Veterinary Marketing

The Modern Guide to Growing Your Practice

Veterinary Marketing is essential to the health of your practice, as it allows you to attract new leads while supporting your existing clients. Make the most of your marketing by combining an optimized, professional website, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), a social media presence, Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising and email marketing to grow your practice or animal hospital.

Optimize Your Veterinary
Website Design

Your veterinary marketing strategy should center on a professional website design. There are thousands of different veterinary website designs to choose from, but each should have the same basics:

  • Example A (A strong headline)
  • Example B (Images that reflect your practice and services)
  • Example C

Once you’ve picked a website design you think best represents your veterinary practice, there are a few features you’ll want to make sure your website will contain, especially if your goal is to attract new clients and serve your patients.

Make Sure Your Website Works on Mobile

About 90% of visitors will search for pet care on a mobile device so it’s essential your veterinary website resizes correctly on all devices, from phones to tablets. Ensure everything on your website looks correct by checking on your mobile phone. Here are a few things to watch for:

  • Do images and your logos shrink down to fit the screen?
  • Is it easy to pull up your navigation bar and find what you need?
  • Does the mobile site load quickly and easily?

Double checking to make sure your website is mobile optimized will drive new appointments and help support your current clients. Making these changes will optimize your user experience and encourage visitors to book their first appointment.

Engaging Pet Care Content

One of the best ways to get Google to notice your vet website is a factor called “time on page.” When visitors spend a lot of time browsing your site it signals search engines that your site has helpful, relevant content. Google likes that and will rank your site higher on search engines.

Build a library of pet care content to help improve time on page, and boost your website in search results, as well as support your existing patients. Articles about neutering and spaying, puppy training, and other essential topics are a necessity for creating a healthy veterinary website. Be sure to include a link to all the great articles and content in the resources section in your navigation bar.

Leverage Forms and Calls-to-Action (CTA’s)

The ultimate goal of a veterinary marketing strategy is to drive appointments. So make sure it’s easy for website visitors to book from your site. Using forms to capture visitor’s names and contact information, with calls-to-action like “Learn More” throughout your site, provide an easy alternative to calling in. Visitors who are shopping for a vet may well submit their email for more information.

An easy rule is to have one CTA on each page. You can even build a “Learn More” section into your footer so it appears on every page. Your homepage should have a form where visitors can input their contact information near the top of the page to maximize your conversions.

Feature Reviews to Highlight Your Reputation

When pet owners are looking for a new veterinarian, they usually look at reviews for vet practices/animal hospitals in the area. You can build your online reputation by asking your happy clients to submit a review for your practice. Building out the number of reviews for your practice is called Reputation Marketing.

Ask for reviews at each pet’s annual appointment. You can even print out fliers that provide links to your Yelp, social media pages, and Google My Business page.

Adding a note in your email signature with direct links to your social pages is another great way to remind your clients to leave reviews for your veterinary practice.

Once you have a treasure trove of great reviews, pick a few to feature on your website and veterinary marketing collateral; reviews can be a powerful nudge to get new clients interested in your vet practice.

How to Use Social Media in Veterinary Marketing

Almost 70% of American adults are on Facebook. Having an active business profile is a must for any veterinary marketing strategy. Facebook also provides targeted advertising options to help you find new pet parents in your area. Once you get them set up, Facebook ads can be a great way to get new appointments.

To make the most of your veterinary marketing, here’s what you should regularly be doing on organic social media:

Post 5 Times a Week

Facebook’s algorithms favor pages that post frequently, so take the time to schedule out a few posts a week.

Some vet post ideas can include everything from “caption this photo” contests, funny animal posts, and even recent reviews of your veterinary practice.

You don’t have to spend a ton of time writing these posts, as just a caption and image or link will do. Simply maintaining an active Facebook page will increase your reputation and drive traffic to your vet website, so make updating your social media a weekly part of executing your veterinary marketing strategy.

