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Marketing new services at your veterinary clinic
If you've got it, flaunt it-especially when it comes to digital radiography and therapeutic lasers. Here are four tips to showcase new services.
Last month, you learned how to get your team pumped in this three-part series all about maximizing your use of the top pieces of equipment you said you were adding to your practice (according to the 2013 Veterinary Economics Business Issues Survey). This month, we’ll take a look at how to market the new services to clients.
Now that your team is revved up about your therapeutic laser, digital radiography or other new piece of equipment, it’s time to introduce the service to the most important people at your practice—pet owners. From your No. 1 fans to your once-every-so-often clients to the potential clients crawling around your town, adding a new service is a great excuse to drum up some publicity for your clinic and shout about your service for all to hear.
So what’s the best way to get the word out? Click next to view four steps to get you started.
1. Choose your words wisely.At Columbus Small Animal Hospital in Columbus, Neb., Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Dr. Jim Kramer, CVPM, said his team started out referring to their therapeutic laser as a “cold laser” to clients. They did this, of course, to differentiate the service from the laser surgery procedure they also provided. However, Dr. Kramer quickly realized that this was not the best idea. After all, telling clients, “And now we’re going to use a cold laser on Jack,” didn’t sound helpful or impressive.
Now his team makes a point to always refer to the treatment as laser therapy or therapeutic laser and pet owners see more value.
2. Be picky with your pennies. Dr. Kramer used to invest in newspaper ads to promote his practice. These ads showcased all of the services that differentiated his clinic from the rest of the pack. Soon, he came to the conclusion that this type of advertising wasn’t worth it.
“The newspaper was an inefficient way to reach pet owners who might be interested in our services—they might not even know which veterinary practice we are,” Dr. Kramer says.
Now that extensive list of capabilities—including digital radiography and laser therapy—are printed on individual signs that wrap all the way around the outside of his hospital (pictured below).
“The cost of all the signs was less than one year of newspaper advertising,” Dr. Kramer says.
3. Implement exam room education. Dr. Karen Felsted, CPA, MS, CVPM, president of Felsted Veterinary Consulting in Dallas, says a lot of marketing is going to happen inside the walls of your clinic. She says as soon as your patient needs a radiograph, this is the perfect time to reveal the big news to pet owners, “We’re going to need to take X-rays of Betsy’s leg. Oh, and did you know we recently updated our X-ray equipment? The images will be digital so we’ll get a much more detailed look of her leg and you can take the pictures home with you on a disc today. How cool is that?”
4. Find your place on Facebook. One of the easiest ways to promote your new service is to go where your clients spend most of their time—Facebook. Dr. Felsted suggests getting the most out of the digital radiographs by posting them online for other pet owners to see. (Remember to get permission from the client first!) Show an X-ray of a pup who ate 150 pennies or a cat who ate 15 hair scrunchies—just be sure to follow up and explain how you removed the items safely, she says. You could even invite clients to guess what the pet swallowed. Just remember to brag about how you took the super-clear image with your new digital radiography equipment.
To promote laser therapy at your clinic, you could explain how you used a laser to clean up a hot spot on a dog, Dr. Felsted says. Then show pictures of the hot spot before treatment, then two weeks later and then four weeks later. Finally, be sure to show the “after” picture of the completely healed pet. These are the kinds of stories that Dr. Felsted says you could easily snag for your clinic’s e-newsletter and website.
“You can incorporate a case study into almost any kind of marketing,” Dr. Felsted says. “It’s going to be a whole lot more interesting for your clients than just hearing a dry description of the equipment’s capabilities.”
Have your recently-added services attracted any new clients? As we wrap up our equipment series, keep the discussion going and share your experiences at dvm360.com/equiptalk.
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