When looking for a veterinarian to help their furry, feathered, or scaly friends, people are likely to turn to the Internet for prospective providers. Did you know that 46% of all Google searches are for local businesses, including veterinary services? Furthermore, 72% of local searches usually end up in a conversion (i.e., scheduling an appointment). Successful veterinary digital marketing puts your clinic in front of patrons that need help with their pets.
Below are proven veterinarian digital marketing strategies that will bolster your clinic’s digital presence so you’ll show up whenever someone searches for veterinary services online.
Why Digital Marketing Is Essential For Veterinary Service Providers
The veterinary industry is currently fragmented, with many small independent practices. Thus, many private equity firms are consolidating by merging small practices into larger groups (e.g., Heartland Vet, Southern Vet Partners (SVP), etc.). However, since most patrons prefer to work with a “local” family vet instead of a corporate group, many practices opt to keep their individual brands intact. This structure introduces new complexities that must be considered when developing a digital marketing strategy. Careful brand management and campaign structure are crucial to ensure you maintain a strong digital presence within the local community.
Another significant challenge the vet industry faces is the ongoing labor shortage. Sadly, veterinary hospitals, clinics, and offices must turn away animals because they’re short-staffed. With a solid veterinary digital marketing strategy, operational efficiency can be improved by implementing systems such as online bookings, call centers for triaging calls and sharing patient information, live chat/online chatbots, and marketing automation (e.g., post-appointment care, and appointment reminders).
Build an Optimized Veterinary Website
All digital marketing efforts start with a website. Your veterinary website serves as your digital front door and is your number one marketing tool—the first touchpoint for most of your patrons. Therefore, your website should have complete information about your services, such as routine checkups, spay/neuter, vaccines, physical exams, dental cleaning, wound treatment, emergency surgeries, and more.
Website Design Best Practices for Veterinarians
When designing a veterinarian website, you start by providing a comfortable user experience (e.g., easy-to-read fonts, intuitive menus, professional images) and streamlined call-to-actions (CTAs) to guide visitors toward the next step.
According to recent statistics, 59% of global website traffic is from mobile devices, highlighting the importance of building a mobile-friendly website. Therefore, your vet website should have a responsive design, fast load speeds, and accessible navigation.
In addition, your website must have a blog and resource sections for pet owners researching their furry friend’s condition or symptoms. At the same time, your website should also have comprehensive information about your clinic, including hours open, address, and services provided.
If your veterinarian is part of an umbrella brand, you’ll want to develop a site that can scale with your growth.
Make It Easy for Patrons to Reach Out
People need help for their pets at all times, so you must streamline the process of reaching your office or asking questions. Best practices include the implementation of chatbots or live chat software and click-to-call phone numbers. Meanwhile, make it easy for patrons to schedule an appointment through online scheduling. Various online scheduling software can drastically reduce phone calls and let veterinarians take control through a virtual scheduling assistant. Plus, it provides a convenient and hassle-free way to schedule appointments while your team focuses on delivering better pet care.
Local SEO for Veterinarians
Did you know that “near me” searches for healthcare services have doubled since 2015? Therefore, you should optimize your veterinary practice for local SEO. Veterinary services are typically local services. It makes sense; most patrons want to visit a nearby veterinary clinic rather than drive to the next city for an appointment. Pets don’t always travel well. With local SEO for veterinarians, you’ll strengthen your online presence within the community and attract more local patrons.
Citations & Listings
A fundamental component of local SEO strategies is citations. These are listings in online directories. Veterinarians must create high-quality listings on various local and national directories such as Yelp, the local chamber of commerce, and other local directories. Meanwhile, niche directories for veterinarians such as BringFido, Find a Veterinarian, and USA Veterinarians are also great places to add your practice. When creating your listings, ensure that you supply complete and accurate information, including the name, address, and phone number (NAP). In addition, your NAP must be consistent across your website, Google Business Profile, and each directory.
Google Business Profile (GBP) Optimization
86% of people use Google Maps to find out the address of a local business. Meanwhile, companies with Google Business Profile or GBP (formerly Google My Business) are 70% more likely to attract potential customers for in-store location visits. These stats highlight the importance of optimizing your GBP listings for all your veterinary locations.
You can optimize your GBP listings by providing accurate/complete information, sharing high-quality photos of your clinics and practice, and creating a short list of FAQs (frequently asked questions) to answer patient questions–particularly about your treatments, services, pricing, and accepted insurance.
Geographical Keyword Strategy
Geographical keywords are often bottom-of-the-funnel (BOF) keywords, meaning that the person is only a few steps away from scheduling an appointment or visiting your location. They’re ready to take action now. Below are a few examples of high-intent geographical keywords:
- Veterinarian near me
- Animal Hospital in Atlanta GA
- Best vet clinics in Fort Worth TX
- Pet Emergency 24 hours Olympia WA
- 24 hrs veterinary clinic NJ
When selecting which keywords to optimize, choose solution-aware keywords that align with the specific vet treatments and services you provide or the insurance you accept. These high-intent keywords are more likely to capture patrons ready to take in their furry friends.
Well-Optimized Location Pages
If you haven’t already, create pages for each veterinary practice location. Each of these pages must be optimized individually. Like your GBP listings, your location pages must contain accurate and location-specific information that will attract patrons in each target market. For example, each page must have custom information about specific services and practitioners offered at that location.
Brand Reputation Management for Veterinarians
Your online reputation is closely tied to your local SEO efforts. When patrons search for a local veterinary clinic or hospital that will take care of their pets, they will likely read reviews before booking an appointment.
