaded to YouTube, sharing what you have created is fast and easy. Share your videos on your Facebook and Twitter wall, or embed the HTML code directly into your website, and you are on your way to establishing a more expansive web presence for your veterinary practice.

Here is one of the ways that a Beyond Indigo client has utilized YouTube as part of their online marketing strategy. With such a fantastic resource available at a low cost to you, why not take the opportunity to spread the reach of your veterinary practice?

As It Turns Out, Looks Do Matter

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Creating a visible website can be one of the most important components of your marketing strategy, giving your veterinary practice an opportunity to utilize the web to branch out to potential customers. However, some practices find that their websites still are failing to bring in a noticeable amount of new clients, even when their web traffic is good. What causes this lack of conversion? A recent survey found that your design might be the culprit.

According to the survey conducted earlier this year by OnePoll, 70% of respondents stated that they simply do not trust a poorly designed website. Such data highlights the importance of establishing a presence for your veterinary practice on the web, but making sure that your website is serving all of the functions that it should.

So what separates the good websites from the bad? Well, its all about looks, functionality, and navigation.

The Look: You might not be able to judge a book by its cover, but you can certainly judge a website by a similar standard. It is important that you ensure your website has a look that the aesthetic expectations of potential clients, and comes off as professional, clean cut, and tasteful.

The Functionality: On of the biggest parts of making your website successful is making sure that all of the “behind-the-scenes” work is functioning correctly. This means your website should not crash, show error messages, or limit the browsing abilities of your client with broken code.

The Navigation: The final part of what makes a good website is making sure you have fully organized all of the content, and helping to direct your potential clients to the places that they would like to go. If your clients do not know where to look, you cannot expect them to stay on your website.

In a perfect business world, it would be great to expect that high-quality service would be enough to keep potential customers interested. In reality, however, it all comes down to how well you are able to sell your practice, and making a substantial impact on the client every opportunity you get.

The New (inter)Face of Google Analytics

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

Google Analytics version 5 recently launched and includes a completely reworked user interface and many, many infrastructure improvements. Navigation has been simplified to let you jump to the areas that are most important to you, including a new Dashboard section and My Site for Reports.

The new Dashboard tool has more data visualizations options, including:

• Absolute metrics

• Data over time graphs containing multiple metrics

• Pie charts

• Tabular data

You can also apply filters to each widget on the dashboard to further customize the data in the widget. These changes will make it much easier to create reports and visualize important data about your site traffic.

Visit a recent blog post from Google Analytics to learn more about what the new version has to offer and what’s coming in the near future.

Google Analytics is a web analytics tool that gives users insight into their website traffic and marketing effectiveness. Easy-to-use features let you see and analyze your website’s traffic data to help you know how you can strengthen your marketing initiatives. To sign up for this free service from Google, visit the Analytics home page.