Website and e-mail tips: Marketing your veterinary practice in the digital age
At CVC Kansas City this week, Dr. Dave Nicol, author of the e-book The Yellow Pages Are Dead: Marketing Your Veterinary Practice in the Digital Age, presented to an eager crowd some website and e-mail strategies to help you market your veterinary practice. Here are his top tips.
Ever wonder how certain websites rank #1 on Google?
"People do not search for websites, they search for answers," says Dr. Nicol. "You need to have content on your website." And to rank high on Google, you must publish new content often (such as a blog on your clinic's website), build links from other websites to yours, and use keywords in your website page titles and content.
He also recommends you check into purchasing the most basic Yellow Pages advertisement because it links up to Google Business listings, which will help bring you to the top of the search results.
Not sure what keywords are best for your site?
Nicol recommends using the free Google Webmaster Tools (www.google.com/webmasters/tools) and Google Analytics (www.google.com/analytics) to help you determine the best keywords for your website. He says good keywords to start with include:
- Your local area
Are you too intimidated to start a blog?
"If you're not blogging, you're missing out big time," says Dr. Nicol. "If you can do online banking and use Microsoft Word, then you can blog—it's that easy."
And he stresses that it's essential to hae your own domain name so that you get the search engine credit for the new content you're posting (e.g., myvet.com instead of blogspot.com/myvet).
Need guidance on client e-mail newsletters?
First and foremost, it's imperative that you ask all clients for their e-mail addresses. Get permission to e-mail them and then send out regular e-mail newsletters—at least monthly.
Dr. Nicol does not recommend using Outlook, Gmail, or your other standard e-mail program because that program won't manage your opt-outs. Instead, try a service like MailChimp (www.mailchimp.com), which is free if your list is fewer than 6,000 names and is low-cost for larger lists.
And Dr. Nicol finds the best time to e-mail clients is at 6 a.m. on Saturday mornings because you're likely to catch them at home but before they get too busy with their weekend activities. Of course, you can create and schedule your e-mail newsletter ahead of time—there's no need to set your alarm early to click a "Send" button at that time.
Do you receive handwritten thank you notes from clients?
When you receive these thoughtful notes, always ask the client's permission to post the note online either on your Facebook or Twitter page or on your practice's website. Or better yet: Ask the client to post an online review for your practice.
Want to learn more?
You can catch Dr. Nicol in person at CVC San Diego, Dec. 5-9, 2012, where he'll discuss the following veterinary marketing topics:
- The Yellow Pages are dead: What practice marketing looks like today
- Content is king: Give pet owners what they want online
- Get your practice found through social media
- Put blogs, email and Dr. Google to work for you
- Convert clicks into clients
- How to get a free website and manage your online reputation
Click here to register for CVC San Diego.