Your online presence is the cornerstone of your veterinary practice’s digital marketing success. You may have a beautiful website and a smart social marketing strategy, but if what’s being said about you – both as an individual practitioner and as a practice is less than fantastic, it’s likely that you will have trouble getting tails through the door.
The reality is, though, that eventually you’re bound to get a less-than-ideal review. It happens to everyone, eventually; and the best thing you can do is prepare for that day to come so you can handle it with tact and grace.
But what else can you do to manage your veterinary practice’s online reputation? Our collaborative webinar series with MWI has the answers you are looking for.
MWI - How to Manage Your Online Reputation - YouTube
Finding a marketing partner who understands that there is more to digital marketing than a Facebook page and a simple website is key. More important still? Finding an agency that has a proven track record of bringing tails in the door, and the results to prove it.
But what are “good results” in veterinary marketing? How do you know if what you’re being shown is actually impressive, or just sounds impressive because you’re not entirely sure you understand what you’re being told?
At Beyond Indigo, we understand that a degree in veterinary medicine rarely comes with built-in expertise in marketing – especially digital marketing. Because of this, we believe that educating clients (both current and prospective) on the ins and outs of their marketing results is both a responsibility and a cornerstone of gold-standard service.
To this end, Beyond Indigo’s CEO, Kelly Baltzell, recently published Measuring Results: Google AdWords, in the MWI Messenger. Her article offers an accessible overview of click-throughs and conversions, as well as how to assess your overall ROI in the AdWords platform.
You know you need help with your marketing, but how do you go about finding the right agency for your practice? Many veterinarians feel at a loss when trying to decide how to get marketing help, and fall back on the great equalizer of price. But the lowest cost is not always the most effective option, and may even cost you more in the long run.
With convention season upon us, you’ll probably see more than your share of advertising for all kinds of marketing services. How do you sort it all out?
To start, keep these 6 tips in mind…
1. Choose a reliable agency that has experience with veterinary businesses like yours.
Marketing is a long-term partnership, so it pays to find someone who understands the issues you face, your goals, your budget and most importantly, with the experience to know what works for your kind of business.
You shouldn’t need to spend your time or your money teaching an agency your market. Because we work with veterinary practices, we’ve got a treasure trove of strategies that we can bring to the table, which have been proven to work will all types of veterinary practices. Ask any prospective agency to show you details of successful campaigns in your market so you can assess whether they might be a good fit for you.
2. Choose people you want to work with.
Digital marketing involves constant communication, so pick people you feel comfortable communicating with; people who listen to what you want to accomplish for your business and provide their best guidance for getting you there. Are they asking you questions about your business and your customers, or do they tell you what you’re going to get? Are they helping you to hone in on the services you want to highlight or do they only provide automated posting and ads?
A good partner listens as much as they talk, so make sure your marketing partner is listening to you.
3. Find someone who plans for results.
Sometimes your goals and budget don’t match up; a good agency will be honest with you about what you need to accomplish your goals, and give you alternatives that fit your budget.
4. Make sure they measure what’s important.
Planning for results means measuring progress as you go and focusing on the metrics that matter. If you are looking for new customers, for example, you should be tracking clicks to your page, appointments, and/or new client forms. If you’re looking to build ambassadors for your brand, you’ll want to be looking at social media engagement.
Digital marketing platforms specialize in measuring interactions – it’s just a matter of knowing which ones to focus on. Not every interaction is measurable, but your agency should always be looking for ways to help you find the ROI in your marketing activities.
5. Look for someone who brings a toolbox, not a tool.
The old saying, “When all you have is a hammer, every problem is a nail” certainly applies here. In today’s competitive market, you’ll need to stay flexible and focused to reach your marketing goals. Sometimes, that means switching advertising methods.
For example, a veterinary association we are working with originally came to us for help with search ads through Google AdWords to raise the profile of their organization. As we honed in on their goals, however, it became apparent that given the specific audience they wanted to reach, Facebook ads would be more effective. So we adjusted their marketing to buy Facebook Ads targeted specifically to the smaller audience in their area.
Having the flexibility to make changes quickly can be the difference between new customers and wasted marketing dollars.
