. Americans love their pets. Nearly 63% of all households have at least one pet. .In the United States, there are more than 88 million cats and almost 75 million dogs. Because people love their animals so much, the veterinary care industry is worth more than $14 billion. That is all very good news for veterinary practices. There are things you can do to get more people in your veterinary practice door.
1. Give your reminder system a reboot.
Look at the efficacy of your reminder system. If it is less than 80 or 85% effective, you need to reevaluate what you are doing. Think about how you send out information. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you use email communications?
- How often do you get replies that way?
- How many unsubscribes do you get?
- How often do you send these out?
- Do you include interesting and helpful information?
- How many veterinary reminder postcards do you send?
- How often do you send them?
This is not a system you will ever perfect, it is one you will improve. Some methods of communication will work for a while and then you will have to change things up. If you ever hear anyone, including you, say you handle something in your reminder system, “because we have always done it that way,” that is a bad thing. For example, text messaging is now a very effective tool where it was not just a few years ago. You can always outsource things like welcome cards and appointment reminder postcards but you need to always be changing up your system to make sure it is as effective as it can be.
You also need to go through your list and get rid of clients whose pets have died and they have not gotten new pets. Also, get rid of anyone you know has left your city or region. You may get an inflated idea of how big your list is when you have people on it who should no longer get your stuff.
2. Do some outreach.
Do you know the area businesses that deal with animal stuff? Have you talked to the local groomers? How about the speciality pet stores? If you have not done do already, call them up and start up a conversation. Better yet, go by and introduce yourself. Bring some giveaway or coupon they can use or pass on to their customers. Is there a local farmers’ market? Get a booth and bring literature on flea protection, vaccinations and dental care for pets. Send welcome cards to people in the community who have animals.
Have an open house at your practice. Serve doggie treats and give away cat toys. Get people in the door with snacks and fun beverages. Do some educational events at your practice or around town. You can even do YouTube videos on how to apply flea protection. People want to know they are doing a good job as a pet owners and you can help them do that. You end up looking like the caring veterinarian that you are and they get useful information. Get addresses and send everyone who expressed an interest in your practice welcome cards.
3. Use social media.
Have a Facebook page and Twitter account. Use Instagram. There are lot of tools to help you use these that are free and easy to use. Ask your clients to recommend you to their social networks. Ask them to like you on Facebook and follow your other accounts.
Remember that as much as people love their animals, they are forgetful. As many as 6% of young people admit that they forget to clean themselves (only 2% of older people say they do this). Another 15% of people who are between the ages of 18 to 34 say they will sometimes forget what day of the week it is (for people who are over 55 years old, only 7% say they do this). Almost 40% say that in the past seven days, they have forgotten some basic piece of information. All of this means that they may very well forget to bring their dog or cat in for their appointment, welcome cards, veterinary reminder cards and reminder cards all help get those people in your door.