If you’re a veterinary practice owner, practice manager or any type of consultant in the space, and you think you can use the same strategies this year to market a vet clinic that you’ve used in previous years!? I gotta be honest! You are wrong.

I’m going to break down 4 things you need to STOP doing this year... including a few suggestions I know will be a little spicy and controversial.

But listen – I come from a background of managing my family’s vet clinic. I can say.. we’re definitely in a new era where small businesses – and even some of the smaller corporate groups – need to get way more strategic. It’s time to build meaningful brand strategy and marketing strategies. (This is exactly what we do in our courses and coaching programs!)

Let’s break down 4 outdated veterinary marketing mindsets that just aren’t gonna cut it this year and what you can do instead. (These work even if you’re on a reasonable budget. No excuses here!) Watch the video below, or you can read the full blog!

1) Stop acting like Facebook is the only social media platform.

Facebook’s userbase is shrinking, especially when you look at Gen z and millennials. And Gen Z and millennials aren’t CHILDREN. As an elder millennial I’m constantly shocked by how people just assume we are 12 years old still. I wish I was – I’d be playing Mario Kart right now.

But seriously – Gen Z and millennials they actually represent up to 70% of pet owners, according to some statistics. And these generations treat their pets like literal babies. They’ll spend money! Unless your practice is next to a retirement community in Florida, you need to be looking outside of Facebook to market yourself or your veterinary practice.

I love Instagram for veterinary practice marketing. It’s great for daily connection and community engagement. Keeping your stories fresh and using a lot of video is going to be big this year.

Speaking of video, YouTube can be a smart move to build up a library of super searchable topics that will establish your expertise in your local market. It’s connected to Google, so people can find you in search!

I’m not going to dive into TikTok because I don’t think it has as many applications for local business. We can talk more about that for personal branding, which I will cover in future videos on our YouTube.

But really when it comes to choosing a platform to focus on this year, ask yourself:

  • Where does my ideal client spend time online?
  • What sort of content does my ideal client like to consume?

Then show up on platforms they use with content they like!

Bonus tip: Survey your existing clients to get some intel on where they’d like to see you. You could send out a Google form via email, or literally just have conversations with your favorite clients.

2) Stop marketing total BS!

Delivering a consistent experience – meaning what people see from you online or in real life – is integral to building trust.
You don’t want to catfish clients! If you make BS marketing claims on social media about how you deliver great service, but then your CSR doesn’t say hi? Awkward.

If your veterinary brand markets something online and it turns out to be BS in real life, it is going to break down trust on the big stuff. That pet owner isn’t going to take your recommendations, compliance drops, and they might even badmouth you online.

Marketing BS becomes an even bigger problem when we talk about recruiting talent to work at your hospital.

If you’re marketing that “you’re a family”, but you have a toxic team culture, that’s marketing BS. If you’re marketing that you start your vet techs at $25/hour, but your current team doesn’t even make that much, that’s marketing BS.

[Related: Want to attract talent with social media? Here’s how!]

After about 10 years of working as a marketing coach and consultant, I can teach you tons about creating a unique brand and strategies to market it. But if at the end of the day you aren’t holding up your end of the bargain… it will not work. You might bring a new client or a new team member into your practice, but they will not stay if your marketing messages and the real life experience don’t add up.

Stop and ask yourself:

  • What do I think is unique or special about our veterinary hospital?
  • How can I genuinely back that claim up?
  • Are we showing that authentically in our marketing?

Hopefully you find some special things you can highlight in your marketing to give it more personality. And if you’re finding a disconnect between what you would like to claim in your marketing, and what you can honestly, truly, claim… it’s time to look at those inner workings before worrying about marketing.

[Check out Rally by Hound if you’re looking for something to help you improve your team culture and keep your veterinary team engaged.]

3) Stop fearing your employee’s personal brands!

I know veterinary team members building their own brands online scares practice owners and managers. They worry about what people are going to post. But like.. phew – that says a lot about the people you’re hiring and the culture you have. You should feel confident that anyone who works for you is a responsible adult that can handle themselves online!

I know this idea also scares practice owners and managers because they see it as competitive with their business. Let me be clear: We need to get over the scarcity mindset BS in vet med where we think every single person is “competing” with us. There is enough business to go around, and it’s time to support each other.

Also, if you have an awesome team culture and pay well, that person probably isn’t trying to leave any time soon!

Letting your team build their own personal brands is smart because they can act as ambassadors for your brand online. You’ll reach more people through their audience, and you’ll only look better if you have someone whose seen as an “expert” online working at your practice IRL.

I’ve directly supported nearly 100 veterinary professionals in building their own online brands. I’ve seen the power they have, and I’m not the only one. We’re seeing big veterinary brands, like Veterinary Emergency Group, leverage brand ambassadors and influencers.

One of my former clients, Dr. Tannetje Crocker, is constantly promoting the VEG brand on her platform. It’s time to open yourself up to this concept, and check this channel for more content on how to build your own brand in vet med.

So ask yourself…

  • Who on our team might have an interest in building a brand online?
  • What topics are they passionate about or have expertise in?
  • How can I support them so this is mutually beneficial for both of our brands?

4) Stop thinking generic posts and emails are good enough

I’ve been railing against generic posts since I started consulting on veterinary marketing in 2013. But this year? I’ve hit my breaking point!

I see way too many people worried about keeping up with random pet holidays. I’m not seeing not enough people thinking strategically about posts that will actually help their ideal client. I also don’t see enough people worrying about creating marketing assets that will support the specific goals of their veterinary business.

I don’t know who needs to hear this but – your veterinary business’ goals aren’t the same as everyone else’s in vet med! So you can’t just copy and paste other clinic’s marketing strategies and expect a result.

Think about this – if a pet owner is going to choose a new vet, and everyone is just posting the same lame graphics about pet dental health month… how they heck are they going to differentiate which vet is for best for them and their specific needs?

Generic social media posts assume every pet owner is the same kind of person that wants the same thing – they don’t. And – super important – every vet clinic shouldn’t even want to serve every pet owner. You’re gonna end up super unhappy and burned out trying to please everyone.

Instead of being super generic with your content – get specific on who you want to serve and what they want to see. This is exactly what we teach you to do in our courses and coaching programs.

Ask yourself:

  • Who is my ideal client?
  • What information will they find helpful?
  • What kinds of things do they find entertaining or interesting?

From there, build out social media posts and email blasts that cater to them. Bonus points if you ensure the design and way the posts look really speaks to your ideal client.

At our agency, The Snout Group, we loooove to make gorgeous custom social media templates to attract your ideal client.

Ready to create your Veterinary Brand Formula™?

This year it’s time to stop being generic with your marketing. Embrace your team’s strengths, highlight what makes you unique, and talk to YOUR ideal client. When you get specific about who you are and who you serve and what YOUR goals are, that’s brand strategy!

Your brand strategy helps you come up with way more special posts that meet your unique business needs. And a bonus… having a brand strategy means you’re going to attract more of the clients you specifically like to work with when you cater to them!

We call our unique version of brand strategy your  “Veterinary Brand Formula™”, and it’s an invaluable business resource.