Six Tips for Choosing a Veterinary Marketing Partner
You know you need help with your marketing, but how do you go about finding the right agency for your practice? Many veterinarians feel at a loss when trying to decide how to get marketing help, and fall back on the great equalizer of price. But the lowest cost is not always the most effective option, and may even cost you more in the long run.
With convention season upon us, you’ll probably see more than your share of advertising for all kinds of marketing services. How do you sort it all out?
To start, keep these 6 tips in mind…
1. Choose a reliable agency that has experience with veterinary businesses like yours.
Marketing is a long-term partnership, so it pays to find someone who understands the issues you face, your goals, your budget and most importantly, with the experience to know what works for your kind of business.
You shouldn’t need to spend your time or your money teaching an agency your market. Because we work with veterinary practices, we’ve got a treasure trove of strategies that we can bring to the table, which have been proven to work will all types of veterinary practices. Ask any prospective agency to show you details of successful campaigns in your market so you can assess whether they might be a good fit for you.
2. Choose people you want to work with.
Digital marketing involves constant communication, so pick people you feel comfortable communicating with; people who listen to what you want to accomplish for your business and provide their best guidance for getting you there. Are they asking you questions about your business and your customers, or do they tell you what you’re going to get? Are they helping you to hone in on the services you want to highlight or do they only provide automated posting and ads?
A good partner listens as much as they talk, so make sure your marketing partner is listening to you.
3. Find someone who plans for results.
The purpose of digital marketing is to bring tails through the door, whether it be through new business or by keeping your existing customers engaged. Not every digital marketing activity is a hard-sell toward this goal, but it should be part of a plan for a result.
Does your agency have clear goals for your marketing? Do you know where you are along the path to reach those goals?
Sometimes your goals and budget don’t match up; a good agency will be honest with you about what you need to accomplish your goals, and give you alternatives that fit your budget.
4. Make sure they measure what’s important.
Planning for results means measuring progress as you go and focusing on the metrics that matter. If you are looking for new customers, for example, you should be tracking clicks to your page, appointments, and/or new client forms. If you’re looking to build ambassadors for your brand, you’ll want to be looking at social media engagement.
Digital marketing platforms specialize in measuring interactions – it’s just a matter of knowing which ones to focus on. Not every interaction is measurable, but your agency should always be looking for ways to help you find the ROI in your marketing activities.
5. Look for someone who brings a toolbox, not a tool.
The old saying, “When all you have is a hammer, every problem is a nail” certainly applies here. In today’s competitive market, you’ll need to stay flexible and focused to reach your marketing goals. Sometimes, that means switching advertising methods.
For example, a veterinary association we are working with originally came to us for help with search ads through Google AdWords to raise the profile of their organization. As we honed in on their goals, however, it became apparent that given the specific audience they wanted to reach, Facebook ads would be more effective. So we adjusted their marketing to buy Facebook Ads targeted specifically to the smaller audience in their area.
Having the flexibility to make changes quickly can be the difference between new customers and wasted marketing dollars.
6. Finally, they should provide you with meaningful, timely, and transparent reporting.
This your business and your budget, and you deserve to completely understand how your marketing money is being spent. You should get regular reports – at least monthly – that clearly show you how your marketing money has been spent, and what results it brought. If you don’t understand the numbers, or are unclear about what they mean, by all means ask. It’s your marketer’s job to help you understand the reports they send you.
Finding the right marketing partner takes a bit of thought and research, but can pay off in the long run with great results for your business. If you carefully consider your options and ask the right questions, you’ll be able to find the right fit for your marketing.