6. Finally, they should provide you with meaningful, timely, and transparent reporting.
This your business and your budget, and you deserve to completely understand how your marketing money is being spent. You should get regular reports – at least monthly – that clearly show you how your marketing money has been spent, and what results it brought. If you don’t understand the numbers, or are unclear about what they mean, by all means ask. It’s your marketer’s job to help you understand the reports they send you.
Finding the right marketing partner takes a bit of thought and research, but can pay off in the long run with great results for your business. If you carefully consider your options and ask the right questions, you’ll be able to find the right fit for your marketing.
New year, new resolutions! Much like we do with ourselves, it’s critical to stop and assess the health of your digital marketing. Analyzing data and results on a regular basis will help you keep the finger on the pulse of your company’s success; more so, it’ll allow you to quickly identify opportunities to adjust your strategy and continue on a path towards success.
Establish a Baseline of Health
As with our health, establishing a baseline is the first step in understanding the health of your marketing campaigns. What is “normal?” What is an average month like?
To start, think about what a “healthy” business means to you. Does this mean more appointments on the books? More calls made to the clinic? Here at Beyond Indigo, one metric we like to keep track of is new clients (if you’ve ever heard our CEO, Kelly Baltzell, speak, you’ve likely heard her talking about bringing tails through the door!).
No matter the area, start keeping track today; the idea is to be able to collect enough data to be able to make a comparison to a similar timeframe. This can be month vs. month, quarter vs. quarter, or year vs. year; this will give you a better idea of what “healthy” is for your business. Starting with something as simple as 2017’s average monthly number of (insert area of focus here – appointments, new clients, calls to the clinic, etc.) is just fine here. Keep in mind, given high and low seasons in the veterinary industry, quarterly averages may give you a more meaningful comparison when looking at it against 2018 in real time.
If you or your marketing company aren’t already, Google’s free tools such as Google Analytics and Google My Business are excellent tools to bring in supplemental information about users visiting your website, submitting forms, and making phone calls to your clinic. Not only are they useful, they’re free, and they’ll keep track of the data for you to be able to make these temporal comparisons.
Set Goals and Track Results
Now that you’ve established a baseline, it’s time to start analyzing! You have an idea of what an average month looks like – given the tools in your marketing toolbox, what might be a stretch goal to set for the month? The quarter? The year?
Make sure to set attainable goals and track your progress towards them using real time data. Analyzing this data regularly means that you’re able to quickly identify a strategy that isn’t working the way you’d like for it to, and adjust to get things back on track. Likewise, keeping an eye on this data means that you’re able to easily see which strategies are working and bringing in results.
What Are Results?
At Beyond Indigo, we define results as quantitative data that can be directly connected back to your bottom line. For example, if you see 150 potential new clients visiting your site in a month, connect this back to your Average Transaction Charge to determine how much potential revenue this amounted to; this effectively allows you to assign a value to certain marketing strategies to assess which are healthy additions to your marketing toolbox, positively impacting your ROI, and which aren’t cutting it.
Comparing these results to your baseline also allows you to measure growth. Good results improve your bottom line and move you towards achieving your goals. However, be sure to keep exceptions in mind; things like weather and special events that impact your hospital will also show up in data. Outliers can occur, but having the big picture available to review will keep things in perspective.
With 2017 officially on the books, many of us are setting intentions for the year to come. The ceremonial changing of the calendar offers us an opportunity to reflect on the results and revelations of the past year and to use that insight in planning for the year ahead.
In Beyond Indigo’s blogging department those reflections and results manifest as Top 10 lists – both for the company and for those clients who subscribe to our blogging service. Compiling these lists is an interesting task. Not only can I see the readership and growth rates for our blogs, but I can also see which topics resonated with our readers (and which ones didn’t) and use that information to shape the editorial calendar in the months to come. Talk about real results in action.
This year, Beyond Indigo’s company blog (the one you’re reading right now) saw a 98% growth rate in readership and accounted for approximately 30% of our website’s total traffic. So what posts drew you in and kept you coming back for more…?
