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Your Veterinary Website Marketing Efforts
Are Not On Vacation This Summer

veterinary marketing Dear Clients and Friends,

Summer is almost here in New Hampshire. The lilacs have bloomed and the lilies are just starting to open up. We're all thinking about vacation and spending as much time as possible with family and friends outdoors.

Your veterinary practice, however, is never on vacation. In fact, the good weather makes it even more difficult to get your clients' attention with veterinary marketing. Summer is not the time to take away from your vet practice's marketing efforts. We have a few suggestions.

In this issue, we discuss Veterinary Reputation Management, Hiring a Mystery Shopper and the Benefits of Direct Mail.

With clients making comments on Facebook, Yelp, Dexknows and Vetratingz, your veterinary hospital's reputation is at stake. You may be surprised to see what clients are saying about your hospital and you should implement a solid veterinary online reputation program.

Hiring a Mystery Shopper can uncover problems in your practice. This is a great way to get an unbiased opinion from the client's perspective on how your practice operates.

And don't forget the Power of Direct Mail. A well-designed, colorful veterinary hospital postcard is informative, eye-catching and motivating. Pet owners will keep it as a handy reference and pass it along to other potential clients.

Think about these suggestions and thank you for subscribing to our newsletter. Enjoy the summer.

—Dr. Mark Feltz, DVM, and the Creative Team at VetNetwork

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Protect Your Veterinary Hospital's Internet Image and Online Reputation

Managing Your Veterinary Hospital's Online Reputation Is Critial

With Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other online platforms surging across the world, there's no question that you have to be connected. This increased connectedness means increased exposure that can greatly enhance, or quite frankly ruin, your veterinary practice’s reputation.

You've been managing your real-time veterinary reputation all along. This internet matter, however, is less familiar. And yet, your Internet reputation carries a tremendous amount of weight.

It's not just your behavior on display via the worldwide web. An employee's conduct during an exam may not matter at all, for instance, if a client has seen a photo of this person half-naked, partying with friends on Facebook. As a matter of fact, that photo may be the only thing your client ever remembers about the employee at hand. Although you've heard it before, this bears repeating: Facebook pages should be private if you don't want clients peeking into your social life. Likewise with other platforms.

When a "friend" may be someone you encountered once on a trip; a person from 20 years back whose name you barely remember; or someone you've never even met, what really is at stake?

Critical to understanding connectedness and its impact on your online reputation is the notion that your "friends" also have "friends." Who are these fast-accumulating friends? Potential clients and business associates, of course.

Do you see how your network expands to areas of life that you never imagined?

There is an upside to this increased exposure: It creates opportunities. If well-managed, your Internet presence can be used to create, even leverage, your veterinary hospital's online reputation.

The internet world revolves around Google. That's where the vast majority of people begin research. Need to find a local veterinary surgeon? Google it. Need a veterinary hospital that offers chemotherapy? Google it. Want to know symptoms of canine flu? Google it.

You get the picture. "Googling" has become a verb of its own and you should be getting everything you can from this powerful search engine. Whether you own a large veterinary referral hospital or own a small local clinic, you want your practice ranked high on Google.

You should use Google to stay aware of what is being said about you on the internet, too. Google your practice's, name to understand your online veterinary reputation. See what people are saying on Yelp, Dexknows, and other message boards. Reading these comments may make you anxious, but there are steps you can take to mitigate negativity and repair a damaged veterinary online reputation.

A negative image can define your professional narrative and last for a very long time. If your internet image is less than spotless, clients may search elsewhere for veterinary services.

That's what you don't want. And that's where VetNetwork comes in. VetNetwork has the online reputation management staff, tools and experience to manage your online image and reputation, and for less money that you may think.

You wouldn't hang a sign on your door directing clients to your competition. With a call to VetNetwork, you can also ensure that you're not making an equally detrimental statement on the worldwide web.

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A Mystery Shopper Can Provide Valuable Insight Into Your Veterinary Practice's Reputation

One of the most effective ways to assess the overall performance of your veterinary practice is to sit yourself down in the client's chair and find out what their experience is like. Hiring a mystery shopper is a tried and true method of finding out what is working, and what is not, in your veterinary practice. A mystery shopper can provide you with an objective point of view and offer results that you can immediately take action on.

