What veterinary marketing is really all about…

14 June 2022 6 min read


In the world of veterinary practices, your day is consumed with, well, treating pets and animals. That is your first priority – any matters relating to commercial aspects or things like veterinary marketing, are often secondary. Especially for independent businesses, you might not have the commercial resource, expertise or budgets to go all out on promotions and marketing efforts. Not to mention, the good ol’ “having enough time to do many things at once” dilemma.

And yet, it’s likely that your directors, clinicians, client relationship manager and practice manager already understand the value of veterinary marketing – to have a strong brand presence, maintain a positive image, drive more revenue; and the ability to attract new clients as well as retain existing customer loyalty.

For practical purposes, we could give you veterinary marketing blether (Scottish word for nonsense chat!), but we’re not going to overwhelm you.  Instead, we’ll lay out high-value tips you can easily implement that will help your practice. At the end of the day, it’s about making it easy and simple. As with our technology, we want to embody that value and practice what we preach, so here are five key things you can implement almost immediately to have a positive impact on your marketing efforts and key promotions.

1. The importance of a Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Before even marketing and promoting your products and services, it is important that your team have defined what is unique and different about your practice in the first place. What is it that sets you apart? Although your customers often choose vets that are close or nearby to where they live, the millennial generation (the highest portion of the community likely to own a pet) are now very picky and selective about the products and services they consume. So you will likely have competitors, perhaps two or more other clinics around. 

When you’re first starting out or even if you’re experienced and established, consistent messaging from your USP base should be the crux of all your communication. For example, we have one client, that prides itself on having a rich background of experience in surgeries and medical knowledge over 55+ years, to treat a variety of different patients. There are many ways you can differentiate yourself and that can be through:

  • Staff experience
  • Ethos, mission and values
  • Practice focus (animal speciality)
  • Approach on type of client experience and technology
  • Green credentials e.g. fully digital experience, paperless etc
  • Products and services offered (pet health plans, integrated insurances etc)

Just ensure that all your messaging and communication, whether via emails, SMS, social media or direct mail contains your USP and consistent story. This is how you maintain your brand and reputation.  If you find it’s not working or not resonating, it’s time for you to adjust or change your veterinary marketing message. It is about the impact and making your mark, understanding what will make a difference and stand out for your customer.

2. Appointment reminders and automated communication: an easy win for existing customers

According to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), one out of every ten to eleven appointments are missed. Although this is an American statistic, global results are similar. This could amount to 225 no-shows over the course of a year. This can result in cumulative lost revenue as well as a disrespect for other patients who could’ve taken that spot and/or vet time.

By using your PMS, you can use automated reminders that will help reinforce the vet-client relationship and the importance of regular health care for pets. Automating your PMS means you don’t have to rely on staff to send out key reminders or critical messages. You can easily set up a series of reminders to be sent via multiple channels, like email, text or postcards, and link these to an online booking system. This way, your client is more likely to receive the reminder notification, and if they can’t make the scheduled time, they can re-book it quickly and easily for one that suits them better.

Not only will your team be freed up to focus on the pets and clients currently in your clinic, the number of animals seen during the day will more closely match the full availability in your appointment diary. Examples like our client, Cleveland Veterinary Clinic, show the impact and success of doing things like kidney disease reminders or promoting dental health programmes through automated SMS.

3. An optimised website and social media presence as user-friendly places for your customers

Every single human being always googles a product and service or at least checks out the website before considering any purchase. And these days, things have become so automated now, that potential new clients might have an expectation to book an initial consultation or first visit on your website, or even through an app before they consider going in. Even having to phone in, to some, might be considered too much of an effort (ok sorry, we’re not giving much credit to millennial or gen z buyers are we?). But indeed, websites and social media act as a first impression and first impressions matter. Often, we see many sites that are cobbled together, aren’t secure and lack a clear user-friendly flow or manner. VetDigital has put together a range of resources to help you build an engaged community around your vet clinic using your website and social media presence. Digital marketing is an essential part of attracting customers, so it really is worth speaking with an expert or hiring an in-house, dedicated practice manager with key marketing skills and website building experience.

veterinary-marketing-ian-shapland-vetdigitalIan Shapland, Co-Founder of VetDigital shares his thoughts:

“Your social media and website should work seamlessly together to engage your clinics community, across smart phones, iPads and computers. Whether you’re looking for direct client engagement for appointments, a resource of support information for their pet care or indeed a window to your clinic for prospective future staff. An active engaging website and social media presence always keeps you a vital part of your community.”

4. Pet health plans and wellness income

When it comes to veterinary marketing, pet health plans, bundles or wellness programs are a guaranteed way of more regular income because, once again, millennials and pet-parents are more invested than ever in their furry companions. They’re willing to pay for proactive and preventative health as opposed to reactive or when it’s too late to treat their animals. A prime example of a good pet health plan looks like RVC’s offering. As it outlines, it is not the same as pet insurance as it covers regular treatment and takes care of routine requirements that a pet will need throughout its lifetime, which is different to emergencies, accidents and illness. It is often agreeable for the pet parent and affordable for them. It is a win-win, since it’s a subscription-based model, is more manageable and expectations are set in place for all parties.

In our inaugural podcast episode with Rory the Vet, a key influencer, he highlights that the industry shouldn’t view monetisation as evil:

“I hate to monetise it, but they’re there to spend money. Whether it be the organic dog treats on the shelves or veterinary care, they’ll do anything for their pets. We cannot criticise them, and we need to support them and want the best for their pets. The downside is that they expect more. Sometimes we’ll struggle to show our care, especially under the stress, but we should be invested in every patient.”


5. Segmenting your audiences and target them with irresistible, personalised offers

Marketing doesn’t exist without segmenting your audience. And then using personalisation to erm, well provide personal offers.  Here is where you can create special offers or create enticing “too-good-to-miss-out-on” services which are tailored to species types or disease types (your different audience segments.) In tip no. 2 above, the veterinary practice uses Kidney disease reminders or promotions specifically for their dental health program. Or you can offer mandatory vaccination/booster offers for example. It can be really creative and offer something compelling where you can use things like:

  • Free first consultation
  • 30% off your wellness plan (for the first year)
  • Combo pack (after 3 check-ups, get a free grooming session)
  • 20% off flea treatments

These can either be separate or complementary to your pet health and wellness plans and should be a key consideration for how you market and promote your products and services.

Your practice management system can help you manage offers, packages, product bundles and product pricing. You can also have it all interlinked to your inventory management system so that your team have full control and transparency over what’s selling, what needs to be replenished and what’s not shifting. Overall, it can be a conduit and key channel for all your veterinary marketing efforts. 

The reporting functionality also allows you to see what’s popular, what are best sellers, which employees are performing best in upselling and cross selling. The possibilities are endless when it comes to veterinary marketing and we encourage you to think in a limitless way. You should also talk to and work with your practice management provider to help you gain key insights on performance as well as understand how the system can help you with your automated communications and marketing potential.

If you’re looking for a connected-vet and holistic experience in managing your veterinary marketing and communication, where it’s not considered as an “additional thing to take care of”, talk to one of our key experts today.


* Required fields

Talk to an Expert

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.