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How can I make the Internet Work For My Veterinary Practice?

Another question we’re frequently asked on How to grow your veterinary business is:

How can I make the Internet Work For My Veterinary Practice?

Our view is this:

Most veterinary practices today have a website but how many practice owners can honestly say, hand on heart, that their website brings new patients through the door?

The shocking reality is that, for probably 95% of veterinary practices who have a website, it either does not get them any business at all or if it does they have no way of tracking how much!

If you get a website built and think that it is magically going to attract new clients then you’re in for a big shock.

To make your website work you need to concentrate on four key elements:

1. Attract Prospects

You can have the best looking website in the world but unless you can drive visitors (or traffic in Internet speak) to it then it will be worthless.

In order to get qualified visitors (local pet owners) to your website you can get free traffic and you can buy traffic.

To get free traffic you can use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which basically boils down to having keyword relative content on your site, updating your site on a regular basis and getting links from other sites back to yours. You should also register your website with Google’s free Google Places service so that it will appear in the little map when someone searches for vets in your area.  Social Media is the other source of free traffic. Over a third of Americans use Facebook so ignore it at your peril!

To buy traffic you can use Google Pay Per Click (PPC), Facebook or banner ads. Google PPC ads are the ones you see across the top and down the right hand side of Google search results. With Google PPC you are buying ads that you want to be displayed when specific search terms are entered e.g. San Diego Veterinarians. You pay only when someone clicks on the Ad. You can buy similar PPC ads in Facebook but the difference is you target the demographic of the people you want  to see the ad e.g. women between the ages of 25 and 55 based in San Diego with an interest in Labradors. Banner ads are basically adverts on other websites and can be rectangular or square, portrait or landscape and static or animated. You usually pay a set monthly fee.

2. Capture Contact Info

Once you have got qualified visitors to your website you need to get their contact details. At present you could have hundreds of pet owners visiting your website every week and, although you might have a record of how many visits you’ve had, you don’t know who these people are!

In order to get their details you need to give them something in return such as free report on the ’5 Things Every Pet Owner Should Know About Veterinary Practices’ or a access to some video of you giving ‘The secret to avoiding huge vet bills’. An auto responder service such as Aweber or MailChimp should allow you to collect this information very easily.

3. Follow Up with your new prospects.

Now you are starting to build a list of prospective clients you need to keep in touch with them and lead them towards becoming a client. You do this by sending them free useful information on looking after their pet. Your autoresponder service will allow you to create emails that will automatically delivered to the prospects in your list sequentially. They might not be ready to become a client yet but in three months time when they buy that new puppy you want your veterinary practice to be at the front of their mind.

4. Tracking

You need to know if what you are doing is working and the only way to do this is to track everything. You the free Google Analytics service to track where and when your visitors are coming to your website. Use special web only phone numbers and web specific offers to track if your new clients originated on your website.

Remember your website should be just one part of an online client attraction system. Now go and fix yours!