internet marketing ideas
BY: MIKE HAMILTON // INCEPTION ONLINE MARKETING, OWNER
You may be confused by veterinary internet marketing; however, you are not the only one. After helping thousands of clients in the healthcare field with their online needs, I have realized that many do not understand the internet.
These 41 veterinary internet marketing ideas are sure to give you the knowledge to be successful in your city.
#1: Conversion Optimized Website
It is no longer sufficient to just have a veterinary website. You need a website that is “conversion optimized.” One that makes new clients to take action.
Information overload is the problem for many veterinary websites today. A potential new client is not concerned with your philosophy or technique. They are focused on the big three: Know, Like, and Trust. A new client selects you based on your reviews, office pictures, and staff pictures. If you can win the battle of Know, Like, and Trust, you will win the new client.
This needs to be the first veterinary internet marketing tactic that you tackle.
#2: Properly Optimized Website
Having a properly optimized veterinary website is one of the biggest topics on this list, and many do not completely understand it. It is very unlikely that you will find a website company that says they do NOT do SEO (search engine optimization). Almost every company does but with varying degrees of SEO. SEO can be as simple as adding a page to a website, but there is much more as well.
In the world of today, SEO is an expert’s craft. Ten years in the past, it was simple. Easy tricks and cheats would have you ranking in no time. Now, it is a slow and steady process that requires legitimate work. Google is looking to see if you can outdo your competition and that takes expert execution.
My only recommendation is talking to our team member John. In the area of search engine optimization, John is world class. He knows the inner workings of Google and what they are looking for. Just one conversation with John will blow anything you have had in the past out of the water.
In order to possess a strong ranking veterinary website, make sure to have:
Mobile Friendly Design
Fast Load Speed
Proper Meta Data
#7: Website Load Speed
The thought of load speed, on both the mobile and desktop version of your site, is an important part of veterinary internet marketing. Google’s preference is a site that loads under the three-second mark; however, it is not hard to find some veterinary sites that are way above that standard.
Google is aware that when a site is taking too long to load, then people will leave. Therefore, Google punishes sites that take longer to load. Loading speed of your website may seem like a small detail, but it is a crucial one. You can check the speed of your site here.
#8: HIPAA Page
While this topic is quite vague as of right now, we recommend having a HIPAA compliance form on your veterinary website. A couple of states, as well as Google themselves, have been discussing the importance of these forms, especially on websites related to healthcare.
A compiled list of pages on your website makes up a sitemap. It is crucial that your veterinary website has a sitemap. Search engines, such as Google, use your sitemap in order to know all the pages as well as to crawl your website more intelligently.
You could say this is one of the smaller ranking factors for your website, but it is good to do everything in your power to please Google. Following this link will teach you more about sitemaps and help you make one.
#10: Terms of Service Page
veterinarian internet marketing idea
#11: User Metrics
The number of clients that visit your website is a very basic definition of user metrics. User metrics also has the ability to track actions that they take on your site and the amount of time spent on your site. Your website will rank better when you have better user metrics. In my personal opinion, user metrics is the holy grail. If your user metrics look great and everything else is wrong, you can still rank in the top spots.
Getting your current clients to your site is a must. While on your veterinary website, have them do something to increase your user metrics. I will not give away all my secrets, but this is important. Work on this.
Feel free to contact us at Inception Online Marketing, to learn more about showing Google good user metrics.
#12: Video Marketing
Utilizing video marketing in the veterinary field can be quite difficult; however, if done correctly, it can be wildly successful.
This is what it looks like:
- Collect a plethora of video testimonials. Try getting a variety of symptoms too.
- Using paid advertising on Facebook, share the video with your target market.
- Anyone who views/clicks your advertisement should be sent to a special offer landing page specific to that topic.
This is no easy task that takes a decent amount of your time and money. Even if you are seeing success, advertisements may still burn out. Do not be afraid to reinvent your approach. There are many companies that never live up to their promises when it comes to this marketing and they charge you a fortune in the process.
If you are willing to put in a lot of your own time and thousands of dollars, perhaps you will find success. However, as a fair warning, there are not many people capable of doing this on their own and hardly any companies offer it properly.
#13: Rank for Keywords
It is not unusual for us to receive a couple calls a week regarding keywords. Some clients will want to rank for specific keywords in their area. Keywords are just one part of Google’s master plan, not just something that we through into our websites.
This list will help you to rank for whichever keywords you like:
- Craft a long, well-written article concerning the topic you wish to rank for
- Naturally, insert your specific keywords into the article
- Using the same topic, create and post a video to YouTube
- On the website, put the video with the article
- Last but not least, release that link on all social media outlets
There are a plethora of other things you can also do, but which whatever steps you take, make sure you are proving to Google, that you are the best location for that information.
