4 Strategies that get pet owners in the door


New research reinforces the power of word-of-mouth referrals in growing your veterinary practice.

We all know that pet owners consider location when they’re looking for a new veterinarian—and you obviously aren’t likely to pick up and move your practice anytime soon. But there are other factors that you can control when looking to expand your client base.

A recent survey study conducted by Diggo reveals that more than 80% of pet owners choose their veterinarian based on two primary factors. The first is their perception of you as caring, honest and trustworthy; and the second is recommendations from other pet owners (Figure 1). That means word-of-mouth recommendations are critical to growing your client base.

diggo chart

Figure 1. When asked the open-ended question, the majority of survey respondents cited two main reasons why they chose their veterinarian: honesty and recommendations from others.

And in today’s world, that doesn’t necessarily mean your favorite client is singing your praises at the neighborhood barbecue. Social media outlets amplify the power of your current advocates—and offer you opportunities to build relationships with potential new clients.

If you haven’t already, take these four steps to bump your practice’s word-of-mouth power:

  1. Set up a Google My Business page. It’s free, and it takes only a few minutes. When you complete this step, more information about your business is available any time local pet owners search online.
  2. Ask your most satisfied client each week to post a review of your practice. The first step a pet owner might take is a Google search, and with a little prep on your part, they could find your practice location, hours and positive reviews front and center.
  3. Add social media requests to your outreach efforts. A note asking clients to follow you on Facebook or inviting them to engage on some other platform is a low-cost, low-effort way to remind them that your practice is using social media, offers solutions there and wants to build a relationship.
  4. Ask for feedback. Give clients an easy way to tell you what they love about you, and also if you fell short in some way. You need to know what clients really think. If there’s a problem, that needs to be shared with the team. Send surveys, offer feedback forms on your site and share your email. The good stuff will give you a boost and you can ask those pet owners to share their joy more publicly. And any negative feedback gives you an opportunity to respond, minimize any broader damage and build a lasting relationship.

Of course, all of these strategies to connect with clients and potential clients give you a chance to communicate more information, more often. As you can see in Figure 1, clients choose their veterinarian both because they care and because other pet owners like them. So, think about how your practice’s messaging reflects your personality and philosophy. And evaluate the mix of content that you share. e-Newsletters and social media give you great opportunities to educate clients about their pets’ health needs, showcasing your know-how. And they also give you a chance to display your team’s compassion and the great relationships you build with pets and their people.

(Click here to request the full report.)

Kimberly Ness is a marketing strategist and consultant with Trone Research + Consulting, the brains behind Diggo. Diggo, the voice of the pet owner, provides veterinarians with an unfiltered, unbiased view of what today’s pet owners think about veterinary care and their pets’ health. For more Diggo research and reports, visit www.diggovet.com/.

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