In this episode, 7S Society founders, Dr. Cody and Danielle take a deep dive into veterinary marketing tactics and what that looks like in the year 2020.
It’s evident that marketing and social media are constantly changing, so we need to adapt to the times! You’re never truly “done” because marketing your practice will continue to look vastly different from year to year. The truth remains — it’s worth it to invest your time into this.
What are the struggles we see?
1. Seeing marketing for what it’s worth.
Danielle brings up the point that we are finally starting to see practice owners shift into a marketing mindset. This may be because the workforce is a mixed boat of boomers and millennials, and millennials have grown up with this stuff! They are used to social media and can recognize the value of having an audience there.
Many practices still struggle with buy-in on this topic from the top. News flash: 1% of your budget for marketing is no longer relevant! While many practices are starting to enter current times, some are still guarding their pocketbooks from marketing, and it shows. The good thing about marketing today is that many platforms don’t even require money upfront to get the ball rolling, but once you establish your audience, you will need to invest in order to grow it.
Trust us, the upsides to investing in your practice’s marketing are endless.
2. Converting your marketing into actual business.
This is where a lot of practices get held up. You’ve started using the platforms, but your content doesn’t have a plan. It’s sporadic at best or has no established voice, brand, etc.
There is SO much more you can be doing with this in order to see real results! Your content should add value to your audience’s life, build a relationship with them, and ultimately call them to action. Once you start seeing the results, you also need to convert, track and scale in a meaningful way.
None of this is going to happen overnight! It takes time– time that you should be dedicated to making it happen. You can’t hope for the best by posting something when you have five free minutes throughout your week. You have to set aside actual scheduled time towards your social media marketing goals.
What does marketing typically look like right now?
The current trends we currently see amongst veterinary practices are:
- They have a Facebook page. Pretty much everyone does these days. You almost need to “claim” your name so it doesn’t get scooped up. They post, some more often than others.
- They have a website. It’s pretty functional, and many have capabilities to book appointments.
- They’re utilizing a two-way text platform. They can communicate with their clients via whatever platform they have.
- Stopped spending funds on billboards, yellow pages, etc. But didn’t allocate this money towards anything else!
- Involved in community events. This is great for business, but how can we highlight it more?
Overall: It’s time to level up!
Keep in mind, this is not true for every vet practice. There are some true, amazing rock stars out there who are taking their marketing efforts to whole new worlds. But most have immense room for improvement.
The good news is that it IS 2020, and it’s easier than ever to get to that next level. Many platforms are FREE and you can utilize them to really push all those amazing things you’re doing (like your community involvement, funny signage out front of your practice, local regular dog celebs, etc.).
What would you do with a brand new practice that needs marketing in 2020?
Dr. Cody gives Danielle a fun scenario:
You own a brand new practice. You’re a multi-pet practice, so handle everything from dogs and cats to cows and chickens. You’re in an urban location but are surrounded by rural towns in need of your services.
How do you market?
1. Set the tone. Establish yourself as a practice that IS going to document things via social media, and proceed accordingly. All of your hirings should be done with this in mind! If you want to succeed, you will need staff who won’t shy away from a camera, and bonus points if they loved social media before ever coming to work for you.
People with personal brands sometimes intimidate practice owners, but they are actually the perfect candidates for this. They bring an audience with them, and they expand your audience with their willingness to participate in marketing. Utilize that! Make sure you give them time to dedicate to video documentation and social media planning. Perhaps a schedule of practicing three days a week, and allotting one day for all their video fun? A millennial’s dream come true!
2. Design a marketable practice. If you have the ability to start from scratch, make it look fun and inviting! Create spaces where you can video or do fun segments. Let the colors speak to the brand you want to convey. Be creative! If you aren’t starting from scratch– that’s okay! Nothing a little paint and imagination can’t help.
3. Implement good systems. Make sure you have a great website that invites business (shout out to WhiskerCloud for this!). Use your two-way communication systems. Have your basics in place and they will take you far! Once you have them in place, you can dive into more detail as far as what events you want to attend/host/highlight, if you want to utilize pet influencers, how to get involved in the community, and who your demographic is.
What’s the day-to-day in 2020 look like?
Well, that depends who you’re marketing to. Find your people. Go to your people.
For example, if you’re in a community with lots of families that have young kids, you may want to explore using platforms like TikTok or YouTube. Focus on posting content that will appeal to their kids and keep them entertained. Trust me, if you can entertain their kids, you will get their attention.
Facebook is geared more towards an “older” crowd now, and the largest new user group for Instagram is women who are 35 or older. Look these facts up! They will be useful to you in determining where to spend your time, money, and energy.
Remember that you need to make your day to day marketing work for you. If you’re not someone who’s into taking videos of themself, try hiring someone to video FOR you. There are creative ways to still put yourself out there, but on your terms.