CarolHartYour website might provide the first impression of your practice for many new clients, and you want that to be a very favorable one.  If your website just features a picture of your practice facility, posts your hours and provides your phone number, it isn’t doing enough for you.  First and foremost, you want your website to emphasize your mission for the practice and the all-important human-animal bond.  Clients are much less interested in seeing a picture of the outside of your practice facility than they are in learning who you are and what your practice is about.  They aren’t coming to see your building—they’re coming to see you!

Your homepage should feature imagery that emphasizes the bond clients have with their pets.  They want to know their pet will have a great experience at your practice.  The “About Us” section is the most visited area on a veterinary practice website.  Are the bios of you and your team members incomplete, or are they dry and boring?  Sure, clients want to know your professional background and experience, but more than anything they want to know you and your staff will love and care for their pets.  Start your bio with a discussion of why you became a veterinarian in the first place.  You and your team members all should be pictured with your pets.  Create a mission statement for your practice and feature it prominently on your homepage.  You then can flesh out the remainder of your website with a description of the services you offer, a virtual practice tour featuring happy pets in your exam room, and treatment areas and other information which sets your practice apart from the competition.

Now, let’s take a look at your Facebook page.  First, do you have one?  Many practices have found using Facebook as a marketing tool has increased their new client numbers by 10% or more.  If you have a page, are your posts current?  Do the posts provide information that is interesting, entertaining and keeps clients informed about how to manage common problems and concerns with their pets?  Keep your Facebook posts current by adding content to the page at least three times a week.  Make sure you have a responsible party managing your posts and insuring they are appropriate.  Keep clients coming back to the page with amusing or touching stories garnered from recent events in your practice.

Take a look at the e-newsletter, Animal Health SmartBrief , sponsored by the AVMA.  This publication has terrific stories you can post right to your Facebook page and can be a real time saver.  Engage your clients by posting questions about pet care and responding to their comments.  Your clients will love having their pets featured on your Facebook page, but be sure to get their written permission to share photos and stories first.  When appropriate, be sure either you or your team members are getting clients to “Like” the practice on Facebook.  The more hits to your page and the more followers the better.  Finally, use the Facebook page to comment on the pages of other groups or businesses you support.  For example, when you comment on posts found on the Facebook page of a pet rescue group with which you work, visitors to the page will be linked back to your Facebook page.

Don’t forget to use Google or other search engines to check your online presence.  What do you see when you search for your practice?  Do you have a listing on services such as “Yelp”?  If you don’t, claim one.  Carefully review the descriptions of your practice on such common online sites, and be certain you like what you see.  Is the contact information correct?  Are your hours properly listed?  Does the site properly describe the services you offer?  What is pictured?  Again, if the listing just has an image of your practice facility, will that be enough to get folks to come in to see you rather than one of the other practices in your community?  Make sure potential new clients see imagery focused on the human-animal bond and believe their pets will have a great visit to your practice.

If you have specific questions regarding the issues discussed in this blog, please don’t hesitate to contact me here at Live Oak Bank.