Millennial Pet Owners | Everything You Want to Know (But Haven't Asked) | Your Veterinary Hospital Brand Matters More Than Ever | New Website Spotlight | Don't Miss This! | Contact
Laying the Groundwork
According to a study by Wakefield Research, the millennial generation — those born between 1980 and 2000 — is set to have more spending power than Baby Boomers by 2018. One statistic from Appfolio, a property management company, suggests that over 76% of millennials are pet owners.
As a millennial and a pet owner, I can't speak for all my peers, but I can offer anecdotes of my own.
Millennials: The First Digital Natives
It's often said millennials don't remember life without the Internet. While that isn't strictly true for me, Google is my first stop when I need information, and especially when I need information about my cat. However, not all sources of information on the Internet are worthwhile or trustworthy. In an article from the Columbia College Marketing Division, researchers found millennials look to friends and experts to recommend brands, products and services. In this case the word expert doesn't necessarily mean someone with professional or academic credentials, but rather someone with first-hand experience.
Once I had Googled my sick cat's symptoms and established she needed to go to the vet, I turned to a variety of sources to figure out which area veterinarian would be the best choice. First, I turned to my peers in the form of a question on Facebook. But responses were mixed, and I needed to make an appointment quickly.
Making The Call With Yelp
My next stop was the business review site Yelp. I don't completely trust Yelp's algorithm for finding fraudulent reviews, nor do I take every word written by users as gospel, but the website is one of the only sources for reviews of veterinary practices in my area. One veterinary hospital had multiple reviews that said the veterinarian seemed impatient with their questions. This was a red flag for me — as a newer pet owner, I knew I'd have some questions to ask.
I ended up choosing a practice with more favorable reviews, and was happy with my experience. The staff was friendly and the veterinarian explained how my cat was diagnosed and how her sickness would be treated. I had peace of mind, and my cat fully recovered after a few days of medication. I plan on bringing my cat back to the practice when she’s due for her annual exam in a few months.
My cat might have received excellent care at the veterinary hospital I decided against, but I wasn't willing to take a risk. Besides, with the second veterinary hospital’s stellar reviews, the choice was easy.
Online Reputation Management For Veterinarians
The idea that pet owners, especially those from my generation, can be influenced by reviews written by people on a website that has no direct connection to your veterinary practice is frustrating for many hospital owners. There are ways, however, that you can help shape the online conversation about your veterinary hospital.
One way is through working with a company that offers veterinary online reputation management. Reputation management experts monitor review and social media websites and track mentions of your company. They can ensure positive reviews get the most attention, and mitigate the impact of negative reviews.
VetNetwork's reputation management services are specially designed for veterinary practices. Our veterinary reputation management experts know where pet owners go to sound off about their experiences at veterinary hospitals, and we know how to lessen the impact of negative reviews and solicit genuine positive experiences from pet owners. We also know how to monitor these websites to make sure every review is spotted quickly. That way, fraudulent reviews can be found before they become part of your veterinary hospital's narrative.
If you want to continue to attract millennials as the group's spending power increases, veterinary reputation management is a must for your veterinary practice. Contact VetNetwork today to learn more!
Like other small businesses, your veterinary practice depends on delivering services and products that pet owners want and building the loyalty that keeps them coming back again and again, year after year. There is significant anecdotal evidence that small businesses can benefit from collecting consumer data and using it to make smart decisions that grow revenue.
Along with basic demographic information, veterinary marketing data will help you answer valuable questions like:
So let's talk about how you can collect data on your clients in a way that is simple, effective and makes sense for your practice.
Ways to Get Pet Owners to Talk
Three useful consumer data collection methods that can work well for your veterinary hospital practice are comment cards, email surveys and contests.
Remember to Give Pet Owners a Reason to Want to Help You. Offer them an incentive like a treat for their pet or a small coupon. Also be sure to tell pet owners you’re soliciting this information to improve their experience and serve them and their pets better.
