Four marketing tactics to engage new pet owners

By Lara Fraser

9 April 2021 5 min read

 

Top tips on welcoming new pet owners to your practice

In Australia, across some states, pet ownership rates have nearly doubled year on year since the start of the pandemic. Unsurprisingly, young people have been the main driver for this trend. This new audience and the staggering rise in pet ownership have been shaping the way many veterinary practices are planning to do business post-pandemic.

In this article, we discuss some key marketing tactics for your practice when looking to attract, engage and retain these new pet owners now and in the longer term.

1. Connect with content

When your veterinary practice welcomes a new client, you have the opportunity to not only provide high-quality care but also to create a lifelong bond with both the owner and pet. Connecting with new pet owners by offering educational content is a great way to start building this relationship and trust. 

For a new pet owner, finding a trusted source of information and advice on their pet’s needs is a top priority. One way to engage new pet owners is to provide educational content which provides reassurance and answers to their frequently asked questions and concerns. The use of imagery or short introductory videos featuring your team can work well to welcome new pet owners e.g. “meet the team” or “what to expect on your first visit.” The use of short training videos or articles can also help position your practice as the go-to source of advice e.g. “toxic foods for your pet” or “when to visit the vet.” This type of educational content can help to create connections with new pet owners well ahead of their first visit by setting expectations and building familiarity.

Top tip: When creating your content ask yourself “Who am I creating this for?” “What challenges might they be facing?”
Where to promote: Social media, website, new client welcome email, newsletters.
Don’t forget: To ask for permission before using any content which features your team, clients or pets.

2. Build your community

Recent research has shown that more than a third of new owners said introducing a new pet to their family was like having a new baby, while about a fifth of families with children said training their pet was proving challenging. As well as providing your new clients with educational content, your practice has the opportunity to help new pet owners make connections through shared experience.

A great example of this is the Ashworth Veterinary Group, who launched “puppy parties” and online behaviour courses for “pandemic puppies.” The courses tackling common behavioural issues have been a hit, generating long waiting lists of new pet owners. By bringing similar groups together and facilitating a support network with which to share their stories, challenges and triumphs, you can help bond clients to your practice.

Looking ahead, many new pet owners will be looking to prepare their pet for post-lockdown life and more time alone. Encouraging your clients to come together to share advice across your social media channels could be a great way to continue to build your community.

Top tip: Practice social-media listening to identify the key concerns for new pet owners and tailor your messages to address and support them.
Don’t forget: To ask your new clients to follow you on your social channels.

3. Promote subscription services

As many customers embrace the subscription model across a wide range of industries, there is an opportunity for veterinary businesses to add new revenue streams while promoting preventative care. Since the beginning of 2020, there has been a dramatic shift to online purchasing of pet food and pet food delivery subscriptions as customers place increasing value on convenience.

Many practices have introduced or revamped their puppy and kitten pet clubs to target the influx of new pet owners. By offering subscription-based wellness services, pets can benefit from a specified range of services and owners can then benefit from greater convenience, support and delivery services. For new pet owners, having their veterinarian accessible is of the utmost importance, and they want convenient ways to have their questions answered. As such, pet care plans which also offer virtual visits with their vet can work well to engage this group in particular.

Top tip: When marketing, focus on the key benefits which appeal to young owners, such as affordability, ease of access and digital services.
Where to promote: In-person client interactions, social media, in-practice posters, website, targeted email, SMS, direct mail campaigns.
Don’t forget: To encourage new clients to sign up to receive your marketing communications.

4. Focus on personalisation

According to recent research, 90% of consumers report feeling positively towards companies when treated as an individual. When it comes to engaging new pet owners, a focus on the personalisation of care and services makes perfect sense. The next generation of pet owners are increasingly looking for veterinary services tailored to their preferences, with care and advice delivered to them digitally and conveniently. For veterinary businesses, there has been a movement towards using more personalisation in areas such as marketing, client communications and treatment reminders to stand out.

To build a stronger sense of personalisation of service, your practice can make use of client communication tools that offer automated email, SMS or direct mail reminders which include both owner and pet name as well as the reason for the visit. These kinds of personalised communications can work well to capture attention and help clients to feel seen and valued.

Top Tip: Offering your clients a pet portal where they can manage their pet’s profile, keep their communication preferences and contact details up to date, can be a great way to welcome new clients.

The increase and ongoing fluctuations in pet ownership will continue to impact veterinary practices and shape the way they do business in future years. Keeping a close focus on the needs and expectations of this growing audience will be key to success for many.

Find out how our client communication tools can help you meet your marketing objectives.

 

Talk to one of our experts to learn more

 
Lucille Labuschagne

Lucille Labuschagne

New client, Server & Rapport enquiries | Australia, New Zealand & Asia