As a veterinarian with a busy clinic, it's sometimes easy to forget that you're still running a business. That means marketing and advertising are all necessary parts of promoting your business and growing your client base. In this article we'll talk about 5 online methods that you can use to increase your client base, build your referrals and develop critical client relationships on the Internet.
1. Establish an Online Presence.
At a minimum, your business needs some sort of web presence, whether it's your own domain and site or a simple profile page on a veterinarian's directory. You need a web address that you can link to and where customers can go to read client testimonials, research your practice philosophy, find your contact information and learn about your various services.
2. Make Sure People Know About It.
A website's not going to do you any good if people don't know about it. You need to include the web address on all of your marketing materials (business cards, brochures, flyers, client mailers, etc), in the signature of your emails, on a poster in your waiting room and in as many local directories as you can find. You have to get that link out there to get traffic flowing to your site and clients walking through your door.
3. Encourage Your Clients to Review Your Service Online.
Open customer review communities, like Yelp, allow regular people to leave feedback about businesses, good and bad. If you can get a review on one of these sites, it's like the power of word-of-mouth advertising plus the power of online marketing - it's unstoppable. Start by registering your business, including the link to your site, and then encouraging preferred clients to leave you feedback.
4. Join an Online Animal-Lover's Community.
Web forums and message boards are a great way to directly connect with potential customers and get the word out about your veterinary business and its website. For example, let's say a forum user posts a question about their dog's recent digestive problems. Then, you're able to offer a few diagnostic suggestions about diet, exercise or possible allergies. In your response, you include a link to your practice. Afterwards, pet lovers in your area see that dialog, get an understanding of your abilities and personalities, click through to your site, and sign on as patients.
If you're going to market through online communities, look for ones that are focused on your region or specifically on pets. There are several popular sites that offer vibrant web communities along with advertising opportunities.
5. Start Social Networking Now.
Whether it's Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn or Bebo - you need to start social networking. These popular sites allow you to build a profile for your clinic, connect and make “friends" with your clients and, in turn, connect to their networks. It's a great way to advertise your website and really build on word-of-mouth promotions. However, if you're representing your practice, always keep your profile, messages and postings professional, courteous and respectful.
CS Swarens is the president of Find a Pet Online. 800 998-7065
For additional information on dogs, cats, birds, horses, and exotic pets visit the internet's pet resource including pet classifieds at http://www.findapetonline.com
Research over 430 pet breed profiles http://www.findapetonline.com/breeds.html