Marketing is Never a No-Brainer by Kelly Baltzell
As the the CEO and President of Beyond Indigo Pets, I have had the opportunity to speak to hundreds of vets over the last month and I have noticed a common story. Most of the vets I’ve met have never had to do much marketing, if any, until the last two years. Some vets even tell me they have been blessed with double-digit growth until two years ago. Wow, those were the days!
Two years ago, as we all know, the economy slammed on the brakes. You could no longer take growing your business for granted. New clients stopped streaming through the doors and annual profits hit a wall. Your natural instinct may have been to run a few more ads in your local newspaper. But in your gut, you knew that wasn’t enough. Today technology has taken on an enormous role in how businesses market themselves with online advertising, re-marketing campaigns, social media, and more. It’s a lot to learn and a lot to become an expert at. If you are a vet struggling to make sense of it all, we recommend the following:
1. Cut yourself some slack. If you have never done any marketing before, there is a real learning curve. The best way you can help yourself is to open your mind and to educate yourself on your options. For example, do you want to keep your marketing in-house or hire outside help? A good place to educate yourself is our new updated website at redesign.beyondindigopets.com. On this site are questions to ask yourself in tutorial fashion to help figure out the strengths and weaknesses in your marketing program.
2. Realize that sometimes it takes money to make money. Most vets I have spoken to haven’t spent a dime on marketing because people just walked through the door. Ah for the good old days! To gain new clients and have your current clients spend more of their dollars at your clinic, you need to educate them. It’s not enough to simply say your business exists and is located on Main Street. Your outreach needs to offer tips, advice, and real-time interaction. I have found this notion of “education and outreach” is a bit of a paradigm shift for people in the vet industry.
3. To reach people where they are today your business needs to have a website, a Facebook page, and be visible in local searches with online reviews. I had one woman stand up and say, “I am not comfortable with Facebook and interacting with people in this fashion.” Many veterinarians can relate! But this is how people now expect to communicate with one another, whether you are comfortable or not.
4. Don’t go it alone. There is help available once you open your mind and acknowledge that in order to grow, your business needs to do more. Your website needs to be up-to-date and search engine-optimized, and your digital footprint needs to span multiple outlets, including review sites, Facebook, YouTube, and more. Work with a company that educates you on your options. Start reading some of the news about social media and see the power of transformation it is having on entire countries, the world, and how we communicate.