You’ve heard a lot from us about Partners for Healthy Pets, an exciting initiative designed to ensure that pets get the preventive health care they need and deserve through regular visits to the veterinarian. This alliance of more than 60 leading national veterinary associations, animal health companies, and state and local associations is committed to a vision of improved overall health for pets.
Part of that commitment focuses on helping put veterinary clinics like yours in the best position to meet your clients’ needs, boost patient visits and improve pet health. It’s a win-win for everyone involved. Over the next few months, we will highlight many of the tools available through Partners for Healthy Pets that you can use to help pet owners understand the importance of routine care and the critical role of the veterinary professional in their lives. This month, we’re taking a look at Internet marketing and how effective public outreach can benefit both you and your clients.
For the most part, the Yellow Pages are on life support when it comes to helping pet owners find a veterinarian. Today, people rely on Internet search engines when they look for service providers. Even people who open the Yellow Pages first often follow up by reviewing a veterinary practice’s website before calling for an appointment.
So, the logical question becomes, “How effective is your website?” Here’s a sampling of some simple steps you can take and questions you can answer to see if your website is effective at generating client interest – or if it is in need of some help.
Is your website coming up near the top of Internet searches? Here’s a simple test to find out: Using Google (or your favorite search engine), type in “veterinarians (and the name of your town).” Hit “Search” and see what happens. Is your practice one of the first three to five practices listed in the search results? If not, your “condition” is serious. If your practice’s name doesn’t appear on the first page of results, you might find yourself in intensive care. Don’t have a website? Condition: critical.
Next, look at your website and ask yourself some simple questions. You should be able to answer “yes” to each of these.
- What appears in the upper left-hand corner of the home page? Is it a specific call to action, such as “Call us for an appointment,” followed by a phone number?
- Are your address, phone number and directions to your practice easy to find?
- Is the “About Us” tab clearly and prominently displayed? Do you even have an “About Us” tab?
- Does the “About Us” tab lead to a photo gallery of your doctors and key staff?
- Does each picture of the doctors and staff include the team member with a pet?
- Do you have a Facebook and/or Twitter connection on your site?
Now, ask yourself the following three questions. To these, the answers should be “no.”
- Is a picture of your building a prominent feature on the home page?
- Does most of the content associated with each doctor on the “About Us” page talk primarily about school of graduation, special medical/surgical interests, involvement in associations and awards received?
- If you have a photo gallery on your website, are there any pictures of rooms or areas of your practice in which the rooms are empty, without both people and animals?
If you scored perfectly, congratulations! Your website is probably in good shape and you can shift your priority to other potential areas of need for your practice. Frankly, anything less than a 100 percent correct score means that there are opportunities for you to make improvements.
No matter what you scored, the Partners for Healthy Pets website can help. The site has an entire category of helpful tools on internet marketing and social media that are free for you and your practice staff. The tools will tell you what it takes to create an attractive and engaging website, and help ensure that your practice rises to the top of search engine results. They will also help guide you through the steps to get you engaged in social media, including Facebook and Twitter. So visit the Partners website today. Every day that your website sits unnoticed by both existing and potential clients translates into opportunities lost.