Create Relevant Pet Care Content

As you add new content to your website, ensure you’re posting the link on Facebook as well. Include a sentence or two for the description and encourage your followers to check out your new articles.

Posting pet content showcases your expertise and passion. Your existing clients will feel assured they’ve picked the right vet practice to care for their pets. Pet care content also drives traffic to your veterinary website, which supports your rankings on Google.

Quickly Respond to Comments and Messages

Excellent customer service is as important online as in-person. Take the time to quickly respond to comments, reviews, and messages on your Facebook page.

By taking the time to interact with your Facebook followers, you encourage them to engage with future pet content, and build a strong community of followers.

Set Up an Auto Responder

When you’re busy running your veterinary practice, it can be difficult to keep up with all the Facebook messages piling up in your inbox.

An autoresponder is a great way to drive visitors to call or email your animal hospital. This allows you to focus your communication to your preferred channels. Here’s a great example of an autoresponder message:

“Hi, thanks for contacting [your practice name] in [location]. We've received your message and appreciate the opportunity to care for your beloved pets! For immediate assistance, please call us at [your phone] or email us at [your email]!”

Clients who want immediate contact can then follow up with your veterinary practice via phone or email rather than waiting for a Facebook response.

Keep Your Facebook Profile Updated

Build trust and support your existing patients by ensuring everything is updated. Keep your hours, contact info, and services accurate by doing a quarterly check to ensure nothing has changed. You might want to set a reoccurring appointment in your calendar for every few months to check the information on your Facebook page.

It’s also a good idea to regularly change your profile picture and cover photo. For your cover photo, be sure to add your phone and website URL to a corner of the image. This way new visitors can easily find your business information without having to dig through your profile.

Social media should be a key piece of your customized veterinary marketing strategy. Discover what our Social Media Marketing service can do for you!

How to Get Your Vet Website Higher in Search Results

The most technical of veterinary marketing techniques is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). When Google is deciding what websites to rank on Page 1, SEO helps make sure your website is set-up to feature higher in search results.

Google updates their algorithms frequently throughout the year but here are the current veterinary marketing best practices:

Use Relevant Keywords

Do an audit of the most-searched terms in your area to decide what keywords to target. Terms like “veterinarian in [your city]” will likely top the charts. But you can use a free tool like Google’s Keyword Planner to get an accurate list.

Once you have the list of keywords in your city by search volume, your next step is to create targeted content for each keyword.

Sprinkle the most important keywords throughout your homepage, contact page, and additional content so Google is more likely to rank your website for that term.

Create Individual Service Pages

When you look at the breakdown of popular keywords, you’ll notice that several mention specific treatments or services that a veterinary practice might offer.

Building out separate pages that highlight your different services for each of your main pages is an SEO strategy that can give your site a better chance of ranking higher. It also helps outline your specializations for new visitors.

Ensure that each individual service page has at least 500 words of content and uses the keyword several times.

Use Smart Headers (H1s and H2s)

Headlines are extremely important from both an SEO and user experience standpoint. It helps both Google and the user understand how your content is structured. Headers also provides visual breaks in the page to make it easier to read.

Above all, ensure you include the most important keyword for your practice (e.g., “Veterinary care in Portland” or “Austin Animal Hospital”) in at least one headline on the page, as this will give you an extra SEO boost.

Create Effective Meta Descriptions

Another essential SEO component are meta descriptions. These short page summaries are what shows up under your page title on Google search results. They should describe the main point of your page in 160 characters or less and include one or two keywords.

Be sure to add meta descriptions to all your pages, as they’re an essential part of building a healthy website.

Use Alt Descriptions in All Images

Images are essential for both website design and SEO; they also help to build trust when visitors are trying to choose the right veterinarian for their needs. But search engines can’t see images, yet. That’s why you need to include what are called alt descriptions for your images. Alt descriptions aren’t visible to human visitors to your site but describe the image for a search engine.

It’s especially important to incorporate your photo and pictures of your office. Make sure you have added alt text for both types of images which includes your location or other keywords for which you want your vet practice to rank higher.

