Despite the global adoption of the digital marketplace, most American veterinarians are reluctant to approach digital marketing. There are a variety of reasons for this reality, including time, knowledge and understanding, the rapid pace of change in the digital world, and an overall lack of comfort with technology. But what about veterinarians in other countries? Do they have the same struggles as vet practices in the United States?
After having spoken in Australia to both Australian and New Zealand veterinarians, as well as to vets in Canada and the UK, I can say with confidence that yes; the industry’s struggle with digital marketing is an international reality.
While the overall frustration with marketing is widespread, veterinarians in each country have their own strengths and weakness. For example, in Australia, pet owners and their veterinarians have embraced the use of texting much more rapidly than Americans. England, Canada, and Australia are behind the curve in the practice of online reputation management (ORM) when compared to veterinary hospitals in the USA. However, we in the US are way behind the eight ball when it comes to adapting to cloud based technologies, such as practice management software; which, in many cases, can help to automate some aspects of marketing.
When it comes to marketing, some things also remain the same, though. If I was blindfolded and dropped into a convention hall in anyone of those countries, I would be hard pressed to know where I was in based on the questions people asked, such as:
- Does marketing work?
- What has changed and how do I know it has changed?
- Why does it seem so expensive?
- Why do I need a website, Facebook, online review management, and search engine optimization?
- Where can I find announcements from Google when they are going to make a change? (FYI: Google doesn’t generally make announcements when they make a change.)
- Who do I trust to manage my marketing?
- Can someone manage my business’s marketing internally?
- What do you mean I can’t copy pictures off of Google and use them in my marketing?
The universal truth that I have experienced, is that people in all countries want to learn. One of my professional joys is helping to empower individuals when it comes to understanding how and why veterinary marketing works. With that understanding comes the ah-ha! moment; when the light bulb of understanding burns bright and the elements of the marketing ecosystem fall into place, making a once-struggling practice come to life.
That understanding is one of our chief goals at Beyond Indigo.
Social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, are fueled by user content. Individuals, organizations, politicos, and businesses alike post countless photos, articles and blogs, links, and videos to their pages every day. But what separates good posts from the bad and the ugly?
As you may have experienced yourself, there is a lot of “sharing” that occurs on social media sites. Many social media users regularly share or retweet posts made by fellow users as the staple of their posted content. However, others are content creators, meaning they are creating and posting original content that is unique to their lives, businesses, platforms, etc.. And, while there is nothing wrong, per se, with sharing the occasional dog meme or kitten video with your fans and followers, chances are they would rather see unique and original content coming across their news feed than a rehash of the same ol’ stuff over and over again.
What Is Unique Content and Why Is It Important for My Business?
Unique content is exactly what you’d think – content you create and share on social media. This content is particular to your brand because it comes directly from your business, making it uniquely yours.
There are clear benefits to creating original content for your business’s social media, insofar that it is an opportunity to:
- Build stronger and more meaningful customer relationships
- Cultivate an online community
- Educate and empower your clients
- Highlight your veterinary expertise
- Boost your site’s web traffic and SEO standing
Since digital marketing is an essential piece of today’s successful veterinary marketing, it’s necessary to prioritize and invest in social media, and that includes making the creation of unique content a priority, too. If you create exceptional content, it will be your posts, photos, and videos that people are engaging with and sharing, not other businesses’.
What Unique Content Does My Veterinary Practice Have to Offer?
Veterinarians have a definite advantage when it comes to creating unique, in-house content for social media sharing because, let’s face it, the Internet loves animals. While businesses in less interesting industries might have difficulty generating something in-house that is engaging and “shareworthy,” veterinarians have seemingly endless opportunities for producing unique content.
Between the adorable pets, the multi-faceted nature of veterinary practices, and the extraordinary cases that come through your practice’s doors, there’s rarely a dull moment in veterinary medicine. Capture those moments, and you will undoubtedly capture the hearts, minds, and attention of your fans and their friends.
10 Ideas for Unique In-House Content:
Are you ready to create in-house content but wondering where to start? Here are a few of our favorite ideas:
- How-to videos and visual tutorials present an opportunity to both educate clients and highlight your knowledge and expertise. Create content that teaches your clients easily conveyable topics, like how to properly apply topical medications or how to crate train cats for transportation.
- Showcase your services with photos and videos of your veterinary care in action. This is a great opportunity to educate clients (and potential clients!) on what you do, why you do it, and how you do it.
- Introduce your staff to your followers! Share pictures or portraits, concise biographies, or interesting interviews – even if clients have met your veterinary team, everyone loves to find out something new about a familiar face.
- Blogs or articles written by staff can be both illuminating and fun for your clients. Between educational, medical, and lifestyle topics for pet owners, you have an endless variety of potential blogging material.
- Present your clients’ pets to social media! Snap a photo (with the client’s permission) to share with your followers. Cute animal photos are the low-hanging fruit everyone loves to consume, and sharing a client’s pet can promote client loyalty.
- Case of the Week: tell your followers about a particular pet you treated that week by providing a narrative that details their pathway to health. Again, as with all content that involves a client and his/her pet, make sure to get permission before sharing anything online.
