Your Marketing Journey – Part 2: Where to Stop
Many times at Beyond Indigo we talk to people who are moderately to extremely overwhelmed with their marketing Journey. For most veterinary hospitals they do not even know where to start, what to do or how much time it is going to take. I don’t blame people for being overwhelmed. There is significant amount work, time and knowledge involved in a marketing program. If you are on the overwhelmed train, here are some points to consider that I have gleaned from 1000‘s of veterinarians about why planning for this Marketing Journey can be so overwhelming. Maybe you can relate to some of them.
Overwhelmed Issue Number One: Since most veterinarians and their staff have had to conduct very little marketing until recently, there is a steep learning curve to get up to speed. Most veterinarians still tend to be between 1996 and 1999 in their online marketing initiatives. Hospitals still try to build websites themselves, have servers located in their physical buildings and are struggling weather to use Yellow Pages or not. The problem is how to quickly learn 15 to 17 years of knowledge in a short period of time? Where to start?
Overwhelmed Issue Number Two: Who in the heck does the marketing program? Many hospitals are trying to tackle it completely by themselves and noticing it causes a juggling problem. Multiple people are tapped to do different aspects of the marketing program but nobody really is in charge. Then the message from the hospital is not consistent either in tone or timing. Or the marketing program goes really great until a new problem or focus comes into play and it is forgotten for awhile. This causes gaps with building and growing relationships which is the primary function of online marketing today. The problem is how to have the staffing resources and time to keep the marketing program ongoing.
Overwhelmed Issue Number Three: How much money should be ear marked for marketing? Since this is a relatively new experience for the hospital what is normal? Do I need to hire a new person? How much should a marketing company cost? The problem here is the lack of experience and knowledge to fall back upon when making this decision.
Being overwhelmed is an unpleasant feeling. Plus, it tends to put us in a deer in headlights mode and it stops the process cold. Solutions are need to move forward. Keeping it simple is a strong motto to follow. At Beyond Indigo Pets/Equine we recommend the following solutions to keep your Marketing Journey manageable and maybe even a bit of fun.
- Determine Your Budget Most veterinarians we talk to are starting with 1 to 1.5% of their gross revenue as their starting marketing budget. As you progress into your Marketing Journey we recommend up to 3% of gross revenues be allotted towards your marketing. Another factor to your budget is figuring out where in the heck money is being spent now on marketing. Check your Yellow Pages on and offline, pay per ad clicks, brochures etc. Are these marketing solutions providing return on investment? If not maybe it is time to switch where some marketing dollars flow to better options.
- Start with the “Big Three”. Successful marketing strategies include multiple areas where your hospital’s message is seen. Start with the top places where people visit. We focus on the “Big Three” which are online reviews, your website and search engine optimization. If a searcher finds your reviews lousy, your website uninformative and stuck in the year 1997 and/or cannot flat out find your business it will matter little if they can find your hospital on Facebook. Instead your marketing story should grow and add credibility each place a pet owner is searching for your business. Once a veterinary hospitals reviews are solid to stellar, the website is engaging, content rich, and can be continually found THEN it is time to move to other aspects of a marketing program.
- Keeping Learning: Remember the first couple days of either undergraduate or graduate school? The number of books, the long syllabuses, and the work that was due caused an overwhelmed feeling? It is because you were trying to absorb massive amounts of information. Today if you were asked how to do a spay/neuter no big deal right? At one point in your education it was an overwhelming process to learn. Same with your marketing. Education is the key to reduce the oh my gosh feeling. Take free online webinars through Beyond Indigo Pets/Equine, attend marketing seminars at conferences, sign up for our Social Vet series at www.thesocialvet.com. The idea is to keep learning. When you stop then you have to catch up which places you in the overwhelmed camp again.
Your Marketing Journey is on its way.