The secret to success with any marketing is to keep going. You must try lots of different methods to gauge which get the best response from your market AND keep using them.
When your practice reaches the magic 20% subscriber mark, it’s vital that you set new goals and reinvigorate your team to get more pets signed up. You could also reinvigorate your marketing by using different strategies.
So, what type of marketing could you be doing? In addition to having a great website and social media presence, here’s a few ideas that other successful practices have looked at in the past to promote their plan:
Encourage word-of-mouth recommendations from other clients
These recommendations will also carry a great deal of weight as far as your clients are concerned. This is known as social proof, in which people will adopt the opinions and behaviour of people they trust in the belief they’re conforming to the correct behaviour.
It explains why the most meaningful type of advertising is recommendations from family members or friends. A survey of consumers in 60 countries by global market research firm Nielsen found that 83% of consumers said they trust such recommendations over any other type of advertising.
So, if clients tell you how much they love your new wellness plan, ask them to tell their friends about it too.
Send direct mail
Direct mail allows you to communicate one-on-one with your existing and prospective clients, to control who receives your message, when it’s delivered and how many people you reach.
It’s a proven way of making sales and a letter is one of the simplest and most effective direct-mail tools available, but postcards are easy and cheap to print and post. Besides, they don’t need to be opened or unfolded. People can see the message the moment they pick it up.
Let the local press know
Contact your local community newspaper and tell them you’ve found a way to help make vet fees more affordable. Offer to send them a press release that contains the relevant details.
Your email or press release needs to be well-written and include all the relevant facts and contact details. Often, journalists are not interested in commercial stories. Here’s a clever way to hook them in. Invite a journalist to spend a morning at the practice seeing behind the scenes. Ordinary people don’t normally get to see surgery and the work that happens outside of the consulting room.
This could turn into a long in-depth article about life as a vet. Just make sure you keep telling the journalist how clients on the health plan get the best value.
Send emails about your health plan
If you have the email addresses of your clients and GDPR-compliant permission to send them emails, let them know about your new wellness plan and its benefits in a series of emails. Write all your emails as if you’re talking to one person. Instead of using words like ‘them’ and ‘theirs’, use words like ‘you’ and ‘yours’.
Aim to come across as a trusted adviser, not somebody who is simply trying to get people to take their wallet out of their pocket.
Your subject line should grab your audience’s attention. The first sentence should be so enticing people can’t help but read on. Do encourage your subscribers to take action by including what’s known as a ‘Call to Action’ (CTA) in the email. Tell your readers exactly what steps you want them to take. Let them know in a compelling, benefits-oriented way why it’s in their best interest to act immediately.
Include details on appointment cards
Reprint your appointment cards to include a tagline about your wellness plans. For example, ‘Save X% on Regular Check-ups with Our Wellness Plan’.
Let non-subscribers know what they’re missing
Every receipt or invoice for non-subscribers should include information on how much they would have saved on their regular check-up had they been part of the wellness pet plan. For example, ‘You could have saved X% on this appointment if you’d subscribed to our Pet Wellness Plan! Find out now how you can save X% next time and in the next 12 months. Call us back on [telephone] or visit our website [website address].’
Consider starting a Facebook group
Facebook made some major algorithm changes in 2018 that significantly reduced traffic to Pages. It’s why many vets have started their own Facebook group. Basing it round access to a vet online – such as calling it Ask a <town> vet – is a more powerful strategy than basing it round the practice. Because you will attract local pet owners who are already clients of rival vets.
This does carry the risk that some pet owners post urgent clinical questions in the group. But so long as you set their expectations correctly, and constantly refer people to take their animal to a vet, the Facebook group can become a highly valuable marketing tool.
One UK vet has set up a local group which now has 3,000 members. The majority are not his clients. He gets about 5 new posts from members each day, and it has doubled the new client sign ups to his practice.