Firstly, let me start off by thanking all of our valued clients for your patience over the past few weeks while we scrambled to get all updates regarding COVID-19 live on to your website in a timely manner.
The world has nearly ground to a halt while we all battle this virus and while many must remain at home, the veterinary world has of course been deemed an ‘essential business’. There is so much information floating around regarding COVID-19: how to avoid it, proper hand-washing techniques, practising social distancing, what to do if you get the virus and more. Equally just as important, every veterinary practice has had to adjust one way or another, whether it is by reducing opening hours, only carrying out emergency work or introducing initial video consultations (read more on our advice regarding this here).
While we adhere to those rules and guidelines, and adapting the way business is carried out, what should we all be doing in regards to marketing? Most, if not all, veterinary business owners and managers have questions like:
- How is COVID-19 going to affect my veterinary business and for how long?
- What is the best way to still reach potential clients?
- In fact, SHOULD I even market my business during this time?
Well, we can unequivocally respond with a massive ‘Yes‘ to that last question! Below we will outline a handful of the reasoning behind the importance of continuing any marketing efforts you may have in place. If you currently do not have any marketing campaigns active, now would be an ideal opportunity to consider getting started.
Reason 1: COVID-19 will be defeated and life will resume
It’s true! Yes, it is certainly tough times right now but there will be an end to this. Dogs will need their check-ups, cats will need to be spayed, and so forth. So when your practice is back to performing routine appointments and there is an influx of clients looking for a vet, you will want your business to be easily found, right?
SEO is not a quick solution, it takes weeks, months and even years to gain placement on the dizzying heights of Google’s first page of results. So with this in mind, it would be very difficult (pretty much impossible) to just “pick up where we left it” once this is all over. In fact, any financial effort that had been spent pre-COVID-19 will, to an extent, be wasted if the marketing was to be dropped temporarily for any extended periods.
Reason 2: Online search is king
COVID-19 will only further drive this point up. With so many at home now with not much else to do other than watch TV and browse the internet, having your business found with ease has never been more important. If your business is already doing well on Google, it is vital to maintain this. If you currently lag and have competition above you, now is the time to fix this. No doubt many businesses will stop their marketing for now, vets and other businesses alike, so taking advantage of this point is crucial. In fact, it will likely be easier to rise above as there will be fewer businesses competing for now. Take advantage!
Reason 3: Build relationships
Now is an ideal time to build relationships with potential customers. Staying in touch with your local community now will certainly pay dividends down the road. There is so much worry, panic and uncertainty at the moment, so being that local business that remains calm and reaches out will go a long way. Once life does begin to return to normal, these potential clients will likely remember you and continue the newly built relationship.
So whether you post updates to your blog section giving advice on pet health during these times or post captivating updates to your social media outlets which encourage people to engage and share, stay active. Both SEO and Pay-Per-Click (Facebook Ads for example) can help boost your reach.
The Mere Exposure Effect is the marketing phenomenon by which customers develop a preference for your products or services simply because they’re familiar with them. Keeping relevant and vocal right now is hugely beneficial!
Reason 4: Not everyone is adapting
There will be a certain number of businesses, including veterinary, that will simply accept COVID-19 is wreaking havoc. They will lay down and weather the storm so to speak. With this in mind, if you have begun offering video consultations (or even phone consultations for that matter) then you need to let your potential clients know about it.
Many animals will still need your help, regardless of how long this goes on, so the fact you have adapted and can still be there for them needs to be known. Are you able to supply pet food and perhaps even offer FREE delivery in your area? Let it be known. Are flea and tick medication still available for pick-up? Let every single potential client know about it, or just maybe your competition will beat you to it!
Now is not the time to stop marketing efforts, it’s the time for you to be even more strategic in implementing them! In fact, we are taking our own advice and so are our the majority of our clients–so far all we’re seeing is more results.