The rank of our content depends on how widespread your article becomes. The more areas your articles is, the better. Google rewards those who provided everything needed for the reader.
#14: Landing Pages
Every week we are receiving calls regarding landing pages. In most cases, these requests are centered around Facebook advertising. As I have mentioned, I don’t believe this veterinary internet marketing idea is as effective as people believe. Facebook advertising can be successful, though. If you specialize in a specific condition or with a specific animal, Facebook allows you to market to very specific demographics.
Landing pages are helpful for any people discovering your office from an external source of advertisement. If you specialize in the feline care and put an ad in your local newspaper, a landing page can be effective. The link that you include in your ad will bring potential pet owners to a landing page devoted to feline care rather than your generic veterinary office website. In this case, a topic-specific landing page is an effective way to advertise.
Landing pages have the ability to be very helpful but are not the answer to all your prayers. Many big-name companies are praising landing pages and really pushing for all their clients to use them. They claim this is the main source of getting leads. Well, it sounds awesome, but in reality, it doesn’t work that well.
0%of consumers say they read reviews about a business
0%of consumers say they trust online reviews
0%of consumers will never write a review on their own
0%of consumers will take action after reading a positive review
#15: Google Reviews
Google reviews are very important for your office and there are not many veterinarians that are equipped with a plan to better their Google reviews. Having the best reviews in your city is a great way to interest potential pet owners. In a lot of locations, there are doctors with barely any reviews at all.
We, Inception Online Marketing, tried to convince our doctors to start a reviews program in their offices. Time and time again, the programs were failing. We tried this for roughly four years and finally decided we need to accomplish this task in a different way.
Now, we offer all our clients an automated review program. This program runs behind the scenes and with little to no effort on the office staff, reviews are obtained. This system is helping all our clients leap past their competition.
#16: Yelp Reviews
Yelp is important due to the fact that it ranks high in almost every search for a “Veterinarian in City.” This is a good and bad thing. It is important to be on Yelp as it ranks so well, but if you have even one bad review, it could push potential pet owners away. Bad Yelp reviews can be extremely difficult to make disappear.
The following is how I advise my clients:
- Fill out all required fields for Yelp and make sure to upload photos for your profile
- Ask the owners of the pets you treat that are regulars to Yelp and ask them to review you
Do not pay for Yelp ads. The Yelp salesman (working for commission) will obviously tell you otherwise. This marketing tactic is not very successful.
Dating back to my days of practicing, I can tell you firsthand, you do not want a bad Yelp review. There are articles online that can help further explain how Yelp functions.
#17: Facebook Reviews
Reviews can always boost your office’s image. Facebook reviews are just as important as the other big name sites.
Facebook uses a star program in order to rate businesses. This also inspires more people to use their system and share how they feel about local companies. More is better for Facebook reviews, but all the reviews need to be legit. The best method is to implement a program that allows you to obtain a steady flow of reviews.
Our reviews program has shown success in many offices. We have helped doctors across the country build their reputation online. Don’t just hope your reputation stays clean. Give us a call to learn more about our new reviews program.
veterinarian internet marketing idea
#18: Collecting Leads
The idea of collecting leads drives our Inception Online Marketing team insane! This idea basically says that by creating a “landing page” of a specific condition and by driving traffic to the said page you will be able to build a pile of leads. On the landing page, you would trade information in exchange for someone’s email and name.
There is a huge problem when it comes to this idea. Veterinary websites do not get enough traffic for this to work. Perhaps you can blow thousands of dollars in order to receive paid traffic. However, is the really worth your time or money? The only situation I can see that being cost effective is if you collect prepays in your office. Other than that, in a visit to visit scenario, it will not work.
I would stay far away from any system that has its foundation in building leads. I have no memory of them working. Unfortunately, if we continue to keep falling for it, hypesters will still sell it.
social media marketing integration
A Facebook business page is mandatory for a small business like you. It is an expectation of Google for any established business to have and own a verified business listing. Google is also making sure your account is active. Posting alone is not enough. You need your following base to interact with your posts. Shares and likes are helpful but commenting is the best response to a post you can receive.
Many veterinarians are under the impression that posting information about animals to Facebook will help them get new pet owners to come in. This specific nature of posting will not be helpful at all.
The best way to actually obtain new clients is from targeted and effective Facebook advertising campaign. You can learn more about this campaign in a later section.
The importance of Twitter lies more with having an account than using one. Google looks to make sure that you have a Twitter account set up for your business; however, it remains to be very ineffective for veterinary marketing. Perhaps you can squeeze a few new pet owners out of it, but huge success is usually unheard of. Have an account, tweet here and there, that’s everything you need to do with Twitter.
Google is expecting you to have a Youtube channel as well as be semi-active on it. Below are a couple of ways you can use to take advantage of Youtube.
