Encourage Repeat Website Visits AND Repeat Office Visits with Veterinary Blogging
By Shannon Pecora, MA, Marketing Manager
Do you think of veterinary marketing as a chore, or as a wonderful opportunity? If you only think of “marketing” as “sales,” you’re bound to be less enthusiastic about the concept. After all, medical treatment isn’t something that you’d necessarily want to sell. But “marketing” and “sales” are two different words for very good reason! Sure, you want to boost your new client numbers, increase preventive product sales, and see more appointments, but you can’t create a real or perceived need for these things in the same way that snack food or running shoe marketers can. The great news? You don’t have to!
If you focus on marketing through education, you open up an entire world of possibility in terms of both your financial goals and your patients’ best health. We know that an educated client is an empowered and compliant client, so the more your clients understand about your recommendations, the more likely they are to follow them. Marketing through education leads to compliance and bonding - in other words, client retention. No high-pressure salesmanship necessary!
Along with your website service pages, social posts, and physical handouts, you can use blogging as a far-reaching educational tool. Provide local pet owners with high-quality and engaging information that is accessible any time and anywhere. This will motivate your clients to consistently turn to your website for the tips and advice they need to care for their best furry friends every day - and it will keep them coming back to your practice, too.
Get Your Doctors on Google, or “Dr. Google” Might Get You
Each day, techs and vets hear pet owners say, “I Googled my pet’s symptoms, and it sounds like she has ______.” Online pet care "advice" is easier to access every day, even though one professional veterinary advice website reports that “75% of interactions [with pet owners result] in users needing to take their pet to a veterinarian” anyway.
Online search is a powerful force, and you can help make it a force for good. Sometimes what pet owners find online is correct and helpful, and it spurs them to contact you for an appointment. However, their search results can steer them wrong just as easily. Based on what they find through Google, your clients may wait too long before an appointment, worsening their pet’s prognosis. Or, they may be encouraged to try at-home treatments, which can be at best ineffective, and at worst dangerous.
But what if your efforts could bring trustworthy advice front and center during pet owners’ online searching? That’s where your blog can come in. You hear questions from clients every day, and with the collaboration of your staff, you can figure out which of those are common, seasonal, simple to answer via writing, etc. It’s reasonable to assume that, if clients will ask you these questions, then they’ll certainly ask those same questions in their smartphone or computer search bar. Your answers can be available to them both when they ask in real life and when they ask online -- just make sure to create blog articles about those topics. For your patients’ best health, you’ll want their owners to find your sound, high-quality recommendations, no matter where they look.
Current Content Keeps Clients Current
As you make it a routine to publish new blogs, search engines will take notice. Beyond making a good impression for website visitors, a current and fresh online presence helps boost your website’s position in search results. Analysis shows that Google, in particular, “favors recently published or updated content” as its algorithms instantly rank all of the possible matches to an online search. If your clients decide to consult the internet before they call your office with a pet care question, a blog library with fresh content on your website increases the chances that they’ll land on your site. So if they’re connecting with you via search anyway, your practice is staying top of mind as THE resource for pet health information.
Relating and linking your blog content to your service pages also makes Google happy and keeps your clients on your site as they continue to click and explore. Keywords (terms that people frequently use when typing in search boxes - NOT jargon) are not only great for search ranking, but they’re also good candidates for creating links. For example, if you’re publishing a blog on rabies, look at where and when you use the words “rabies vaccine,” “wellness visit,” or “preventive care.” Use those terms to create links to your vaccine, wellness, and preventive service pages. Now pet owners can quickly go from learning about a specific issue to learning about how to seek related services from your practice.
Note: Check out our previous blog on the general benefits of veterinary blogging to find out more about why “creating service pages and then continuing to add blog articles that further discuss information relevant to the topic...is a very powerful search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.” Consider that your own existing clients are online just as much as your prospective clients. Then put this strategy to work helping you retain those clients, rather than lose them to other online sources, or even your competition.
Education, Compliance, and Bonding Between Appointments
Learning happens through repetition and reinforcement, and part of your job as a veterinary professional is to teach pet owners what is best for their pets’ well-being. During appointments, you can field questions immediately, as well as adjust responses to aid comprehension. In other words, you can have face-to-face conversations with your clients. However, you may only see them a handful of times a year, so you’ll need other methods of message reinforcement between office visits. Along with things like social media and community events, your website - specifically your blog - is how you make that happen.
Get your clients used to your practice philosophies and recommendations by regularly reiterating the ideas in an online forum, between their visits to your office. Well-written blogs are engaging, informative, and even entertaining, so your clients should actually enjoy reading your practice perspective within these articles. Your veterinary blog can enhance your clients’ reception of your recommendations, leading to trust, repeat visits, and compliance.
Making it Happen
Blogging will never be a literal life-and-death priority when compared to practicing medicine. But it can be vital to the life of your business. So how can you tackle the challenge of posting new, high-quality articles on a routine basis?
Recruit Your Crew
If your in-house team will produce, self-assess, and publish all of your content, you will definitely want to share the wealth of knowledge along with the writing tasks. Your marketing team can create an editorial calendar to plot out topics and publication dates, and your doctors, techs, and other qualified staff can each contribute throughout the weeks and months. An in-house marketing pro will be responsible for gathering and preparing all content for publication.
Record Your Crew
Not a fan of writing? Many people are not! Plus, doctors, techs, and assistants spend much of the day actually speaking to clients about the very pet care topics that would make great blog subjects. So consider recording a video of one of your experts simply answering a few key questions about one of those topics, just as they might when speaking to a pet owner. Not only can you create content out of the video itself, but you can also use the transcript as a springboard. Submit the video to a service like Rev.com, then have your in-house marketer revise, edit, and format the transcript into blog form.
Find the Right Partner
A marketing partner, like GeniusVets, can help with blog content creation, too. You can supplement your own articles with content libraries that can be personalized. You may also find prompts and tips to guide the writings of your in-house team. You’ll combine marketing expertise with veterinary expertise to best serve your clients, and your patients by extension. With the right partnership, you’ll find support for blogging, as well as other initiatives to retain your base of bonded clients.
Blogs are a powerful tool to bring your website to the top of search results, which is incredibly important when pet owners turn to Google with so many of their questions. If you can deliver the answers they’re looking for, online and on-demand, you can stay on their minds, even between those routine wellness visits. This means they’ll remember you, and that is the key to bringing them back through your doors for a lifetime of great veterinary care!
Visit our GeniusVets online and on-demand blog library for more veterinary marketing insight, and please reach out if you have questions about how our marketing experts can work with your veterinary experts to grow your practice!