True enough, 77% of consumers read reviews while looking for a healthcare provider. Through reviews, potential patrons can find out crucial information, like if your treatment philosophies match theirs, whether you can provide 24-hour care, or if you can provide a comfortable experience for their pets.
If your vet practice has predominantly good reviews, the more likely you’ll receive referrals from your peers and inspire word-of-mouth marketing.
Veterinarian Brand Reputation Management Best Practices
The easiest and more reliable way to get positive reviews for your veterinary practice is to ask your patrons directly to leave reviews after an appointment. Regular patrons and those who had a positive experience in your care will be more than happy to leave positive reviews. Explain to them how positive reviews can help your practice, and refrain from telling them to make something up. Meanwhile, train your staff about the best practices when asking for reviews.
In addition, you can generate more positive reviews by providing numerous methods to leave feedback. Patrons are more likely to write reviews about their experiences when you give them convenient ways to leave them.
Investing in review solicitation software, such as Podium, Birdeye, and Weave is also a solid strategy for generating reviews. These apps are integrated with your email, SMS, and CRM systems, effectively automating the review collection process. The most important thing is to be timely–they won’t remember their appointment if you ask them months later. Send review requests as soon after an appointment as possible.
Google Ads for Veterinarians
Pay-per-click or PPC marketing is one of the backbones of a successful digital marketing strategy. Google PPC enables you to display paid ads at the top of the SERPs, putting your clinic in front of potential patrons searching for a local veterinarian. By using high-intent keywords such as “veterinarian near me” or “pet clinic near [location],” you can target people who are ready to book an appointment with Google Ads.
Google Ads Best Practices for Veterinarians
You should use the correct Google Ads account structure to maximize campaign performance. Hyper-segmented account structures can throttle machine learning and hurt your reach. A more balanced hybrid structure can benefit multi-location veterinary groups the most. This structure combines consolidated and segmented account structures’ best qualities, helping you collapse campaigns to minimize segmentation while still allowing consolidation.
After choosing an account structure, the next step is to leverage Google’s AI-powered bidding strategies. This smart bidding technology can enhance your smart bidding options and, in many ways, bid more accurately and efficiently than humans can. With every update, Google is increasingly pushing advertisers to AI-powered bidding.
Another core pillar of a successful PPC is to build a funnel-based strategy that aligns ads and campaigns with keyword intent along the funnel. This means using a diverse keyword strategy that covers the entire funnel, including:
- Upper funnel “problem-aware” leads: These people are in the research and discovering solutions stage. They don’t strictly require veterinary services now, but they know their pets have a problem. You should target lower-intent keywords like “heartworm symptoms in dogs” or “best diet for geriatric cats” at this stage.
- Mid-funnel “solution-aware” leads: These people are looking for a solution but are unsure about which services or treatments they need. For this stage, you should target keywords to educate them about heartworm treatment for dogs.
- Lower funnel “product aware” leads: These people are looking for a local veterinarian and are ready for an appointment. For this stage, your campaign should target high-intent, product-aware keywords.
Marketing Analytics / Real-time ROI Measurement for Veterinarians
Your veterinarian digital marketing campaigns aren’t done as soon as you launch them. On the contrary, the majority of the work comes later as you finetune your campaigns to drive better results. Monitoring key analytics of your veterinarian digital marketing strategy will give you deep insights and visibility to make better marketing decisions. Furthermore, you’ll be able to connect the dots and determine which marketing tactics and channels produce the best return.
In general, veterinarians should use closed-loop reporting (CLR) to determine how each marketing piece affects the patient journey (i.e., which leads generate the most sales). CLR is the gold standard in acquiring in-depth insights backed by reliable data.
The key step in closed-loop reporting implementation is choosing the right attribution model. Below are some examples of attribution models:
- First-touch attribution: Credit is given to the initial touchpoint of a converted lead.
- Last-touch attribution: Credit is given to the very last touchpoint of a converted lead.
- Linear attribution: Credit is given to all marketing avenues and distributed equally.
- Position-based attribution: Credit is given to both the first and the last click and any clicks between them are not considered.
- Time-decay attribution: Credit is partially given to all marketing channels, but attribution favors the more recent touchpoints before conversions.
Your marketing tech stack will determine what you can and can’t track.
Data-Driven Marketing Strategies for Veterinarians
To ensure you’re collecting in-depth analytics, you must integrate your CRM and marketing tech platforms, which may include Search Console, Google Analytics, Google Ads, call tracking and analytics, and more.
Furthermore, create a centralized analytics dashboard to enable your marketing team to collaborate more effectively. On top of that, get rid of unnecessary organizational silos and improve team communication to keep inefficiencies and poor experiences at bay.
Lastly, it would be best if you established goals and KPIs because they will guide your veterinarian digital marketing strategy in the right direction. When setting marketing goals, it pays to be detailed and structure your PPC campaigns to align with your goals. Broader or more ambiguous goals will likely cause you to waste resources and even fail the campaign.
Digital marketing for veterinarians should always begin by creating a future-proof website optimized for mobile users. Then, your local SEO optimization should be on-point to put your veterinary clinic in front of local pet owners by leveraging geographic keywords and optimized location pages. Meanwhile, manage your brand reputation by creating a reliable system to collect positive reviews.
A solid Google PPC ads campaign will boost brand awareness, and capture high-intent leads to scale patient acquisition quickly. Finally, stay on top of your veterinarian digital marketing campaign with marketing analytics and real-time ROI measurement.