While your average user can’t see the alt text, Google’s bots can. Including a description of your photo and your practice’s name can help give you a quick and easy SEO boost.

Use Location Specific Keywords for More Effective SEO

Since the bulk of your SEO terms will be based on your location, you want to be sure to mention your location or region frequently throughout your website.

When describing your practice, use a phrase like “a veterinarian in [your city], specializing in [insert your specialties here].” Being location-specific with your keywords is important so when local clients are searching for a vet in your area, they will see your website as a top option.

Include similar phrasing on your Homepage, your About page, and your Contact Us page. You should also list your full address and phone number in your footer, the text at the bottom of your website, so it displays across your entire website. Doing so will help make sure that local clients see your website and practice when they are actively looking for a veterinarian.

Get Google’s Attention on Your Site

Google will crawl your site a few times a year, but you can encourage it to re-crawl by submitting your XML sitemap to Google Search Console.

Your sitemap is a map of your pages ranked by most important to least important, and it’s essential to guide Google to see what you prioritize most on your website.

You should resubmit your XML Sitemap to Google once per quarter, or whenever you make major changes like adding important new pages.

CTA: Search Engine Optimization is a long-term investment requiring persistence.

ProSites has successfully ranked veterinary websites with their dedicated SEO team. These veterinary clinics have, on average, seen a 300% return on their investment. Learn more about our SEO Services.

How to Use Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC) to Grow Your Vet Practice

While optimizing your veterinary website ranking on Google can develop into a constant flow of new visitors and business, there’s another, faster method to get your name in front of people searching for a vet: PPC.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising allows you to bid on keywords to advertise on search engines like Google. These PPC ads appear before other listings for the keywords of your choosing and can be a faster tactic in your veterinary marketing strategy to fill your appointment book.

Optimize Your PPC Keywords

Similar to SEO, Pay-Per-Click is uses keywords to target advertisers when they are searching for vet services like yours. There are tools available to anyone, like Google’s Keyword Planner, to help you find the keywords for services you specialize in, along with general terms like “veterinarian in [your city].”

You can run tests in your PPC ads for different keywords to see what brings in the right results for your goals and cut the keywords that are less effective.

Target Local Keywords for Your Area

Since most people won’t drive more than a few miles for veterinary care, ensure you’re optimizing your keywords for the right locations. However, if the cities around you have little competition, you can opt to market to people in the surrounding areas and regions as well. Large animal hospitals and other practices that serve a larger region could have a different mix of what a “local” keyword might be.

The best course of action will depend on your specific area and clientele. But you can run some tests to see if it’s worth expanding your range to include other cities, towns, and areas.

How to Test Your Vet PPC Ads

Pay-Per-Click ads are typically displayed in sets of 3 or 4, with your competitors showing up alongside your ads. You can encourage viewers to click your ads instead with better headlines and more compelling ad messages.

Consider an offer for new patients or using a phrase like “top rated veterinarian” if applicable. You should also A/B test headlines and copy to see what performs best and launch new ads a few times a year. A/B testing means to run two ads that are slightly different, Ad A, and Ad B, and see which ad delivers better results for your veterinary practice. The great thing about PPC ads are that you can make changes and updates at any time to tailor your budget and results.

Decrease Your Bounce Rate with Good, Strategic Landing Pages

When people click on your ads, they will be taken to a landing page you selected on your site. If the visitor doesn’t like what they see, they’ll hit the back button. Google counts this as a “bounce,” which can ding your score and cost you more money to advertise in the future. Your landing pages should be the answer to your advertisement.

To avoid a high bounce rate, tailor your page to the headline copy in your ad and provide a call-to-action at the top of the page. Give people the information they need up front—plus an easy way to book their first appointment—and it can keep your bounce rate low, helping you make the most of your advertising budget.

Take Time to Monitor Your ROI

Most veterinarians should take some time every month to review their overall PPC performance and decide whether any adjustments are needed.