Pragmatic Pitfalls: 3 Temptations to Avoid in Veterinary SocialMedia
Social Media has changed how we interact with – and attract – our clientele. While the instant interaction of social media can be an effective way to connect with your clients, it can also turn a seemingly innocent post or comment into an internet firestorm if the wrong person gets on the digital loudspeaker. Read More…
Summertime Marketing Ideas for Your Veterinary Practice
The sun is out, the kids are (almost) on vacation, and people are enjoying the warmer temperatures. Not only are people ready to enjoy summer, but their pets are too. Bring the fun into your business with these summertime marketing ideas for your veterinary practice… Read More!
Top 5 Google AdWords Trends for 2017
With billions of searches performed on Google every month, it really doesn’t make sense for advertisers to ignore the search engine giant and the power it wields in the marketplace. Fortunately, Google offers up a variety of advertising options for businesses looking to reach potential customers, and in 2017, it should only continue to refine those options, as well as add more. Read On!
“Near Me” Searches and How to Rank on Google A year ago, Google location searches exploded – “closest,” “nearby,” and “near me” searches were performed 35 more times than they did in 2011. People demand instant, accurate, and helpful information on Google. Because of this, it likely comes as no surprise that Google has had to make many complex updates to its algorithm to keep up. Gone are the days of “cookie-cutter” search results. Google now strives to deliver the most customized, local search results possible. A Brooklyn pet owner, for example, searching for “veterinarians nearby” will get totally different results than a pet owner in the Bronx searching the same keyword phrase – all thanks to Google’s local-search result algorithms. Read More…
If you have questions about blogging and how it can benefit your online veterinary marketing, please let us know. We’re always happy to discuss how consistently infusing your website with compelling content can support both your SEO and social marketing strategies.
You don’t have to be a Seinfeld fan to celebrate feline Festivus. A made-up holiday celebrated on December 23, Festivus has three main components: the pole, the airing of grievances (only during/after a tasty, meaty meal), and feats of strength. What’s not to love for a curious, clever cat?
Whatever ways you choose to celebrate, your cat probably wants a front row seat and we’ve got the best ways you can make the most out of this grand event.
A Festivus for the Rest of Us!
While your cat may miss a real holiday tree, a Festivus pole can still become a point of interest for them (even without dangerous tinsel or breakable ornaments). There’s no rule against dressing up the pole with sisal or other thick-fibered rope, so you could turn it into Fluffy’s new scratching post. Just be sure to anchor it to the floor, ceiling, or wall to reduce the risk of it tipping over onto your festive feline!
Don’t Forget to Eat
Savory meatloaf sliced perfectly and placed on a bed of lettuce is the show’s answer to the Festivus meal. Chances are, your cat would like some version of that. Check out this delicious feline Festivus meatloaf recipe or create one of your own that’s customized to your cat’s fine tastes. Just keep in mind that there are some risky foods for your cat to eat, and plan the meal accordingly.
Of all the pets we know and love, cats seem the most likely to have a list of ways they were disappointed in the previous year. It could have to do with less outdoor time, fewer treats, frayed toys, or perhaps they just wanted more time with you. Even though your cat cannot easily communicate these grievances, allot for additional snuggling this season and increase play time.
Pinned to the Floor?
In the Seinfeld episode where the gang is introduced to the idea of Festivus, they learn the head of the household must be pinned down to the floor during the segment “Feats of Strength.” We’ve already discussed amping up your cat’s exercise and enrichment activities; perhaps this part of feline Festivus encourages your cat to sit on top of you while you give them the pets and scratches they so deserve.
The holidays are a strange mix of emotions and expectations aren’t they? People hope for the best, want to be surprised with the unexpected, focus on the positive, and try to bring out the best in themselves and others.
Marketing is much the same way; but in the past people have tended to focus on the negative aspects of marketing, instead of the positive. Most folks generally perceive marketing as a black hole, assume the worst, and just wish the whole darn thing would go away. But gone are the days of the YellowPages ad, when all you had to do was write a check once a year and decide which size ad you were going to buy.
In 2017, Beyond Indigo aimed to deliver the unexpected, with greater returns and more tails through the door then anticipated. And, just like Santa, we have delivered a few surprises this holiday season – namely the gift of increased business, all wrapped up with a bow on top.