A mystery shopper is also not just designed to find where things can be improved. The experience can be used to highlight where you and your employees are performing well – or even exceeding customer expectations. The results can be an effective morale builder.

According to statistics published by the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA), millions of mystery shops occur every year to:

  1. Gain customer insight. Get direct, unbiased information from the customer's point of view. What is the experience like from the moment the client and pet steps into your hospital to the minute they leave? Is the treatment explained well? Do you understand homecare instructions? Is there appropriate client follow-through?
  2. Assess the small details. Service, as you know, is more than simply providing high quality veterinary care. It's also based on how well you and your staff members interact with clients, and the level of politeness and empathy you show to your clients and their pets.
  3. Assess sales. You probably offer more than medical care. You may have an in-house shop that sells pet foods, toys and products for at-home care. This is an essential part of your revenue stream. If there is a flaw in your selling process, all the marketing in the world cannot compensate for lost sales opportunities. Mystery shoppers can provide you with a performance audit that can highlight any challenges you may have in your sales chain.
  4. Assess your hospital's response time. Secret shoppers can phone your practice to determine how timely your service is. If customers are frequently left waiting on the telephone, this can obviously affect your bottom-line. If you provide emergency care, the report can detail how well your response time is as well as your quality of care.
  5. Assess your customer service flow and practice layout. An experienced mystery shopper can evaluate less tangible areas, such as the comfort of your waiting room, cleanliness, or how well your products are displayed.

The process is simple. Contact a third-party company that provides mystery shopping services, including for veterinary hospitals. Costs can vary depending on the number of visits the service recommends, the level of detail you require, and other factors. You provide the service information on what data you wish to monitor and they will assign one or more mystery veterinary clients. After the visits are completed, the final report card should present valid, actionable results.

The unbiased results allow you to make needed adjustments – or to praise any performance – relevant to every facet of the health care services your clients receive. You can also schedule follow-up visits to see whether any changes you have implemented are achieving the desired results.

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Veterinary Direct Mail Can Be A Source Of Profit for your Practice – But You Have To Do It Right

Sending out a direct mail piece should be a part of any veterinary marketing plan. A well-crafted mailer can easily translate into additional profits. A veterinary postcard or direct mail piece is an ideal marketing tool for any veterinary practice, thanks to its relatively low cost. And because you know how many mailers you have sent out, and to whom, you can assess its results immediately and accurately.

Don't view e-mail and direct mail as separate marketing opportunities. Integrate them – it takes a lot to get someone's attention these days and even more to get potential clients to act. One email, or one veterinary marketing piece alone, isn't going to get the result you want.

Combining print and internet-based veterinary marketing (email newsletter) will raise your profile and enhance your stature. Many companies today are communicating with their clients first by direct mail, then following up a week or two later by email.

Of course, the success of any veterinary direct mail marketing campaign for your veterinary hospital depends on delivering the right message at the right time to the right person in the right way. The primary reason why a direct mail campaign doesn't work is that the piece is not well-designed. The image isn't right, or there is too much copy that confuses the customer, or the message is unclear.

In today's fast-paced world, it's more challenging than ever to make an impact on potential customers. Getting your message across quickly is critical. Think of a billboard along a highway: you've got 3-5 seconds to process the information. Communicating to customers is no different. You literally have just seconds to make a favorable first impression.

Direct mail marketing is a discipline that requires expertise in many areas to achieve success. The creative vet marketing team at VetNetwork understands how to reach your target audience. We have the skills to develop the appropriate message to motivate existing and prospective clients.

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Cartoon Corner

Veterinary Practice enewsletter - Off The Mark Cartoon

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Contact Us

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VetNetwork is a veterinary marketing and design company exclusively for the veterinary industry. Our services and products are guaranteed to increase your profits and attract new clients.


Sincerely yours,

Mark Feltz, DVM and the Staff at VetNetwork


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