3 website problems that turn off new veterinary clients ... and how to fix them

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May 01, 2013

Most clinics have websites and a Facebook page, but few of them are likely to convert curious pet owners into new clients. Does your website exhibit the following three problems of an unsuccessful website?

Problem 1: Readerless content

Content is anything you put on your website that others read, use, or otherwise interact with. Unfortunately, most content on veterinary hospital websites is either boring, written for the wrong audience or worse: both.

Before you write that article on the flea lifecycle, please think about the reader. Does the world really need another dull article? The answer to that question is in your analytics. There you will find the truth—no one is reading it. The other clue is that your phone isn't ringing with clients startled into action by your awesome knowledge of big words and gross parasite images.

It's a far better idea to think and write about the things that keep pet owners awake at night or excite them—where they can take their pet on holiday locally, or a blog about dog-friendly walks in your area. Many of your new clients are likely to be expectant or new parents, so why not publish some tips for new parents with cats?

Problem 2: Purposeless content

Before you start to create content, think about your objective first. For example, if I want to top the Google search rankings for new puppies, then I think about what content is going to achieve this fastest. New puppies give their owners lots of cute moments but plenty of problems too, so any content you create that helps with things like toilet training is going to score highly with your audience. By focusing on purpose first, you'll see positive results faster. Please remember though that your purpose must match up with what matters to your target audience. If your content doesn't solve their problems or help them achieve their goals, it's likely to be ignored.

Problem 3: Hook-free content

I've read a lot of articles on veterinary hospital websites that just stop—and leave the reader with no idea what to do next. The end result is, they leave your website and you lose a potential client.

One way to use your website is as a data-capture tool on potential new clients. You can use that data to develop a relationship that turns a complete stranger into a paying consumer of your products and services. You can do this by including calls to action like, "Call us to book an appointment now."

You can also collect data by using online data capture forms. This is a more technical skill, but some content management systems will let you do it easily.

Dr. Dave Nicol is a veterinary surgeon, hospital owner, and veterinary business consultant in Sydney, Australia.