Calls that promote a marketing opportunity vs. good will
The decision to market your services is a personal one and needs to be planned.
One must distinguish between marketing through advertising and public relations.
"Public relations" is, in effect, a way to promote "good will" for your business.
Many of the promotional opportunities that come in the front door are really opportunities to support other organizations in your community.
These opportunities, in turn, can promote good will toward your business. These promotions may or may not result in direct promotion of your veterinary business. These promotions are, for the most part, general in nature and are not directed to the animal owner. However, 'good will' itself generates awareness and an image within your community that can lead to secondary referrals from non-pet owners. This is highly desirable and often overlooked.
External marketing offers
Marketing is something with which the veterinarian needs to be proactive about and not reactive.
Other than the usual marketing outlets such as the Yellow Pages, there are any number of companies or institutions out there that want to "help" you react to your external marketing efforts. Most of these offers come in by phone or by unsolicited arrival at your practice door. Among these are:
As mentioned, some of these are really public relations opportunities. Sometimes potential clients (a local unpaid sales force) will come calling to promote their own special interest organizations. These are golden opportunities to create good will.
You will also be surprised that a number of these people will become clients or spread your name to others. "Word of mouth" promotion is still the best and most effective form of promotion.
On the other hand-be wary
Be very careful with many organizations that say they have opportunities that are 'indispensible' ways to grow your business. It should be said that some of these promotions are valid and helpful to many businesses. However, a veterinarian must carefully evaluate what his or her objectives are and the type of image that you need to be promoted. Therefore, tread lightly and be wary of the following:
A final charge to the uninitiated