Begin by creating videos about specific conditions. When optimized properly, your videos could potentially end up ranking organically. Looking at the past years of Youtube use, it may not be the holy grail of marketing but it is not a completely useless tactic.
The second option I have for you is to create pet or exercise related videos for your clients to watch. A group of regularly watched videos is a fantastic sign for Google. It gets even better when those videos are also located on your website. More traffic to your website always helps your situation from an SEO point of view.
Lastly, the final option involves paid advertisements on Youtube. This one is certainly a stretch. Being succinct, not a lot of people are heading to Youtube for veterinary content.
Pinterest has been around since about 2010. It is not quite as large as Facebook and the other social media outlets but it is definitely large platform. In my opinion, Pinterest cannot benefit Veterinarians. It is a good idea to have an account set up, but the chance of getting new pet owners walking through the door is very slim. Pinterest can be a place for a small SEO benefit as you are able to post pictures and link them back to your website.
Pinterest also offers its users a paid advertisement option. I have not heard of any Veterinarians succeeding with these ads but it is still early in the game. I would advise doctors that want to do these ads to proceed with caution at this point in time.
Podcasting comes up quite often. The most common belief is that you must start recording yourself while you talk about something interesting with the end goal of gaining a large group of listeners. It is hard enough to start your own podcast online, but if you do manage to do that, finding people to listen is even harder.
How many people, that you know of, are listening to podcasts today? You may know a few avid sports fans but have you heard of any people listening to a medical podcast? I haven't. And my life revolves around doctors on the internet. In my opinion, a Veterinarian will struggle a lot trying to find people to listen. You may be successful in getting all your current pet owners to listen, but to find a new pet owner out there, that is a shot in the dark.
In the past, your website rank could be improved just by posting useless blogs onto your site. However, this has changed and now people must read and interact with your postings in order for there to be an effect. A very simple and effective method to achieve these results is emailing your current clients everytime you publish a blog. Your website power increases with the more traffic you receive.
#30: Guest Posting
Since there is still some chatter about this in the industry, I will briefly mention it. Guest posting entails posting an article on another high ranking website, in an effort to receive a link back to your site. When it comes to veterinarians, it is a waste of time. Just the concept of finding a great quality website that will allow you to post is an impossible task. Do not spend much time on guest posting.
#31: Blog Comments
In the past, many people commented on blogs to increase their own websites rank and it used to work very well. This is now not an effective method however it is still important to make helpful and professional comments on veterinary related sites. It does not help like it did in the past but it is a fine way to help others on a topic. Links to your website or backlinks still help in building your trust with Google especially if you comment on websites that are already reputable.
#32: Educational Webinar
This is not a common marketing strategy in the veterinary industry. This is probably for the best as these events take a lot of effort just to get people to attend. If you are capable of finding an audience that is intrigued and interested in your information, this strategy is for you. But in most cases, veterinarians will struggle to obtain that audience. Facebook can potentially help obtain this audience but it may cost a great deal of money.
veterinarian internet marketing idea
#33: Local Sponsorships
Having external sources link to your website was a great tactic of the past. The building links part of this idea is still valid today; however, it is a necessity that these links are coming from real, trusted websites. Where can a veterinary go to find these kinds of sites?
The first area to consider is your own market. Links from local businesses, also known as local links, are very compelling. Do some research and find the websites people are visiting a lot.
The next step includes getting your link on those websites. An easy way to get mentioned on those sites is through the use of a sponsorship. It is pretty standard that you would receive a link by sponsoring a business financially. Do not overspend when sponsoring. Anything around $50 a year is plenty.
As with any easy, effective way to boost the rank of your website comes cautions. When it comes to local sponsorship, the biggest mistake made is reciprocal links. Do NOT run around saying, “If you link to me, I’ll link to you.” Reciprocal links lose their power. Links must be one way.
#34: Facebook Paid Advertising
Facebook advertising has grown like crazy in the last couple years. The concept is simple. You pay Facebook to let you run an ad campaign that is targeting a very specific demographic. This campaign will help you get a ton of pet owners walking through your door. You just have to give a big name company a couple thousand to run the campaign for you.
I have learned that you need to invest roughly $3000 a month in order to be successful with this marketing approach. You must also have care plans in your office. Without a prepaid care plan, the big name companies will not work with you as there is no way to make a profit. All in all, I have a lot of respect for the companies that are telling the truth.
There is another method of Facebook advertisements and it involves testimonials. People are paying for Facebook ads that display a testimonial video. These are specific testimonials that involve specific pets or topics. This is an expensive approach but could definitely be successful with landing pages and a strong campaign. The risk of failure could be high and expensive, therefore, I recommend you proceed with caution.
A lot of marketing companies get paid before results occur. In my opinion, I think a company should prove they have effective strategies before begging people to join the program.