Beyond Indigo’s Individual Client Results
While it is our goal to deliver top-notch results for all of our clients, a few of our results knocked the ball out of the proverbial park. Here are a few examples that we take pride in.
Through careful targeting and ad management, our SEO team helped Parktown Veterinary Clinic’s AdWords conversions rise by a whopping 345.52%, creating a potential revenue of $75,150 in 2017. At the same time, we decreased their cost per conversion by 73.12%, saving $34.72 per conversion.
For Eastside Veterinary Associates, Google’s My Business reports that, since beginning SEO services with Beyond Indigo, 82% of people have found their business when searching for ”veterinarians” – which is up from the mere 16% they had prior to starting services with us. This means that, out of every one hundred people searching for “veterinarians,” 66 more people saw their business than before.
After the first month that we optimized their device and location targeting, Poulsbo Animal Clinic experienced a 300% increase in conversions (phone calls), with a 65% decrease in cost per conversion. Clicks on their Google ads increased by 251%. This increased their potential revenue by $1800 for the first month and increased their potential revenue by $171,150 since April when using an average transaction charge of $150.
Billings Animal Hospital’s blog post, Ask a Vet: Why Is My Dog Licking Ears? is a featured result on Google and has generated over 70,000 page views since it was published in mid-2016, which resulted in its overall placement as the #1 result in Google’s search results on that subject.
Beyond Indigo’s Overall Results
Our individual client results don’t tell the whole of our results-driven success story. When looking at the big picture, we are proud to report that…
Blogging remains a staple of Beyond Indigo’s own successful digital marketing strategy, with 2017 showing a 98% increase in total pageviews for our blog, over 2016.
Our Helpdesk knocked it out of the park with 53% of tickets responded to an hour, 25% of tickets resolved within 24 hours, and 70% resolved within 48 hours – all the while maintaining a 100% client satisfaction rate!
Beyond Indigo maintains an AdWord Click Through Rate of 5% on Mobile and 3%on Desktop for clients, which increases the buying power of a dollar and ultimately increases business traffic. The average industry click through rate is 1%, meaning we are 4% above the industry standard! Talk about more bang for a veterinary hospital’s buck.
Google’s My Business sites that Beyond Indigo’s overall conversions show a year-over-year increase of 29%, for an additional 14,310 phone calls to our client’s veterinary hospitals.
On average, across all industries, the average Click Through Rate (CTR) for a Facebook Ad is .9%. At Beyond Indigo our Facebook ads have a 1.37% link CTR. As a result, we have fielded multiple requests from our clients to slow down or pause their Facebook ads because they generated so much business.
As we continue to focus on the positive in 2018, expect to hear more about our veterinary digital marketing results as we showcase the numbers behind the marketing we do for our clients.
Beyond Indigo is here to empower veterinary businesses. We are changing the conversation in the marketplace from one that is focused solely on cost, to one that is about both cost and results. Marketing doesn’t need to be a negative stressor in your practice – it does work and when done right, will drive business through the doors.
If you’ve used the Moz Local tools to check for duplicate listings, you’ve probably noticed that there’s a listing for not only for your main practice, but for the individual doctors at your practice as well. While instinct tells us that those listings shouldn’t be there and that they’re getting in the way of your official business listing, the truth is, Google made those listings on purpose. They’re called practitioner listings, and they work a bit differently than Google’s other business listings. Here are some of the basics of how to handle these listings.
Who Owns Google Practioner Listings?
Practitioner listings, in Google’s eyes, don’t belong to the hospital or clinic, but rather to the practitioner. This means that it is the responsibility of the doctor to claim, update, and maintain that listing. Most of the time, however, vets don’t know about, or don’t have time to take care of, that listing on their own. so they sit unclaimed on Google.
This isn’t really a problem until the doctor moves to a different location – this leaves an out-of-date listing at their old work address. This can become a bit confusing for potential customers looking at the Google map – they’ll see a bunch of practitioner listings, and not all of them will be up to date.
