Welcome to VetNetwork's Monthly eNewsletter


November, 2014

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

veterinary marketing newsLaying the Groundwork
for a Strong Future

Friends and colleagues,

As the leaves change color, many of us turn our thoughts to the end of the year, the holidays, and in many parts of the country, the coming colder weather. In this quarter's veterinary marketing newsletter we invite you to look ahead even further, and think about how to keep your veterinary hospital strong for the next five years, the next 10 years, and beyond — and how VetNetwork can help.

We begin with Reaching Millennial Pet Owners: Yelp Reviews Make Their Tails Wag, an article considering the generation born between 1980 and 2000. This group of 80 million is the biggest generation in American history, and will eventually make up your largest target client group. As a veterinary hospital owner, it's vital you understand who they are, what they want, and how they decide where to spend their money. To that end, we've also included Your Veterinary Hospital Brand Matters More Than Ever, which explores how to make your practice the only real choice for all local pet owners.

Knowing your target clients is a fundamental part of any successful marketing strategy. Since millennials (more than any other demographic group that preceded them) expect your veterinary practice to cater directly to their personal needs, conducting your own data collection is also something you should understand. We provide you with a helpful introduction in Everything You Need to Know (But Haven't Asked).

Our New Website Spotlight showcases our custom websites for North Paws Veterinary Clinic and Aloro Pet Clinic. Finally, don't forget to read about our special offer and our new Customer Account Executive, Jen Henry.

Thank you for taking the time to read VetNetwork's quarterly newsletter. Offering valuable veterinary marketing information to help you make the best decisions and grow your practice is our only goal, each and every day. If you have questions, please feel free to contact me directly at 603-743-4321.

In the meantime, enjoy the rest of 2014 and think about making 2015 even better!

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

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Chris SinkMillennial Pet Owners:
Yelp Reviews Make Their Tails Wag

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!

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veterinary marketing newsEverything You Want to Know
(But Haven't Asked)

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:

  • Why are pet owners coming to your practice?
  • What services are people using most often?
  • Are you upselling other services, such as nail trims, anal expression and baths during wellness visits?
  • What pet care products are your clients buying?
  • Are they purchasing their parasite preventives, pet food and treats and medications from your practice? If not, why not?
  • Which pet owners are bringing their dogs or cats in for regular dental cleanings and check-ups? Who is not? And if not, why not?
  • Is there a desire for services you may not offer, like laser therapy, acupuncture, house calls and comprehensive euthanasia, burial and funeral services?

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.

  • Comment cards are a simple, effective way for pet owners to provide feedback about your practice and let you know what's important to them. Ask pet owners to take a few minutes to fill out the cards either before or after their appointment. Define your objectives and include only relevant questions. Keep the survey brief and use mainly multiple choice questions.
  • Email surveys are a great way to follow up with pet owners after their appointment. Like comment cards, surveys define a specific topic and focus on questions that will help you make more informed decisions. Send the email in he evening, when pet owners are more likely to have the time to respond.
  • A contest is also a good way to learn more about pet owners. Include demographic and brief survey questions as a part of your contest registration.

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:

  • Demographic/Personal Info. What is their gender, age, hobbies and income range? What type of pet(s) do they have?
  • Relationship history. How long have they been coming to your practice? How often do they come in? What type of appointment do they make (wellness, illness, grooming, etc.)?
  • Service feedback. How satisfactory is their experience? What do they like? What do they not like? Are there services would they like to see added?
  • Purchase habits. What pet products do they buy regularly? Do they purchase products at your hospital? Which ones and how often? If they don’t, why?
  • Engagement. How are pet owners interacting with your veterinary practice? Have they liked your Facebook page? Do they visit your website or mobile site? Do they read your email newsletters? Do they find the information you provide useful? What are their primary pet care concerns?
  • Pet and Client Birthdays. Sending out a birthday text or card can add a personal touch and make a pet owner feel valued.

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.

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veterinary marketing, data collectionYour Veterinary Hospital Brand Matters More Than Ever

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:

  • seek personal connections and relationships
  • value authenticity and transparency
  • trust recommendations from friends
  • expect messages to speak directly to them
  • see their purchasing choices as a form of self-expression (What does this say about me?)
  • like brands that have social purpose to which they can relate

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:

  • Why should these younger pet owners choose you over the other nearby veterinary hospital? Are you making this message loud and clear?
  • What's the first thing you want them to think when they hear the name of your veterinary hospital? Are you doing all you can to make this as positive as possible?

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.

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New Veterinary Website Spotlight

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.

veterinary marketing, vet websites

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

veterinary website design

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custom veterinary websiteAnd Now A Special Offer for You…

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.

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VetNetwork Services

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!


Sincerely yours,

Mark Feltz, DVM and the Staff at VetNetwork
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