Getting New Clients Thru the Door
While practices continue to get better at measuring the success of various performance indicators in the hospital, there is still a need to measure what is working in getting new clients thru your door. Given the financial investment required for many of the ways you market your practice, it is important to know if you are getting return on your investment.
What is working for your clinic and what are you doing to ensure new clients are coming to you? Consider the following:
- Referrals: According to Nielsen, 92 per cent of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family over any form of advertising. Businesses that understand the importance of client referrals work to make sure their clients are happy by constantly by having efforts set up such as feedback systems or surveys to provide insights into potential improvements or areas in their client process that are causing the client to be unhappy.
Another way consumers get ‘referred’ is thru social media. For example, Kelly who is friends with Ashley on Facebook posted an update on how well her dog is doing after surgery at ABC Animal Hospital and how much she appreciates the veterinary team. Ashley just got a puppy and decides to go to ABC Animal Hospital since Kelly seems to love them
Generating more referrals for any business means putting the client first and providing them with the ultimate experience so they wouldn’t dream of going elsewhere. As Jeff Bezos CEO of Amazon says “Advertising is the price you pay for being unremarkable.”
- Signage: Making the most of the opportunities to promote your practice using your sign is important given the number of pet owners citing “walked/drove by” or “location” as their method for finding their veterinarian.
Signs can be an essential component of a business’s overall marketing strategy. Signs are also used to draw attention to promotions and to convey information about the business. Because an exterior sign is visible 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, its effect is continuous. For businesses that have limited marketing funds, signs can be a cost-effective form of marketing. According to the Small Business Association website, “the cost-per-thousand, a common method used to measure the cost of reaching a thousand potential customers, is much lower for signage than other types of advertising, such as radio, televisions and newspapers.”
In 1997, the California Electric Sign Association and the International Sign Association published the results of a survey commissioned from the University of California (San Diego). The results of the study showed that the number of signs at a particular site had a significant and positive impact on both annual sales and the number of annual customer transactions. On average, one additional on-premise sign resulted in an increase in annual sales revenues of 4.75 per cent. A second part of the study analyzed seven years of weekly sales data for Pier One Imports, a national chain retailer of furniture and gift items. The study intended to find out to what extent signage, if modified, added or removed – impacted sales. The results revealed when new signage was added on previously unsigned sides of buildings sales increased from 2.5 to 7.1 per cent and a new pole sign with the firm’s name impacted revenues from 4.9 to 12.3 per cent. Such signs effectively reached passing traffic. Researchers attributed this increase to enhanced visibility of the store’s new sign to passing traffic.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): It is essential for a small business to have a website but the greatest website in the world won’t be effective if it cannot be found. SEO is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results. Improving your SEO encompasses the actions taken to ensure your website can be found in a search engine’s results page when searching for words or phrases relevant to the content on your website. For example, if someone typed “veterinarian Hawthorne Village” in a search engine like Google, a veterinary clinic near or in the area wants to be sure the clinic’s website appears as a result of this search otherwise the pet owner will most likely find someone else. While fresh content and placing key words on a website will help, businesses frequently hire an expert in this area to help improve their visibility on the worldwide web.
Often, Consumers go online to seek out a specific business to find out more about them while also getting the contact information. When pet owners are looking for a veterinarian or looking for specific services from a veterinary practice (e.g. laparoscopic surgeries, underwater treadmill therapy), the practice should appear when a pet owner completes an online search.
Regardless of where the investment is made on marketing, be sure to ask anyone who either calls for more information or walks thru the practice’s door, how they heard about you. Track this information so you can be sure you are getting a return on your investment. When you discover something is not working anymore, evaluate and decide if it needs to be improved or if it is time to invest that money into the methods working to attract new clients.
By Terra Shastri, Manager of Business Development – Ontario Veterinary Medical Association
Posted September 7, 2018