Each PPC keyword will show your average Cost-Per-Click. You should compare your cost per click and see if any dramatic increases are happening every month.

If your cost per click suddenly skyrockets, it can indicate that one of your ads has a high bounce rate or your competition is spending more on the same term trying to outbid you.

In either case, it’s a good idea to look at your budget allocation and see if you’d be better off looking at a different keyword or a different landing page.

Watch Your Competition

If you’re being outbid by competitors, look at their landing pages and see if there’s anything you can do to beat them at their own game.

Are they providing any new offers that you should mirror? Is their landing page dramatically different than yours?

It’s always a good idea to monitor the marketing activities for veterinarians in your area but it becomes even more important when you’re paying for every click.

Keep Your Existing Clients Engaged

It’s more expensive to recruit a new client than to retain an old one. Support your current clients by building in activities and strategies into your veterinary marketing plan.

Your greatest asset is the care you offer your patients, followed by a friendly office and excellent customer services. There are also a few ways your marketing plan can help your practice support existing clients. Here are some tips:

Give Out Branded Swag

Branded swag makes your clients feel appreciated. It also gets your name out into the community.

Consider adding your logo and phone number to a canvas water bowl that clients can fold up and bring to the dog park. Or give out branded leashes or doggie bags.

Think beyond the pens and magnets to offer unique items that typical veterinarians won’t have.

Ordering in bulk can keep costs to a minimum, making unique items an inexpensive asset to your veterinary marketing strategy.

Make Vet Marketing Fun

Being a pet owner is exciting and fun, and your clients are already a unique community.

Consider creating a “Pet of the Month” contest and running it on social media to drive engagement. Host a bulletin board in your clinic to showcase the latest fundraisers and adoption events so you become a hub of information that pet parents know and trust.

You can also share funny staff pics, adorable pet photos, and events on Facebook. Overall, your clients love pets almost as much as you do…use that common ground to create a community, which can create the connections to keep your practice thriving well into the future.

Volunteer in Your Community

If you volunteer with local rescues or pet care organizations, highlight them on both your website and social media. Consider sponsoring adoption events or shows and get a booth to represent your veterinary practice.

Encourage your staff to wear branded t-shirts to charity drives and fun runs or host a cleanup at a local park or beach to support local wildlife.

Every time your staff makes an impact, be sure to post photos on your Facebook page to showcase your commitment to protecting animals. It’s an easy way to get your practice name out there, new content for your social media, and simply to tell people how much you care for your community.

Provide Specials for Rescue Organizations

Pet owners will typically stay with the first veterinarian they ever see, so create specials for local rescues and breeders. If your practice’s name and contact info is already on adoption paperwork, it makes it easy for new pet parents to reach out and schedule their first appointment.

A recommendation from a local rescue or breeder is worth its weight in gold, so start building these partnerships as you optimize your veterinary marketing strategy.

Implementing a Veterinary Marketing Plan

It can be a challenge to juggle your day-to-day business with a well thought out and personalized veterinary marketing plan, so don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Here are some tips to distribute the work throughout your team, or even outsource some of your veterinary marketing to a professional team:

Ask a Staff Member to Handle Your Social Media

Of all the veterinary marketing tasks, this is the easiest one to pass to a team member.

If you have an office manager or receptionist, ask if they’d be willing to monitor your social media and respond to comments. You can also create a list of post ideas and ask them to post a few times a week. You can take time in your staff meetings to brainstorm social media posts. ADD MORE

Hire Veterinary Marketing Experts

If you simply don’t have the time to handle these tasks on your own it may be time to call in some help. ProSites is a dedicated marketing agency with a team of veterinary marketing experts to help you grow your practice with website design, SEO, pay-per-click, and more.

If you find that marketing is taking too much of your time, or you’d rather focus on delivering excellent care and customer service, it may be time to outsource some of your veterinary marketing plan.

Want more tips on growing your practice?

Talk to a Veterinary Marketing Expert today.