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Feeling Caught in a Vise Grip? 

Feeling stuck in a vise grip.

Marketing Can Help!

The world is just peachy keen out there right now isn’t it?? Depending on where you live in the country, prices for goods and services are increasing at some eyebrow-raising rates. One is never sure what the price will be at the pump and thoughts are circulating around buying holiday presents now, before they are gone or too expensive to purchase. Within the practice, the cost of goods to operate are going up as well. Many services a hospital uses most likely will see price increases come the start of 2023, as businesses adjust to this higher cost of living. These price increases are one side of the vise grip. The other side of the vise grip is the cost of labor. Many hospitals are having to pay higher wages and benefits to attract and keep the staff that they have. Stacy Pursell writes about these trends here in the Fountain Report. With costs of goods and services going up and the cost of labor increasing too, it means it’s quite a bit more expensive to run the business. Ouch. 

Inflating Prices and Decreasing Visits

VetSource graph showing lapse in clients.

The other emerging trend is that patient visits are decreasing, especially product-only visits. VetSource has been tracking this data, as seen in the graphic. With patient visits down, what is going to make up for lost revenue over time? Right now, revenue is up, which is great, but will the lack of visits cause problems down the road? How does a practice make up for the missing visits? One could look at raising prices to cover the increase in costs. However, with the inflation sensitivity of families these days, one has to be careful not to price themselves out of the market. Or, maybe right now is the time to create an uptick in visits through marketing to reverse this trend. 

Marketing To Increase Visits

When marketing to increase visits, there are two buckets of demographics that need to be addressed. One “bucket” is current clients who already know your services. The second “bucket” is new people who have never graced your doorstep. With clients already in your database, it is great to do a few marketing pushes to remind them that you are their one stop shop for their pet’s health care. A business can reach out to these pet owners by:

  • Retargeting ads on Facebook: This means you upload your client list into Facebook and ads will be shown only to that group of people. Facebook then bounces the ad along as people surf in Facebook. 
  • Email/text blasts: Many hospitals only use emails and texts for reminders. It also can be a powerful marketing tool to keep clients educated about various timely health concerns as well as the services/products that are provided at the hospital. 
  • Old fashioned phone calls: Make calls to the top 10% of clients to check in on them, to ask how their pet baby is doing, and remind then it is time to come in and catch up on any wellness care aspects that might have been missed or delayed in the last few years. 

Marketing to new clients is a little different in the digital world. Since data is not already in the hospital’s possession, one has to go reach potential clients in another fashion. Some ways to reach out and entice people to come in for a product purchase or medical service are:

  • Post on social media to educate people that you do offer products for purchase either in person or online. Many people would rather buy locally if given an opportunity. 
  • The email list that was uploaded into Facebook can be used to create “look-alike” audiences that will reach people similar to the list of people you submitted. This means a duplicate pool of people who are your demographic, but are not on that list of emails. It is a handy way to reach new people at a lower cost. This new group of people will see your ad and then, typically, there is a higher conversion rate. 
  • Run ads on social media (Including TikTok) as well as Google to assist in bringing in new customers.
Woman smiling working on her tablet.

The time to use marketing to move the lever to the positive for your business is sooner rather than later. Marketing can produce results, but is less expensive if planning for a 3-month window instead of a 3-day window. 

If you have questions about any of this or just marketing in general, come ask me at Happy to help!

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