- Images from boarding, pet daycare, or behavioral training are not only an easy way to feature these services, but they also let pet owners know you’re paying special attention to their furry family.
- Behind-the-scenes photos from inside your practice are a great way to show your business’s light-hearted side. From office birthdays and potlucks, to day-to-day silliness, these informal posts let your clients know your staff on a more personal level.
- Similarly, photos from charity involvement or community events demonstrate that your staff’s good-nature goes beyond veterinary work.
- Trivia about pet care, fun facts, and tidbits of lesser-known info
If you’re feeling the task of content generation might be an undertaking too heavy for one person to shoulder, don’t hesitate to reach out to other staff members in your practice for help; having a collaborative input can really enhance content. Crafting content should be fun, not a chore, so rallying coworkers to help with content creation will likely be a snap.
We hope that you’re feeling motivated to produce your own unique, in-house social media content, but before you roll up your sleeves and get to work, don’t forget: if the content is worth creating, then it’s worth creating well. If you have questions or would like a professional consultation on how to optimize your social marketing strategy, please don’t hesitate to contact our staff.
Welcome to 2015. For those of us that grew up with the Back to the Future franchise, we know this is the year that Doc and Marty arrive in the future (seriously, where are the hoverboards!?!); but what about your veterinary practice? Has it arrived in the future, or is it still stuck in 1985?
Just as the diagnostic and surgical tools of the veterinary trade have evolved in the past 30 years, so have the tools you need to successfully market your practice. The once heavily-relied upon Yellow Pages are now lining bird cages across America and, while still necessary, even a stand-alone website isn’t likely to get your practice found in today’s increasingly social media-savvy world.
This past fall, Beyond Indigo welcomed veterinary technology consultant Nancy Dewitz to the freshly-created position of Marketing and Technology Consultant. And while we know that some of you have had the pleasure of meeting and working with Nancy already, we wanted to take the opportunity to introduce her to those of you who haven’t.
Much as we did with our Creative Director, Mark Clifton, BI’s intrepid blogger has taken a moment to talk with Nancy about what brings her to Beyond Indigo, and what goals she has for her work with both the company and you, our clients.
This past October, Beyond Indigo brought on Mark Clifton as the company’s Creative Director. This freshly-minted position was created in anticipation of some exciting changes coming to Beyond Indigo in 2015.
While you’ll have to wait a bit longer to find out about what is in store for our clients in the coming year, we are excited to introduce you to Mark and showcase the amazing talent he brings to Beyond Indigo’s table. Our blogger-in-chief, Kate Matthews, was able to arrange a little tête-à-tête with Mark and curate the conversation into this week’s post.
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, now is an ideal time to kickoff a few simple marketing ideas to engage your clients and community in a fun and meaningful way. While your veterinary practice likely has several key business-focused messages to get across this fall, it’s important to ensure your overall marketing mix includes messaging that establishes your practice as accessible, relatable, and connected with its clientele.
Thankfully, this season is brimming with opportunity for this type of marketing. Many of us take time during Thanksgiving to count our blessings, and businesses should be no exception to this trend. After all, what better way to attract customers than to let them know that their business is appreciated?
Online reviews impact a business’ reputation, SEO, and ultimately the number of people who will use their products and services. Because veterinary practices have a higher need for trust among their clients, the stakes in having positive online reviews are even higher.
Yelp is the biggest of the online review websites, boasting 138 million unique visitors per month. People use the website to look up businesses from hair salons to car dealerships and any and everything in between, by reading consumer recommendations and reviews.
Who are ‘The Millennials’, and Why Should We Care?
Born between 1980 and 2000, the Millennial generation holds a mammoth amount of importance. An estimated 80 million Millennials currently live in the U.S., and in 15 years, it’s believed that they’ll comprise 70% of our workforce. Their spending power is said to be $170 billion. In order to ensure the continued growth and profitability of your veterinary business, it’s essential to learn to market to this vital generation.
What Makes Millennials Unique?
Millennials are a special breed. They’ve grown up during a time of international political strife and economic chaos. Even though they’ve been raised with constant instability, they have had one crucial constant: technology. They have more technological prowess than any
Stock photography is a wildly contested subject.
When it comes to marketing your veterinary practice, when is it ok to use stock photos? When are unique, self-taken photos the best way to go? We’ve sifted through all of the information for you to help clear up some of the mystery.
You have two photography options when building your website and marketing materials: stock photography (pre-made photos that you didn’t take) and self-taken/custom photography.
Pros of Stock Photography
Photographs tell stories.
A stunning photo that captures a compelling moment elicits pure and strong emotions from everyone who views it.
Images play a crucial role in marketing your veterinary practice, because they tell the story of your business and foster emotional bonds with pet owners.
Here are 7 tips to help you make the most of your marketing photography…
1. Be specific. Shoot real images of real people doing meaningful things. This includes your employees, clients, pets and events. Invite pet owners into your photographic conversation by asking for their images. Photo contests are a great way to engage clients.
2. Ensure that images align with your brand and are consistent with your overall messaging, mission and vision. Incorporate on-brand colors in your images. If royal blue is your primary brand color, for example, shoot images that highlight (or contain) that color.