What to Do About Veterinarians Who Are No Longer With Your Practice
Unless you are the doctor named in the listing, the listing does not belong to you. That means that, as a practice / practice manager, you shouldn’t go through the process of claiming and updating the listing without the express permission of the vet.
But that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing you can do to get this listing right! You have the option to suggest an edit by clicking into the listing and clicking the pencil icon. Your best bet to get that changed is to look up where that doctor is working now, and enter that address in instead. If that doesn’t work (it might take Google at least a week to publish the changes), you can also mark it as permanently closed.
If it’s an option, you can also contact the doctor and have them claim and update their listing so that they can move it to the correct location. This benefits them as well since it makes their practitioner listing more accurate, too.
Managing Listings for Current Vets
Make all the doctors at your practice claim and update their Google practitioner listings. Keeping those listings up-to-date and looking pretty not only helps the practitioner, but the business’s online appearance as well. Having all the business information consistent across all listings makes for the best user experience – no one will get frustrated looking at all the listings and finding different hours or phone numbers.
Having control of their listings works out really well for the doctor as well; if they ever move or switch practices, they can update the listings on their own to benefit both their old practice and their new one.
Manage Your Online Reputation
Google practitioner listings play an important role for individual doctors – it gives them a tool to be seen as their own professional, while still being associated with their current practice. While it may seem like these listings can muddy the search results water, there are steps that can be taken to ensure that all information out there related to your business is accurate and presentable. This makes for the best user experience possible and goes a long way in helping your online reputation flourish.
The phrase “going viral” has become a huge part of daily vernacular. With that, it is easy to see how creating viral content is a main goal for many social marketers. What happens when your fifteen minutes of viral fame come to a screeching halt, though? Can your social media ever recover from, gulp, regular results after the high of content that has gone viral?
The short answer is: Of course you can. You just have to be aware of what it really means for something to “go viral” and what to do after that happens.
That Viral Feeling
What does it take for content to go viral? Unfortunately, there is no exact recipe that ensures a piece of content will be continuously shared across the ever-expanding void known as the interwebs. There are a few qualities that most viral content seems to share, however.
Emotional: People love content that tugs at the heartstrings. If you happen to post a story about a dog patient that was found abused and abandoned and is now thriving as a therapy dog, there is a good chance it will be shared. It is always a safe idea to share raw, honest content that induces an emotional reaction. Even if it does not go viral, it will create a bridge between you and your followers.
Funny: Whenever you can make someone laugh with some content, you are excelling with your social media efforts. If you can make someone laugh so hard that they want to share the thing that made them laugh, you are on your way to viral town.
Relatable: Humans are always looking for ways to connect. Sometimes all it takes to feel connected is to find something to which you can relate. If you can share a pet adoption story that most of your followers can relate to, they will be more likely to respond positively to your content.
Viral Content and All Its Perks
Viral content brings a lot of advantages to your social media presence. It can expand your reach by thousands. It can earn you a lot more followers. It can improve your SEO results. It can even bring more tails through the door.
If you take advantage of viral content, it will help you build a lasting social media presence that earns you more customers, which is your ultimate goal with any marketing efforts.
Viral Content: The Downfalls
If you do have content that is shared voraciously, proceed with caution. The viral content hangover can be tough. Comparing your regular social media results to the viral ones might make you feel like your social marketing efforts are failing, which is definitely not the case.
Remember that viral content is not the norm. Try not to judge the rest of your results against the unicorn of an unexpectedly popular post. It is also important to avoid being too critical of yourself when your next few posts do not go viral – that does not mean that you are failing at social marketing!
While a piece of viral content can elicit a lot of positive attention, there is a chance it can also bring some negative attention, too. Instead of engaging with these less-than-favorable comments, you might want to just hide them to keep your page positive.
Don’t panic when it comes to viral content and social media.Contact us today to learn more about social marketing and to get help creating a solid online presence for your business.
In the ever-changing world of social media and veterinary marketing, it can be tough to get a handle on everything that you need to manage. Sure, we’ve all heard of Facebook – but what about all those Twitters and Snapchats? There are many more social media platforms than just Facebook, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. While these platforms might not have the granular control over ad targeting that Facebook does, they each serve a particular niche and can be great compliment to Facebook, especially when reaching younger demographics.
