Let’s have a look at your marketing strategy as a vet practice. You might have a clear and user-friendly website for your practice. Maybe you are active on social media with a Facebook page and even an Instagram account. You might also be investing in Google Ads for higher rankings in the Google search results. But what about your email marketing? Let’s talk about that.
Why you should invest in email marketing
You might not realise it, but email marketing is still a very important aspect of your overall marketing plan. Mostly because it’s one of the most effective ways to drive traffic and generate conversions. But even when your opening rates and click-through rates aren’t as high as you wish they would be, email marketing still helps with your brand awareness. People will still get an email notification or see your email when scrolling through their inbox, which means brand exposure for you.
Another important reason is that emails deliver your message. At least 90% of all email messages sent end up in the mailbox of the recipient. And even though you might think of social media having the biggest reach, there are multiple algorithms standing in the way between you and your audience.
A third reason we want to mention is that with email marketing your subscribers have given you permission to contact them with content. This means your message will be much more effective than ads or other promotional content that gets pushed to your prospects.
How a vet practice can benefit from email marketing
Okay, so now we’ve made it clear why it’s important to invest in your email marketing, let’s have a look at what this exactly means for vet practices. There are a couple of different emails that vet practices can send out to keep their customers engaged.
First of all, there are the newsletters. These can be sent out on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis – as long as you have enough valuable content to offer in every newsletter. Newsletters can contain various forms of content, but are usually a summary of the latests news, updates, and some engaging content. Here are some ideas to include into your newsletter:
- Introducing a staff member
- The heart-warming story of the month
- Featured pet of the week
- Tips to keep your pet happy
- Checklists such as ‘5 types of dog food to avoid’
- The Vet Explains: (with typical questions such as why should I vaccinate my cat, or how to prevent lice)
- A monthly photo competition where you can send in photos of your pet to win a bag of treats
You can set up the newsletter like you want, just keep in mind what your customers would be interested in reading. You can evaluate if you’re on the right track by checking the opening rate and the unsubscribe rate.
Another type of email that would be very time-saving and beneficial for your vet practice are automated reminders of upcoming appointments. When pet owners book an appointment online, they’re often required to leave their email address. Alternatively, you can ask new patients that book via the phone to give their email address as well. If you integrate your email platform with your online agenda, you can ensure that the pet-owners get an automated reminder the day before their appointment – so you don’t risk no-shows because they forgot!
These reminders could also be sent to pets who have an upcoming vaccination. By creating a separate list for these pets, you can send their owners an email reminding them to book an appointment online.
Thank you email
Similar to reminders, you can send your clients an email after their visit to your practice. This gives you the opportunity to thank them for coming by, and you can also gather feedback through this email campaign. By including a short survey you can test customer satisfaction, and you can even include a link to different platforms where they can leave a review.
Other email automations
There are some other automations that you can set up for your vet practice. An email automation is an email or a sequence of emails that are sent after a certain event. An event can be that they read a couple of blog posts on your website, they viewed certain healthcare products on your webshop or they didn’t show up to their appointment.
Getting email addresses and segmenting your lists
In order to send out these different types of emails, you need email addresses. There are a couple of ways to get them, but the easiest (and most necessary for automated reminders and thank you emails) is asking for an email address when they book an appointment.
People who haven’t been to your practice might still be willing to leave their email address somewhere on your website. This gives you the opportunity to turn leads into customers by a strong email campaign. The most straight-forward way is to embed a feature on your website where you can let visitors sign up for your newsletter. Alternatively, you can create interesting content for pet-owners, such as ebooks or podcasts, and let them sign up for it with their email address.
Once you have a collection of email addresses, it’s a good idea to segment that list. By creating different ‘sub-groups’ in your email database, you can send every list more personalised and relevant content. Maybe you can distinguish between dog and cat owners, or put long-returning and loyal customers in a different list for promotions or other events.
The key is to make your emails as personal as possible. Using the First Name-tag (and maybe even their pet’s name) is a good first step, but when it comes to content you also want to make it as relevant as possible for your audience.