4 Major Veterinary Marketing Trends of 2019
2019 Veterinary Marketing Trends
Every year there is a list of veterinary marketing trends that marketers and thought leaders predict to be the “next big thing” in the industry. While not every prediction pans out, practitioners should keep an eye on these trends. Pet owners are constantly changing the way they shop, spend money and research information about their animals, and you want to stay ahead of their habits.
2019 will be the year of video, of ‘stories,’ of personalized email marketing, and — most importantly — the year you optimize your use of digital marketing tools. With so much information out there, marketers have the ability to truly customize their message to an audience on a personal level that was not possible before.
We have put together a list of 4 veterinary market trends that the industry sees expanding even more in the new year. We encourage our veterinarians to stay ahead of the competition by integrating these features into their daily lives at the veterinary hospital.
One of the best tools for local businesses is Google My Business which is an online tool created by Google to help people find businesses online and controls your Google Maps listing. An optimized GMB page allows Google to know more about your business and helps people find you. The more information you post to your GMB profile, the better your search results will be. Google trends show a dramatic increase in “near me” search queries which provides your veterinary practice an opportunity to target customers searching for a local vet. “76 percent of people who search for something nearby on their smartphones visit a related business within a day.” If you don’t already have a Google My Business account you will need to get one. Follow these steps on setting up your business profile here.
After setting up your profile, there are a few essential details you need to fill out:
1. Work on the basics first and make sure all your info is filled out. Below are the essentials to get you started, and from there you can add a description of your website, hours, products/service descriptions and more!
- Business name – use your business’s real name. Do not add your city or services in the name
- Phone number
These should be listed the same everywhere across all listings and websites in order to avoid confusion. Refer to Google’s Guidelines on how to properly list your business name, address, phone number, and website.
Google uses the categories to describe your business and help customers find you when searching for a specific service. For example, as a veterinarian, you would want the category “veterinarian” to be your first category option. Google views the first category as the primary category, so make sure you choose something that describes your business as a whole. Check out Google’s Guidelines on setting up categories.
3. Photos & Videos
Add photos that are aesthetically pleasing and show off the services, location, and customers that come to your business. Having this content will increase your presence on Google. In 2018 Google added a video option to Google My Business. Be sure to utilize this new feature by showing off products and services you offer, introducing the veterinarians that are at your office or add testimonials from clients. These are all ways users can get a feel of what your practice is about without going there yet. Check out Google’s suggestions as well for what types of photos and videos to add!
This is one of the most important features of Google My Business and the one thing all users will look at before deciding to go to your business. They want to see your star rating and what other people have to say about their experience at your practice. According to BrightLocal “93% of local consumers use reviews to determine if a local business is good or bad.” The more reviews you have the better, because “consumers read an average of 10 reviews before feeling able to trust a local business.” Not only are consumers reading customer reviews, but they want to see your response to negative reviews as well. Be sure to have a plan in place on how your team will handle negative reviews. Check out Google’s recommendations on how to get more reviews!
We can’t believe how many Veterinary practices are missing this low hanging fruit when optimizing their location!
We saw a huge increase in small to midsize veterinarians realizing the power of placing their team and doctors in front of the camera in 2018. A video is about telling a story and connecting with your audience in a way that only video can because you see the emotion and you feel as if you are building a relationship with someone and truly getting to know them. Cisco projects more than 80 percent of all internet traffic will be video by 2021.
Videos also increase engagement and keep customers on your site for a longer period of time. We have really seen this take off with Facebook Live videos, which are increasing in popularity and a surprising 80 percent of people would rather watch a live video than read an article. Live stream videos encourage more engagement with your audience and tend to retain people longer than pre-recorded videos.
Not only are Facebook Live stream videos becoming popular, but you should be posting on Instagram stories and IGTV. IGTV allows anyone with an Instagram account to create longer videos up to an hour long that include more engaging content for your followers. There is a separate IGTV app, but you can also access it through your Instagram account in the top right corner which seems to be easier than going through another app and has all the same features. Learn more about IGTV here.
You need to make sure you are uploading the videos you create to YouTube if you are looking to embed them on your website. Having your videos live on YouTube will ensure your website speed doesn’t slow down.
Optimizing your videos
Your videos have a better chance of showing up in Google’s search engine if they are optimized properly. We encourage that you take the time to do this:
- Optimize the title
- Optimize descriptions
- Add Schema
- Embed videos in blog posts and on your website on different pages
- Add category tags
- Post the video on all your other channels for more exposure
- Send the videos out in an email for retargeting to clients
Having a high-quality video is great, but if the content is not engaging, entertaining, or helpful, no one will watch it. Stay focused on the content first, and then the quality of the video. Many people can overlook the quality if they feel like a video is interesting and adding value to their lives. Some ideas of videos to consider creating:
- Customer testimonials
- Live Q&A sessions with one of your veterinarians
- How-To Videos – “How to give your dog pills” or “How to properly bathe your dog/cat”
- Educational Videos – “Should you spay/neuter your pet?” or “Do pets have allergies?”
- Animal Hospital overview – meet the team, your mission, what makes you different
- Announce an event
- Host a giveaway
- Seasonal/holiday videos
2019 is the year of video everywhere! We can help your practice start the new year off with a bang by creating your personalized video strategy!
