Do you need help coming up with marketing ideas your veterinary practice? We get it. You didn’t become a veterinarian because you have a deep love for marketing, advertising, and sales. You did it because you love animals and want to help them in any way you can.
The reality is all businesses need to have strong marketing in order to do the work they want to do. Understanding the basics of traditional and digital marketing for vet clinics can help you build a marketing strategy that gets your business in front of the right people (and their super cute pets).
It’s all about keeping your business top of mind for your current clients and expanding your reach to future clients so you can keep helping the furry, feathered, and scaly friends in your community.
In this post, we’ll cover:
- Why you need a marketing strategy for your veterinary practice
- The differences between traditional and digital marketing
- 10 effective marketing ideas for your veterinary practice
Let’s get started.
Why marketing is important for your veterinary practice
Whether you want to grow your veterinary practice or just maintain a loyal client base, marketing is essential for vet clinics.
Marketing should always be a part of your overall business plan. Without a marketing strategy for your veterinary practice, your business won’t be as likely to grow. Marketing aims to increase brand awareness, customer loyalty, and sales, all while attracting new clients.
This, in a nutshell, is why you need to create a marketing strategy for your veterinary practice. If this is your first time dipping your toes into the marketing pond, you might need help figuring out where to start. To get you started, first you should decide what kind of marketing is the best fit for your practice.
What is digital marketing?
Digital marketing, sometimes called online marketing, is any promotion that connects brands with potential customers using digital forms of communication and the internet. If a campaign includes digital communication, you’ve got yourself a piece of digital marketing.
Digital marketing has become synonymous with marketing in general. You won’t find too many businesses talking about marketing and not including digital marketing under that umbrella. 85% of Americans say they go online on a daily basis, and another 31% say they’re online almost constantly. It should come as no surprise that digital marketing is so important.
But what does digital marketing look like in action? From email to SEO to ads, if you can think of a way to interact with content, there’s a digital marketing channel for it.
- Social media marketing uses social media platforms to interact with customers to build your brand, increase sales, and drive traffic to your website. The most popular social media networks are currently Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
- Email marketing is sending messages to your subscribers via email to promote your business’s services and products. It’s one of the most effective digital marketing strategies.
- Pay-per-click advertising (or PPC) is a digital ad where you pay a fee every time someone clicks on your ad. You can run PPC campaigns on search engines like Google and Bing and also on social media channels.
- Content marketing involves creating and sharing content online that doesn’t explicitly promote your brand, but instead builds interest or awareness in your brand, services, and products. It includes everything from blogs, videos, ebooks, and newsletters to whitepapers, infographics, and social media posts.
- Search engine optimization (or SEO) is the process of improving your website’s technical configuration and content relevance to make it more findable on search engines like Google. SEO is sometimes considered a subset of content marketing.
- Native advertising is an ad that doesn’t look like an ad at first glance. It’s a piece of content on an online publication that is made to look like the publication’s editorial content. Even though it looks like organic editorial content, it’s actually a paid ad promoting the advertiser’s products or services.
Email marketing by the numbers
- Email marketing has an outstanding 4400% return on investment
- 49% of consumers like to receive weekly emails from their favorite brands
- More than 50% of people check their email before doing anything else online
- Small business owners ranked email marketing as the second most effective way to build brand awareness
What is traditional marketing?
Traditional marketing is the catch-all term for marketing techniques that came before the internet and what is now called digital marketing.
Traditional marketing is any form of marketing that happens offline. This includes:
- Newspaper ads
- Direct mail campaigns
- Television advertisements
- Radio advertisements
- Event marketing
- Print advertising
While digital marketing gets a lot of attention, traditional marketing still accounts for 56% of all advertising revenue (Oberlo). Even if you spend a lot of your time and money on digital marketing, it’s still worth considering traditional marketing.
Traditional marketing is powerful for a local business like a veterinary clinic that relies on clients in their community. For example, putting flyers up at a local dog park may have a significant impact on the community you’re targeting.
How can your veterinary practice get started with marketing?
One of the great benefits of digital marketing is that it gives you a more extensive geographical reach. But as a veterinary clinic that serves the community, you need to leverage that reach in a way that works for your business.
