Amid all the craziness of this year, I’ve been constantly amazed at the adaptability, creativity and stamina of the professionals working in our industry. Not only has the veterinary industry stepped up to the plate to continue treating patients during isolation, lockdown and staff shortages, but they’ve gone above and beyond to implement new protocols at a moment’s notice, embrace new technologies and deal with cranky clients and stressed team members all at once. And yet – creativity and good-humour both remain high, either despite the pandemic or because of it.
After working with my clients and helping them to adapt and respond to the challenges, here are my Top 5 Veterinary Marketing learnings from 2020:
- Marketing is not just about selling or attracting new clients, it’s also about customer service and retention.
- Stay on course. Align your marketing plan with your business objectives and implement tools that allow you to measure your results.
- Have a recognisable and reassuring brand message that is delivered synergistically across all platforms – print, signage, website, social media, events, promotions, uniforms etc.
- Avoid email overwhelm and check your unsubscribe and bounce reports. Consider the frequency and tone of your newsletters in the context of world events and clients’ priorities for their pets.
- Customers have higher expectations and expect faster responses than ever before. A consistent social media presence is essential.
Tips for 2021:
- Plan Ahead – start with a basic framework and align your marketing activities with your business objectives. What do you want to achieve by the end of the year?
- Let Your Brand Reflect Your Culture – What is unique about your practice? What are you most proud of? What is your vision? What do your clients say about you? Does your brand need refreshing or updating?
- Involve Your Team – Run brainstorming sessions, provide training and incentives, assign social media champions, reinforce teamwork and individual accountability.
- Involve Your Clients and Patients – stories and case studies, Patient of the Month awards, bravery certificates, birthday cards, loyalty schemes and wellness plan rewards, events and competitions.
- Measure Your Success – “You can’t manage it, if you don’t measure it.”
Sales receipts, social media reports, email subscriptions, customer feedback surveys, website analytics, online reviews & recommendations.
I hope that you find these tips useful. It’s been a year of reflecting, re-evaluating and tackling problems in new and different ways, but I can honestly say that the learning experience has been invaluable. I’m looking forward to more advancement and innovation in the new year – but let’s take a breath and enjoy some well-deserved downtime first!