A closer look at marketing
It's called marketing, and many veterinarians have associated it with gimmickry that works to erode a veterinarian's credibility.
It doesn't have to be, Felsted says. And in this economy, word-of-mouth advertising (a well-accepted practice of marketing)
probably won't fill the 40 percent of empty appointment slots.
Table 5: Wellness examination trends
Markets are just too competitive, Felsted says.
Instead, practices need to be proactive about getting out in the community and promoting the necessity of veterinary visits
and wellness care. Education is marketing. So is talking about pet health and the quality of your services to clients, civic
organizations, television stations, etc.
Her point? Marketing extends beyond simply buying an ad in the Yellow Pages and/or building a website.
Most practices, according to the survey, are doing this form of marketing, but fewer are using free social media services
like Facebook (about 40 percent) or Twitter (4 percent) as a way to bulk up a practice's client base. Fewer practices are
advertising locally or working with shelters by offering a free first wellness examination to those do-gooders who adopt a
Look for ways to reinforce your role as animal expert, educator, healer and guardian of pet and public health. Guess what?
That is marketing too.
"There is a huge opportunity here on how we are reaching out to new clients," she says.
Selective discounting to attract new clients can be a very effective way to market your services too, she adds. Felsted is
not suggesting a sale or discount on all services, but she advocates discounting as a tool to open the clinic's doors to a
select, new client demographic.
"Get them in the door, and then bond them to your practice," Felsted says.