Blending traditional and digital marketing strategies is the key to getting the most out of your efforts.
|Did you know? A strategy of blending traditional and digital marketing strategies is used by 45% of small businesses. They understand the need to reach their audience where they are, which means investing in different marketing avenues.|
Once you’ve decided which marketing elements you’ll use in your strategy, you’re good to move on to the next steps.
Veterinary marketing notes to take into account
- Consistency. Effective marketing is consistent when it comes to brand voice and tone, as well as visual identity. It’s also consistent in timing. For example, if you release a monthly newsletter, stick to the same publishing schedule each month so clients know what to expect from you. Being consistent will also help you gather data on your marketing efforts.
- Data. For your marketing to move the needle, you need to know what works and what doesn’t. Whether you’re running pay-per-click ads or doubling down on SEO, ensure you have all the needed software to track your success. Then you can analyze this data to make decisions and changes to improve your marketing plan as you go.
- Budget. When it comes to creativity and ideas, the sky’s the limit to how you can market your veterinary practice. But when it comes to finances, your budget’s the limit. Take the time to set a realistic budget for your business before you start planning your marketing strategy. Having a set budget will keep you on track from the get-go. There are a ton of free marketing tools out there to start with so you can explore and practice without breaking the bank.
10 effective marketing ideas for your veterinary practice
Between digital and traditional marketing strategies, your veterinary practice has a lot of options to choose from. The good news is that some tactics are better suited for local businesses, and more specifically, veterinary clinics.
Let’s look at 10 marketing ideas for your veterinary practice to help you grow your client list and increase brand awareness.
1. Create a strong digital presence with your website
Having a website for your business is a no-brainer. Your website not only lends your business more credibility, it’s also one of the main ways for your business to be found by potential customers. Every day, Google processes 8.5 billion searches.
Without a website, you aren’t going to be the answer to any of those 8.5 billion searches. But when you have a website for your vet practice, you can promote your services, get more clients, and gain an edge over your competitors.
|Did you know? Over 80% of Americans believe a business with a website is more credible than one with only a social media page. Attracting new customers relies heavily on having a professional website with which prospective clients can interact.|
2. Claim your business listings
Even before your website, your online business listings act as the first point of contact for anyone searching for your veterinary clinic. Claim your business listings on Google, Yelp, Bing, and any other local listings in your area. This is extra important even if you don’t plan on having an online presence. The last thing you want are competitors claiming your space and making potentially fraudulent or damaging claims. Make sure all of the information is up-to-date and accurate. And be sure to stay on top of these listings and update them if/when something changes in your business.
3. Build your community through social media
It’s more than just Gen Z who’s hanging out on social media. The average person spends approximately 2.5 hours daily on social media, so it makes sense to bring your marketing to your audience. Social media is a great place to build community and foster client relationships. Decide which social media networks your target audience uses and put your time into them. There’s no need to be on every social network, just the ones your clients use.
When you’ve decided which channels to use, think about what you’ll share. Remember, social media is about building a relationship. Don’t spam your accounts with purely promotional posts. Instead, share your professional knowledge, talk about your favorite pet products, and introduce your team or even some furry friends you treat. These are all great ways to build trust—and who doesn’t want to work with a vet they trust?
4. Focus on building your local SEO
People are searching online—remember, 8.5 billion searches a day! It’s beneficial to ensure your website and business listing are found when your local community searches for a veterinary clinic near them.
|Did you know? Local SEO is so powerful that 78% of local searches on mobile phones result in an offline purchase at a brick-and-mortar business. And local SEO is only getting more and more powerful as “near me” searches increase by 136% from 2021 to 2022.|
SEO makes your website more visible on Google and other search engines. Great SEO will bring more qualified traffic to your website when done right. And every new person who visits your website or business listing is an opportunity to convert a prospect into a client.
5. Sponsor a local community event
A traditional marketing strategy that works well for location-based businesses like veterinary clinics is sponsoring local community events. Events are great for getting your business name into the community and creating goodwill with locals.
Look for pet-focused events that are happening in your community, or even create your own event. Sponsor a festival at a dog park, an adoption event at a shelter, or work with a local groomer to offer free nail clippings at your clinic or in a local event space.