Although you are more likely to target existing customers through Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter, Google is still your #1 tool when targeting new customers! Check out our tips above when setting up your Google My Business profile. We can’t forget that around 90% of people use Google these days to search anything, so you need to be sure you are showing up in the top results. Our veterinary marketing team can significantly help your practice in this area by creating an SEO strategy with you, optimizing your website with the right keywords, developing an ongoing content strategy, developing blogs, and link building.
If your New Year’s resolution is to begin setting up your vet clinic’s social media accounts and Google presence check out how our firm can help you begin your journey!
We are encouraging our veterinarians now more than ever to stay relevant and active on their social channels. Think of social media as a nurturing tool for your current clients. By posting, retweeting, sharing videos and images you are staying top of mind with your clients to ensure they return to you in their hour of need. Your social media is more about communication than anything else. We know by all the stats out there that it is far easier to close a sale, or sell a product/service to someone you already have a relationship with, in fact, the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70 percent, whereas selling to a new customer is only 5-20 percent!
A good rule of thumb is to create great content that is relevant to your client’s. Then once you have content syndicate it to all of your social accounts. For example, post a blog then put a clip on Facebook.
Live Streaming – Facebook & Instagram
Video will continue to dominate the social platforms as we head into 2019, and if your veterinary practice has not picked up this tool yet, now is the time. A 2018 marketing trend that gained momentum and has continued to grow are live videos. These have exploded to the point where we are notified when someone has started one on Facebook and Instagram. Your audience no longer cares about a “perfect video” with all the mistakes edited out. Customers are seeking authentic businesses who are not afraid to show the behind-the-scenes. Live videos increase your customer loyalty as it reveals that you are who you say you are.
Videos have populated the internet because you don’t need fancy and expensive equipment anymore! Learn how to use your iPhone to create epic content in 2019!
Instagram TV (IGTV)
A spin-off of YouTube that isn’t meant to be entirely professional, but also doesn’t lean on the side of Instagram stories that are short clips that delete after 24 hours. An Instagram TV upload can be 15 seconds to 10 minutes long (up to one hour long if your account is verified) and actually stays on your profile permanently unless you choose to delete it. IGTV is still a new feature that everyone is trying to understand but will find its footing in 2019. We encourage our veterinary clients to begin testing out IGTV, here are 6 IGTV video ideas to post right now:
- Introduction to your clinic
- Customer testimonials
- Q&A video with a veterinarian
- How-To Videos (ex: how to clean your dog’s ears)
- Behind-the-scenes of your clinic (introduce team members, how your clinic is run, this is more of a vlog style video)
- Animal Hospital tour – take your camera around and do a tour of the facility (boarding, grooming, exam room, surgery room, reception counter, lobby, etc.)
Facebook Stories & Instagram Stories
“Stories” began on Snapchat in 2011 as short clips or pictures that lasted for 24 hours and were then deleted. As this invention gained popularity, in 2017 – 2018 Instagram Stories soared to the top as the “new Snapchat”, and now Facebook has introduced their version of Facebook Stories.
Businesses can use stories as a way to communicate with their audience in a more relaxed and conversational way. Today, Facebook stories have over 150 million active users, even though it is still not as popular as Snapchat yet, it will continue to grow in the year ahead. There is a new “Highlight” feature Facebook is testing out that allows users to save their stories to their Facebook page instead of having it deleted after 24 hours. We suggest using this to save events, polls, or Q&A’s to your Facebook feed. This Highlight feature is already available on Instagram.
We encourage our vet clinics to start implementing stories into their social media strategy in 2019 as a way to stay top of mind with your clients since stories stay at the top of followers feeds for 24 hours. Stories is another way to connect with your target audience. Story photos and videos are meant to be raw real and relevant. Since they delete in 24 hours you don’t want to spend a ton of time on a high-quality perfect photo. So, in 2019 make it your mission to come across to your client’s as an authentic clinic!
Some may believe that email is no longer relevant due to many new technological advancements, but a surprising, 2.8 billion people worldwide use email as a communication tool. We are seeing a comeback for the customized email marketing strategy in order to gain loyalty and trust with your customers.
Social media can be annoying due to the many ads and fake news that is cluttering the space. Email is a way for businesses to communicate their message with their consumers in an authentic manner. People are craving realness in your brand and company. We recommend adding stories to your emails either about your company and team members, or stories about customers’ experiences with your veterinarians.
personalized email marketing gives you the capability to engage in micro-segmentation. By segmenting your audience by more than just gender and location, you will be able to deliver meaningful information to your customers that they truly care about and want to learn more about. You can target owners of specific breeds — a client is much more likely to open an email with information about their unique type of dog or cat.
We are sure you have heard that people have an attention span of about 8 seconds these days and that we need to keep content short and sweet. That is true in many cases, but long-form content is seeing a rebirth. If the information is useful, relevant and well-written, clients or potential clients will gravitate towards it. Longer articles keep viewers on your page for longer as well, which will help your Google ranking.
You need to ensure your emails are optimized for mobile. In 2019 we will have over 5 billion smartphone users in the world. You will need to ensure that your email is created first for mobile and then for desktop users.