I was super excited when Adam Christman, DVM, MBA, suggested I write an article on one of my favorite topics. There is so much to say about marketing for the home vet that I can only select a few to share with you today…but know that this is an incredibly rich and important topic. for mobile veterinarians.
This is especially important for people who are just starting out with their freelance home calling practices or for those who are relatively new business owners. As a good friend of mine said, “Let’s level the playing field a bit,” because these new national home calling practices have entire marketing departments, right? It can be a real challenge for big companies to market ethically, honestly and deliver on their promises, but I’m really proud to say that us small at-home vets tend to achieve this organically. Mobile practices owned by independent vets can also do a great job of marketing, and in our own way.
It is important to note that the marketing methods that will work best for your practice will depend on many unique individual factors. This includes your location, demographics, what sets you apart, and your skills (or investment in learning how to) market effectively in these ways. I go into much more detail on these topics in my online CE course, The House Call Vet Academy.1 But for now, I’ll leave you with my top 8 tips for marketing your practice:
1. Focus on your unique strengths.
Do you practice a unique service, such as acupuncture, chiropractic, or physiotherapy, in a place where few other vets do? Are you Fear Free certified? Do you offer concierge services (I do!) or another exciting and innovative way to give your customers and patients the best possible experience? Whatever it is, put it there.
2. Invest in a great search engine optimized website.
Your website is an essential tool for attracting new customers. You don’t want a cookie-cutter website that doesn’t reflect what makes your practice unique. And if you want potential customers who search the internet for you to find your website, it needs to be search engine optimized (SEO).
3. Word of mouth referrals are essential.
Word of mouth has a really special place in the home visit niche, more so than other types of businesses and veterinary practices. Even (and especially) if you only practice euthanasia at home.
Word of mouth referrals are essential for home vets for euthanasia, even though they are usually a single event, transaction or patient, because if you can keep those same customers in your loop, they are more likely to remember and refer to you when someone they know needs your services. Building rapport and relationships with local clinics, especially ERs, and local resources in your community is key to establishing a steady flow of patients to you, and without having to use Yelp if you don’t want to.
4. Your customer retention efforts must trump customer acquisitions (other than for IHE practices only).
Did you know that a 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75%?2 In other words, repeat customers are where they are. It’s so much easier (and more profitable) to attract customers you already have than to find new ones. That’s why the rest of these tips will focus primarily on marketing to your existing customers.
5. Take lots of photos of your patients (with their permission, of course).
One of the best things I did from day one of my practice, which also happens to be one of my top tips, is to take tons of pictures of your patients. First, make sure your clients are okay with it and get the necessary legal documents to post pictures of their pets on social media. Then you need to use all those photos of your beloved patients in social media posts (e.g. Instagram or Facebook) and newsletters to reconnect with current clients you haven’t heard from in a while. time.
People like to see photos of their own animals in your content. Use any excuse you can find to put these photos of your patients in the content you provide to existing and potential clients. For example, put tons of pictures of your patients in your communications about introducing new services, products, offers, wishing people happy holidays, etc.
6. Always stay ahead.
One of my mentors, Nicole Riccardo, taught me to always stay “on top”. When your customer has a question about their pet, you want them to think of you first – not Dr. Google; Not to the new cheap telemedicine offerings via the well-known online pharmacy giants and certainly not one of the giant non-veterinarian vetted corporate door-to-door chains. Not that your customers would ever consider those- here after tasting your incredibly personalized home services.
If your customers have recently heard of you in a message, newsletter or email, they will remember that you are always there for them. They will think of you right away when something comes up. And most importantly, they will remember that they need to come to your house for an in-home appointment or a telemedicine appointment.
This way they can get expert advice, continuity of care, truthful information (not alternate facts from who knows where) and information relevant to their pet based on their unique situation that only you can give them. provide.
7. Use calls to action in your marketing materials.
Another basic marketing principle is to use calls to action in your social media posts, newsletter, website, and any other content that your existing and potential customers will see. In other words, always add a button or link that they can press easily and quickly to perform the action you want them to take next. For example, add a cute little button to your newsletter or website that says, “Schedule your next appointment here” or “Apply to work with Dr. Eve!”
8. Make sure your customers know how much you love them.
My final tip is one of the most important to me, and that is to let your customers know how much you love them and their pets. I’m not saying lip service like companies do, but sincerely, since you actually know these people on a personal level. Thank them regularly for their loyalty and trust in you.
Ultimately, when people hire a home vet, they care about you and how you do things. The practice of home visitation has always been about authentic, genuine and irreplaceable relationships. Any old vet can come into their home and treat vomiting, diarrhea, give a vaccine, but what really sells in the practice of home visits is when your clients can see and feel your true love, your care and dedication to their animals.
As the popular saying goes, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” So let your unique freelance home call firm create a feeling for your clients and patients that they can’t get enough of.
I wish you good luck with your marketing. Everywhere, humans and animals need you. You have this!
- Dr Eve Harrison. The Home Call Veterinary Academy. Accessed June 16, 2022. https://www.dreveharrison.com/house-call-vet-academy
- Reichheld F. Prescription to reduce costs. Bath & Company. Accessed June 1, 2022. https://media.bain.com/Images/BB_Prescription_cutting_costs.pdf