Events are a great way to get your business in front of people who may need your services and keep your business top of mind.
6. Ask your current clients for reviews and referrals
If you have a happy client base who love working with you and the team at your veterinary clinic, asking them to leave a review of your business is a great way to build up social proof for your business.
Send your current client an automated email a day after their appointment to ask them to leave a review on one of your online business listings. You can provide the links to make it easy for clients. In the same email, you can ask for referrals. Explain that you’re looking for new clients to add to your community and ask your current clients to pass along your information to anyone in need of veterinary services.
|Reviews are an online currency for small businesses. The average person reads 10 online reviews before they make a purchasing decision. Additionally, 88% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.|
7. Create partnerships with related businesses
Finding related businesses in your area that serve the same clients but aren’t your direct competitors is a great way to market your business. Partnering with these businesses can create a relationship where you support each other’s businesses.
You can partner on events with them, leave your business card or flyers at their cash register, and share about each other on social media. It’s a great way to cross-pollinate client bases and is in the best interest of your clients.
Look for pet supply stores, groomers, trainers, boarders, and dog walkers in your area to build a network of like-minded professionals.
8. Get your swag in the right places
While handing out pens or water bottles to people is great, finding a way to get your business name popping up in the right places is key to marketing well with “swag” or free giveaways.
Why not get branded doggie bag dispensers, head to your local dog parks, and attach them to fences or posts? You’re providing people with an item they need at that moment, that also directly relates to your business. It’s a win-win and an excellent opportunity to market your vet clinic.
9. Establish yourself as a local pet expert
From hosting and speaking at events to writing informational blog posts and newsletters, establishing yourself as a pet expert can add authority and trust to your brand.
There are many ways to go about this—it all depends on your strengths. If you like to speak live, find local speaking engagements. Love to write? Start a weekly blog post or email newsletter. Love to be in front of the camera? Film a weekly segment that you share on social media.
Whichever avenue you choose, focus on topics related to pets. Ask your clients for their questions and answer them through your chosen medium. Viewers and listeners will associate the name of your veterinary practice with someone they trust to know about all things pets.
10. Set your business up for success
Once your marketing plan is in full swing, you’ll start to see the results—more clients, more appointments, and more furry friends!
Having your business set up is essential to manage the influx of work. You may need to hire new team members, set up new systems, or maybe even open a second location.
Thinking through these potential growing pains in advance can alleviate pressure on your current team and yourself. And you can avoid interruptions to your service—which could affect your old and new clients.
Homebase is the perfect solution for growing businesses. We help veterinary clinics like yours manage their work schedules, time clocks, payroll, HR, hiring processes, and more—so you can focus on your people and furry friends.
|“Homebase has made my life so much easier with scheduling. It used to be chaos and now it’s very smooth. We use the scheduler, keep track of PTO, request time off, availability for hire, messaging and the team really likes the shout out feature.”
— Amanda McGinty, Owner & Veterinarian, Shepherd of the Hills Veterinary Clinic
Looking for help managing your expanding veterinary business?
Get Homebase for easy scheduling, time clocks, payroll, messaging, HR, compliance, and more — all in one app. Get started for free
Marketing ideas for veterinary clinics (FAQs)
Why do veterinary clinics need to market their services?
Like all small businesses, veterinary clinics should market their services to increase brand awareness, customer loyalty, and sales while attracting new clients. Marketing is the key to growing your business and sustaining the business you’ve built.
What’s the difference between traditional and digital marketing?
The difference between traditional marketing and digital marketing lies in the delivery method. Traditional marketing is any offline marketing efforts—billboards, radio ads, print ads, event marketing, etc. Digital marketing is any marketing efforts that happen online or in the digital space—social media, blogging, SEO, digital advertising, etc.
What are the best marketing strategies for veterinary practices?
There are a lot of effective marketing strategies for veterinary practices. As veterinary clinics are a location-based service business, marketing strategies that target geographical locations are highly effective.
Sponsoring events, working on your local SEO, partnering with related businesses, and asking your clients for reviews and referrals are all great ways to market your veterinary clinic.
Finding the right strategy for your veterinary practice will depend on your goals, target audience, and geographic location.