Veterinary practice managers are always looking for new marketing methods, especially the "sticky" kind. These advertisements and marketing campaigns get people talking and get new clients to stick around. Patrick Maslar, co-owner of Family Veterinary Clinic in Gambrills, Md., has been using custom-made gift cards to lure new clients from the nearby tightly knit communities.
Maslar places ads in the area's small weekly newspaper and in two different local phone books. These ads offer $25 Visa gift cards to people who visit Family Veterinary Clinic for the first time. The cards are emblazoned with the practice's logo and colors, a branding effort that costs far less than the ads themselves.
The practice's most recent direct-mail campaign also showcased the branded cards. Maslar promised $25 gift cards to new residents and also included a list of local businesses. "The idea was for new residents to go explore the neighborhood on us," he says. Maslar asked local businesses he knew and liked—a printer, a bike shop, a couple of restaurants, and a martial arts studio—if they wanted to be included free of charge.
Maslar says these gift cards have been "overwhelmingly well received" by new clients and drawn more attention than $50 cash for referrals from existing clients. "They're an attractive commodity, and people seem to think it's better than money," Maslar says.