My colleagues and I enjoyed our time in St Louis, MO this past weekend. We had the opportunity to meet lots of Veterinarians and Office Staff. Here are my observations from the show:
- St Louis is hot and humid in the Summer!
- Most practices still aren’t adequately tracking statistics
- The buzz word from an Internet seminar was “WordPress”
- More and more practices realize that potential clients are online
- Facebook hasn’t been a very successful campaign
- VCA has acquired VetStreet/PetPortals
I will try to explore a few of these observations in following posts. All in all, the show was a success and we were able to sign up quite a few new clients.
When it comes to Marketing a veterinary practice, the options are abundant. Although traditional marketing is still an option, most practices have realized that the internet has become vital for attracting new clients. One of the newer marketing options online is through group buying websites. Groupon is the largest and the originator of the concept. The idea is simple, Groupon will sell discounted services/products and split the cost with the company. Example would be a concern ticket that is normally $50, being sold on groupon for $25. The concernt venue would then split the $25 with groupon, then collecting $12.50 for each ticket sold.
Is a 75% reduction in price worth it for Veterinarians? It depends. If you are looking at the lifetime value of a client, the obvious answer is yes. Having an initial puppy examination or checkup for new clients at a steap discount (your cost) will help bring people into the practice and you could potentially keep that client long term. The problem is that many Groupon customers are very frugile spenders, and have very little brand/company loyalty. In order to overcome this, the practice needs to offer absolutely exceptional service.
Even despite the steep pricing reduction, Groupon type websites can be useful for the right practice. Groupon does not = short term growth, use groupon only for a newer or expanded practice that is looking for more longer term clients. Recognize that you need to be actively engaging these clients and provide the best possible experience to bring them back as regular clients.