Pets are family members, or perhaps more than that. In fact, numerous studies show that people care more about pets than most other humans. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) reports that 40% of female dog owners indicate that they receive more emotional support from their pet than from their own spouse or children. The Huffington Post reports on another survey which found that 38% of people admitted to loving their dog more than their partner or spouse. Sociological and familial concerns aside, this is very good news for you – a veterinarian.
The demand for your service is unwavering, but the field is very competitive as veterinary clinics are becoming as common as coffee shops in most cities. Referrals are great, but ramping up your online marketing is the only way to ensure a sustainable number clients-patients for years to come. While great content is the cornerstone of any digital marketing campaign, it is more true for your industry than most others. What should your content marketing campaign look like? Let’s find out!
Top 5 Content Marketing Tips for Veterinary Clinics to Get More Clients and Patients Online
1. Create Stories About Your Clinic and Its Patients
Taking and sharing photos/videos of your furry, feathery, and even scaly patients is a great start, but it’s not close to enough in 2020. Content for your industry needs to be more dynamic and engaging to be effective otherwise it will be another entry among the millions hashtags of “dog” (273 million) and “cat” (216 million) found on Instagram every single day. Instead, the photos and videos of your patients need to create stories.
Compassion is the key. If pet owners feel as if your clinic is nothing more than an pet treatment assembly line they will go elsewhere. The last impression that you want to give is that their pets will be dropped off at a facility that resembles an animal version of a hospital’s acute care waiting room.
Publish photos and videos that tell stories about the patients coming into your clinic, complete with their background information. Most owners will be more than happy to contribute old photos and videos of their precious pups, kittens, hamsters, bunnies, and guinea pigs. You can use this content to craft a complete story about how you helped return their beloved family member back home as healthy, happy, and mischievous as ever. If your clinic works with animal charities and foundations such shelters and pet fostering programs then build your stories around these initiatives too.
2. Add the Content to Your Blog
You need a place on your clinic’s website to host the frequently updated photos, videos, and stories that you’ve created. Your blog is the key. It will allow you to introduce and complement the visuals with insightful paragraphs, captions, and ultimately a call to action for clients to connect to your clinic for all of their pets’ medical needs. The content should be search engine optimized and added to your blog at least once per week to keep it fresh in the eyes of visitors and Google alike.
3. Create Posts and Pages Providing Insight Into Procedures
While photos, videos, and stories can be fun, engaging, and can help generate buzz around your clinic, there’s no denying that veterinary work is serious business. Its a highly specialized medical field that comes with a ton of questions. Clients are VERY concerned about the medical procedures that their beloved pets may have to undergo. Misconceptions and risks (no matter how small) associated with a given procedure may be all that’s keeping them from bringing their pets into your clinic in the first place.
For this reason you need to create both static webpages and blog posts about the procedures performed at your clinic. If it’s something that you specialize in then devote a page or enter section on your website discussing this procedure. Detail the benefits, what is involved, how you can prepare your pet for it, and what to expect in the days and weeks after the procedure has been completed. For example, if you perform laparoscopic surgery (a minimally invasive surgery) at your clinic you can build an entire content plan around this. This page (laparoscopic surgery) can serve as a jump-off point for a series of blog articles (posts) discussing how it can be used to perform tumor biopsies and excisions, gastropexy for large breed dogs, spays, intestinal foreign body removals, and so much more.
You will of course be discussing all procedures during in-person consultations at your clinic, but having this content in place will give you additional resources to share with concerned clients. Plus, it can be used for highly targeted PPC, SEO, and email campaigns.
4. Add Your Content to Social Media (and Engage!)
Social media and pet-based content are a match made in heaven. Take the content you’ve created and upload it to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. In addition, share it on your clinic’s Google My Business profile. Its presence on your GMB profile shows current clients (pet owners) that you are active on GMB which may entice them to leave a Google Review. If you don’t have all of these profiles in place for your clinic be sure to set them up immediately.
Since your subject matter is in the clinic every day, you have something to post, every day. While we recommended creating stories above, you can limit these more engaging posts to once per week, while using simpler (but no less adorable!) photos and videos for daily release.
Be prepared to respond to a large number of likes, comments, and shares because the public gobbles up pet-based content like catnip. It’s doesn’t take much (compared to other types of content) for it to go viral, but you do need to be there to stoke the spark that a cute photo of Spot can start.
5. Add Your Content to the Dodo
There is one online community that you must join – the Dodo.
“The Dodo serves up emotionally and visually compelling, highly sharable animal -related stories and videos to help make caring about animals a viral cause.” (Dodo Mission Statement)
The Dodo is the definitive content resource for pet lovers and as such veterinarians from around the world are uploading their content to the Dodo’s YouTube channel. At press, their channel has nearly 7 million subscribers (and counting) and they have user-generated content to thank for their success.
Submit the video stories that you have created for your new content marketing plan and submit them to the Dodo right here. It may take numerous attempts to get your content picked up, but even if you’re videos don’t get shared by this monolith in animal related content being an active subscriber will allow you to see firsthand what top notch content creation (for your industry) looks like.
There’s no denying it – the content campaign detailed above is very time intensive. Your front desk staff can certainly help with taking photos and videos and getting insight into your patients, but tying it all together for effective marketing requires an expert touch. Contact Strategis Consulting Group today to discuss the digital marketing goals for your veterinary clinic.