There May Be No Dumb Questions…
…But there are questions that won't yield information that's helpful to you. With that in mind, here are suggestions for developing an understanding of pet owners that can be beneficial to your practice:
The bottom line is veterinary hospitals of any size can develop a thorough understanding of their clients without significant complication or expense. The better and more detailed picture you have of pet owners in your area, the more you can tailor and develop products to please them and the more effective your marketing and advertising strategy will be. Soliciting feedback will also remind your clients you're continually working hard to best meet their needs, creating invaluable loyalty to your practice.
Differentiating your veterinary hospital in today's market based on services and prices is not enough. Your clients — especially the younger ones — expect more. Millennials comprise about 80 million men and women born between 1980 and 2000. They are the largest generation in American history and they are different from their predecessors in important ways.
The bottom line for your practice? Attracting their business may require you to re-think your veterinary branding strategy.
According to Tam Powell's article, Millennials: How They Make Decisions, "Brands that fail to acknowledge, understand and embrace the needs and characteristics of this generation... will have a difficult time developing and marketing appealing products/services to this group of tomorrow's big spenders."
So what do we know about millennials? They:
It's likely that you already see pet owners who are among this cohort, but they probably don't comprise the bulk of your clients. However, in 10 years, when they're all between 26 and 44 years old, they will be the large, influential core of your target market.
Defining Your Veterinary Brand Now and For the Future
Successful veterinary branding captures your veterinary practice's values and elicits the vital emotional response that makes pet owners choose your practice over your competition. Ask yourself:
If you can't answer these questions or the answer is no, potential clients feel the same way.
Begin thinking about how to properly brand your practice by compiling a list of features that make your practice unique, and then develop a mission statement or vision. From your mission statement or vision, create a short phrase about the benefits your veterinary practice provides, not the services. Too many veterinary hospitals focus only on selling their services. You need to stand out: be sure millennials know how your hospital makes their lives and their pets' lives better.
Meaningful Connections Mean More
As you complete this exercise, remember to keep in mind the things millennials find appealing. Be personal and authentic in your approach and align your practice with the values they hold in high esteem. Positioning your practice to build a connection with millennial pet owners will keep your business flourishing now and for years to come. Call the experts at VetNetwork today to find out how we can help you define your brand and create a veterinary marketing strategy that makes you stand out from the crowd.
Aloro Pet Clinic: Clean, Modern and Custom
Aloro Pet Clinic's new veterinary website is an excellent example of how bold color choices and a clean layout can create a contemporary tone while conveying warmth and kindness. The clinic, which has been in business since the 1950s, wanted to stay connected to its long history of serving the Valley Village, CA community while simultaneously emphasizing its commitment to cutting-edge veterinary medicine. Their new custom veterinary website successfully accomplishes those goals.
North Paws Veterinary Clinic: Sending the Right Message
North Paws Veterinary Clinic's new veterinary hospital website showcases a practice that invests as much time, thought and effort into its online presence as it does into the care and attention it provides clients and patients. With a design that combines whimsical and modern elements, North Paws' new website reflects the the warmth and compassion that shape their client/patient relationships, as well as the advanced, state-of-the-art veterinary medicine they deliver every day.
"We had a wonderful experience with VetNetwork and I couldn't believe what a great job they did on our website! They captured my vision of the feel and look that I wanted almost exactly! I would recommend them to any veterinarian looking for a great website." – Dr. Coral Riggs, Owner
Sign up for a new custom veterinary website by November 30, 2014, and receive your first three months of web maintenance for free — a $375 value! To find out more please contact Jen Henry, who joined VetNetwork in February 2014 as our new Customer Account Executive. Both warm and charismatic, Jen is here to answer all your questions and make sure your needs are met fully by our professional design and editorial teams.
Jen lives in Rollinsford, NH with her partner Michael, a geophysicist, actor and joint caregiver of their two pets: a dog, Jaxson, and a cat, Lil' Bean. When not at work, Jen directs and stars in numerous theatrical productions in the NH Seacoast area and enjoys playing a mean game of paintball.
VetNetwork is a full-service veterinary marketing company dedicated to the needs of veterinary hospitals. Our professional graphic designers and writers are here to help take your practice to the next level. If it's time to re-design your website, or add a mobile site or get Page 1 results with our proven veterinary SEO services, give us a call today!
Mark Feltz, DVM and the Staff at VetNetwork
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