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Feature Article

Why Marketing Matters

Easy Ways to Start Marketing Your Equine Practice
By Melissa Hruza

Article Archives LinkWhy Marketing Matters PDF

Midwest Equine Marketing Series

On first glance, marketing doesn't seem to have much to do with keeping horses healthy. When veterinarians start their practices, they don't think of themselves as "marketers." However, your equine practice does participate in marketing every day whether you realize it or not … and that's a great thing!


MARKETING IS ABOUT YOUR EQUINE PRACTICE

First of all, what is marketing? Marketing is the action of promoting your equine practice. When it comes down to it, marketing is about telling the story of your practice's value. The tricky part about veterinary medicine is that the value you provide to your clients is not tangible, like a product would be. Veterinary medicine requires really great communication about your services: your skills, the relationships you build with your clients and their animals, and the quality of care you provide.¹

MARKETING IS AN INVESTMENT

Secondly, why should you care about marketing your practice? Isn't it just another expense?

Actually, marketing is an investment and a very important one. Marketing helps to grow and sustain your practice in the following ways:

  • Bringing in new clients
  • Expanding your business with increased visits
  • Growing your revenue

Marketing your practice helps progress your clinic and provide stability. Competition is increasing. Marketing can help you stand apart from other equine practices and online competitors while maintaining financial stability.

The best part is that when you market your practice successfully, you can help more animals.

GROW YOUR
PRACTICE BY:


BRINGING IN
NEW CLIENTS


EXPANDING YOUR
BUSINESS WITH
INCREASED VISITS


GROWING YOUR
REVENUE


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1 Roark, Andrew. "Marketing Your Practice–and Yourself." Veterinary Team Brief. http://www.veterinaryteambrief.com/article/marketing-your-practice-and-yourself (accessed November 2014).


TIPS FOR MARKETING YOUR PRACTICE
Marketing Plan

Do not take on any new marketing projects before you put in place some kind of marketing plan. Your plan helps your team commit to implementing new strategies. Bring together some key members of your staff and start with a big goal for your clinic. Do you want to increase visits or bring in new clients? What about increasing compliance? Follow up by laying out a plan of how you can achieve that goal through promotion, communication with clients, advertising, or other methods. Of course, consider your budget upfront and try to attribute the cost of every step of the process.


Quick Tips:

  • Who: Think about your clients or potential clients. What brings clients to your practice? Try to narrow down how you would describe your typical client. Think about what type of clients you would like to see and how they would choose a veterinary practice for their horse.
  • What are you doing for marketing right now? What is working? What is not working and why not? Consider the messages you are sending and how you could expand communication about what makes your practice special. Be sure to leave room for experimentation. Also, don't forget to check out the competition's marketing strategies.
  • Where do you find your clients? Do not only communicate with your clients in the clinic or the barn. Try to find out where you can reach your current or new clients through radio, TV, Internet, or mail. You might also find your clients at horse shows, competitions, or other equine events.
  • When: Set timeframes. First of all, be sure to set times of year to get your team together and evaluate how things are going. Goals should be measurable within a certain amount of time, so pick a time to focus on the progress of your marketing plan.
  • Why: Evaluate how things went. Not everything you try is going to be a winner, and that's OK. Think of ways you can capitalize on those things that do work and expand them.

Image with Objective Advertising Marketing Identity Product

Branding

Branding is the representation of your practice as it is represented by images and ideas. It often includes your name, logo, slogan, or design.² Branding helps establish your practice as the expert in your field. Your practice's brand communicates the value of your services. A good brand provides the following for your practice: a clear message, credibility, an emotional connection, client loyalty, and motivates your clients. All of these elements are required for long-term financial stability.


Events and Outreach

Events are a great way to grow your relationship with existing clients and reach new potential clients. Try to find a few events you can attend every year. Don't just sponsor events, actually go out and meet new horse owners, too. Also, don't forget to invite your clients or potential clients to your practice for fun events like open houses or client education meetings where they can learn more about your staff and practice. It is just another way to communicate the valuable services you provide.


Social Media

Social media is the latest way to communicate with horse owners and promote your practice. When you join a social media site, horse owners can follow your posts or post their own content. It is a great and inexpensive way to build valuable interactions, but it is not without its down side. Be advised that social media is a two-way street. Just as you can put out information about your clinic, so can everyone else. So, decide where you will start your first social media page and stick with it. Talk to your staff members about social media. Create policies regarding social media and add them to your employee manual. Assign staff to respond to any comments or questions on your social media pages on a regular basis. Finally, be mindful of privacy and always get permission to post any personal information.³ As long as you consider these tips, you should be ready to get started!

Look out for more tips and tricks about managing your equine practice's social media in the upcoming Quarter 2 Midwest Grazer.


Want some quick tips and tools about managing your brand, events, social media, and more?


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2 "Definition of Branding." American Marketing Association. https://www.ama.org/resources/Pages/Dictionary.aspx (accessed November 2014). 3 Gavzer, Karyn. "5 hands-on tips to using social media today in your veterinary practice." DVM 360. http://veterinarynews.dvm360.com/5-hands-tips-using-social-media-today-your-veterinary-practice (accessed November 2014).

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