A brand is more than just your logo, a catchy phrase, and a specific set of colors you use on everything from business cards to the walls of your practice. Effective veterinary marketing online will help tie together your messaging, your services, and your reputation together in a memorable and unique brand.
And now, with all the information we could ever want (and/or conceive) right at our very fingertips (or at our voice command), your reputation very literally is on the line every second. And everything you do online could have an impact on your reputation.
Your veterinary clinic’s brand is more than just a marketing asset. It’s the image that comes to mind when someone mentions the service their beloved pets received the last time they were ill or injured. It’s your reputation, your logo, your prices, and your promotions all wrapped up in a single package.
And that entire package has got to be easily accessible online.
Then, when you’ve got all these ingredients working together, the pet owners who rely on you to keep the furrier members of their family in good health will become more than just casual customers. They will be your new brand advocates, and their recommendation will carry a lot more weight than any banner ad or billboard ever could.
Start by Defining Your Value Proposition
Your value proposition – that special thing about your clinic that separates you from the other veterinarians in the area – is the foundation of your brand. Can you tell someone, in 10 words or so, exactly what differentiates you and why they should trust you with their favorite pets? Ideally, a value proposition is simple, memorable, and provable, and when you can easily express it, you can weave it into all your branding efforts.
Choose Your Veterinarian Clinic Logo
There are some standard elements that go into your brand that should still carry your value proposition. Your veterinary clinic logo, for example, is one of the most obvious components of your brand, and one of the most important parts of creating a memorable image to associate with your service.
Your logo is likely going to be seen online, on your clinic’s façade, on your business cards, and your mailers. That means it ought to be a single, cohesive image that is instantly recognizable.
What do we mean by “recognizable”?
We mean that it should use unique shapes, images, and colors – things that invoke certain ideas. But it shouldn’t be too busy and cluttered. It needs to be direct and bold.
Use Search Engines to Build Your Brand
We are now officially (no sources available, but it’s as official as possible) more likely to turn to the internet than we are to turn to our friends and family when we want to learn about products and services. So when pets get hurt or sick, the first thing the owners will likely do is get out their phone or sit at their computer and see what vets are in the area.
And then they look and see what other people are saying about that vet.
You can use the search engines to your advantage. SEO strategies will ensure your website comes up first for those searches, and reputation management will help establish your clinic as the most trustworthy option.
There are several ways to do this.
Use Google My Business so your site will start to show up in the search results and on Google Maps.
Ask people you’ve worked with for reviews. When they start to pop up online be sure to respond to them promptly (more on this later).
Use Schema website markup to make sure important information displays in regular search results.
Managing Your Reputation Online
Reviews on Google, Yelp, or even when someone goes out of their way to write an entire blog about their experience can be amazingly helpful or a direct kick in the throat of your business.
It’s important to realize that that your online brand is interactive. People expect a certain level of communication these days, and if they don’t get it, then whether you like it or not, you brand and reputation will be “that clinic that doesn’t tell us anything.”
Understand that people are going to talk about their experiences online. They’re going to tell others what they thought (way before anyone else even knows they want to hear about what anyone else thought). Whether their experience was good or bad, there’s a good chance that it is going to get out there online.
Don’t ignore this. Be part of it. It’s a great opportunity to grow your brand recognition and reputation.
Respond to those who have something negative to say and show how you’re working to resolve the issue, and be sure to thank those who took the time to say something positive.
Consistently Use Your Brand
When we say consistently use your brand, we’re talking about more than just always using your brand colors on the clinic’s stationery (though that is obviously a part of it, too).
Make sure your value proposition is always and consistently communicated in all of your marketing efforts. You’ve set your brand, your colors, your messaging, now stick to it and promote it. Communicate your brand through your actions. Do you provide amazing care for pets? Fast treatments? The most recent tech advances? Constant customer communication?
You and everyone who works for you needs to understand your value proposition and how it ties into your brand, and how that will be communicated online.