Let’s look a bit more closely at three additional social media platforms and how to best use them to reach your intended audience with the content they crave.
The Vets of Instagram
Instagram launched quite a few years after Facebook – in 2010 to be exact – and was designed to eschew the text-heavy Facebook posts of the day in favor of a more visual media. As you can probably guess, it has been (and remains) phenomenally successful and paved the way for the shift to the picture and video content we so frequently enjoy on social media today. Facebook actually bought Instagram for a cool $300 million, two years after it launched. Not a bad payday for 2 years work, eh?
Given this partnership, Instagram and Facebook work closely together. You should absolutely tie your Instagram and Facebook pages together at your earliest opportunity. This will allow you to employ the same ad targeting you use on Facebook to reach a more visual audience. Keep in mind, though, that Instagram ads are primarily visual and cannot include direct links to content.
For this reason, Instagram ads are best used to raise brand awareness and to keep your name in front of prospective clients and affiliated with interesting content. While you can use the text field to encourage viewers to click the link in your Instagram bio, your best bet is throwing a few dollars behind that adorable photo of that puppy after his dental exam.
Twitter has had an interesting past, full of failed buyouts and shifting strategy. Twitter was founded in 2006, making it almost the oldest of the bunch, outside of Facebook and not counting good ol’ MySpace – and no, you shouldn’t go anywhere near MySpace in 2017, in case you’re wondering.
Twitter was created to create content that is both easy to discover and digest, which is one of the reasons it was responsible for the hashtag and instituted a strict character limit per-post of 140 characters (which recently doubled to 280). This allows quick, direct thoughts that can be perused much faster and made more quickly.
How can you take advantage of this, you ask? Twitter is great at letting you rapidly share nifty tidbits of info with your followers. If you’re having an Open House, why not tweet fun photos as they’re taken? If you’re staffing an event or attending something, tweet at the event itself (by prefacing your post with @) or find a relevant hashtag (prefaced with #) to include in your post.
It’s worth the use of characters, we can assure you, and is an incredible (and free) way to get your posts discovered. Lastly, it’s very important to post any and all blog content to Twitter, since Google tends to notice your blog links more quickly when it discovers them via Twitter posts.
It’s no secret that Google powers the internet. You also might be aware that Facebook and Google aren’t on the best of terms with each other, given the constantly-waging war for the same user’s eyeballs and search share.
While Google – and ranking in Google search – is entirely its own discipline, Google still has plenty of social utility. While Google+ is tough to consider a success by any stretch of the imagination, Google has recently overhauled its use as a social platform through a renewed focus on targeted posts via Google Business.
Your Google Business page is important for a host of reasons. This is where any user will probably interact with your brand if they search for you on Google. Think of this as your landing page on the internet – you want clear imagery, virtual tours of your practice, a clear and updated Maps listing, and accurate links to your website and other related social media.
You also want to regularly make business posts pointing interested users to website content such as blogs or service overview pages. One of these posts at a time is visible on your Google Business landing page and makes a great, quick way to convert business or reach more people with your in-house information.
Other Secondary Social Media Platforms for Veterinary Marketing
While there are other platforms – LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Pinterest come to mind – these tend not to be used as frequently by your target groups. However, each has their purpose.
Pinterest is still used (and can be a great catalogue of photo content) by DIY types, but it appears to be waning in popularity these days, especially after a failed attempt at resonating with a more male-skewed demographic.
LinkedIn can be a great way of reaching applicants if your practice has a job opening but doesn’t do a great job in reaching prospective clients. However, if you are a referral hospital, this platform could be worth a closer look.
While the bulk of your social media efforts should still be squarely focused on Facebook – especially when it comes to spending your ad dollars – these other platforms can still provide a great channel for reaching your current and prospective clients if leveraged correctly.
Make sure you reach your Instagram audience with visual-only, brand awareness ads. Tweet links to your most recent blogs and make frequent, targeted tweets during events. And, finally, make sure your Google Business page is up to date, replete with great visuals, and that you’re posting relevant links to your content on a weekly basis.