#35: Google AdWords
Google Pay Per Click Ads or Google AdWords or now just simply Google Ads are all the same thing and have been around probably longer than you have noticed. However, many noteworthy changes were made by Google in 2016.
The looks of Google Ads got a major upgrade. The chances of you spotting an ad nowadays are very minimal, and Google wants it that way. Many people would avoid ads and opt to use organic listings, but Google hopes these are days of the past. Besides changing the look of the ads, Google has also added additional spots for ads in the maps.
In the maps section, there is now paid spots. Perhaps this is the next big thing.
When it comes to veterinarians, Google Ads are decently effective. Expect to spend anywhere between $600-$1500 on ads, depending on where you are located. Speaking on averages, expect somewhere around 4 new clients. Depending on the financials of your office, this could be a little expensive.
With these new changes, it will take time to see how Google Ads are affected. It may not be a pot of gold just yet, but when set up correctly, can produce a profit. In my opinion, we should be keeping an eye on that maps section.
#36: Write An eBook
An eBook can be potentially valuable. eBooks make doctors appear more trustworthy and knowledgeable. With this said, even if you put a cover of your book on your website, there is a big chance nobody will read it.
Put it this way: If your dentist wrote a book would you read it? I guarantee you wouldn't and I guarantee that potential clients will not either.
This can be a fun project but you must make sure you have time to do it. There's a big chance no one will read the book even though you will be putting a lot of effort into it. There are definitely better options out there. If your willing to put this much time into a marketing strategy there are other areas that an equal amount of effort will generate more clients.
#37: Build An Email List
One of the most effective ways to create your email list is to use all the emails of the clients you already have. From there you can use programs such as Patient Connect or Mail Chimp to communicate with them.
I cannot say it enough, but sending important and meaningful information to your clients is crucial. Try to send out something interesting every month to your pet owners. Try not to send out information overloaded emails. These emails should be easy to read and interesting. Pet owners will feel the love and appreciate that you thought to reach out to them.
Veterinarians also use their websites in order to get more emails. A simple opt-in form is all you need. Many big name companies will claim that you must give away something free to get emails but in all my years of marketing, I have never witnessed this approach being successful. Doctors are just not getting enough visitors for their website to generate a significant number of emails.
#38: Mail Your List
A lot of doctors are familiar with the fact that you should stay in contact with your clients. Many though, are not sure how to do this.
The idea of staying in contact doesn’t give you permission to send anything and everything you want. Sending copy and paste emails to every pet owner can actually hurt you more than help you. Take the time out of your day to write a meaningful email. Two or three throughout paragraphs are much more effective than weekly newsletters that have loads and loads of information.
There are many services out there that are capable of sending out all your emails. Mail Chimp, Infusion Soft, and AWebber are all great choices. Mail Chimp is what I recommend to my doctors. It is actually a free service and works well. Infusion Soft is awesome but $300 a month might be a little steep for your needs.
additional tools for your site
#39: Google Analytics
A great way to show what pages on your site people are visiting and how long they stay there is Google Analytics. What we have learned from this tool is that most clients stay on the top of the “Homepage” for only around 5 seconds and then follow this up with taking the same amount of time on the top of the “About Us” page. Then, after these ten seconds, the client either decided to act and contact you or they will leave.
Inside of your analytics account there are hundreds of data points and it isn’t necessary to acquaint yourself to all of this. Taking a look at it one or two times per year is enough to get an understanding of the direction of your website.
Once you understand the path of clients on your website, it is critical to make the content on those pages exemplary. And in many cases, the simpler the better. A good way to layout a website is based on what you would like to see if you were looking for a new service provider such as a dentist or veterinarian. More than likely, the new fancy equipment is not the thing that catches your interest.
#40: Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools is easy and essential to check how your website is doing. Google uses this tool to tell you whenever there is a problem with your site. You are also able to submit a page for index here.
The following is a quick list of things you can do with Google Webmaster Tools.
- Learn how to create the best site possible
- Receive website support
- Track the performance of your site
- Be displayed in search results
Here at Inception Online Marketing, we are always using this resource. With this said, as a Veterinarian you don’t necessarily need to worry about it. The information is mainly for your website provider to check the health of your site.
Remarketing allows you to essentially mark a lead tag to anyone who visits your website. Then, as that person surfs around the internet, you have the ability to puts ads onto the other pages they are visiting. You are ‘“remarketing” to them in order to keep your business fresh in their mind.
This sounds like a great idea but there is an issue. For the ordinary veterinary office, there is a small success rate. There is just not enough traffic coming to their websites to make this approach an effective one.
If you are spending a lot of money on Google AdWords or are paying thousands of dollars on Facebook Ads, then there is a chance you will be driving in enough traffic to your site for remarketing to be successful.