Today's Veterinary Business

DEC-JAN 2017

Today’s Veterinary Business provides information and resources designed to help veterinarians and office management improve the financial performance of their practices, allowing them to increase the level of patient care and client service.

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29 December 2017/January 2018 • TODAYSVETERINARYBUSINESS.COM Let's look at each one. 12-Month Marketing Decide on 12 months of topics on which you want to educate clients. Then, create educational content, identify the clients who you think will take action and who have a pet in need, and design a call to action — something the client needs to do. Using available marketing tools, such as letters, postcards, email, text messages, your website, telephone calls or social media, tell pet owners what they don't know, why they need to act, and how you can help. A sample calendar: • January: Internal parasite prevention • February: Pet Dental Health Month • March: Jenny Craig Month (obesity awareness) • April: Pet population control • May: Flea and tick prevention • June: Traveling With Your Pet Month • July: Avoiding cat-astrophes (cat health awareness) • August: Summer scares (parasites) • September: Senior care • October: Cool weather alert (possibly pain or arthritis checkups) • November: Pet Dental Month redux • December: Holiday hazards Do I suggest marketing to your entire client base every month? Absolutely not. Twenty percent of your clients provide 80 percent of your profits. Focus on them. Fifty-five percent of your clients provide 95 percent of your profits. Focus on this group next. Remem- ber that young dogs do not qualify for senior care and that senior pets shouldn't qualify for spay/neuter month. Selectively choose the qual- ifying clients and educate them on how to be a better pet owner. They want to hear from you more than once a year at vaccination time. Breed-Specific Marketing Specific breeds come with inherent concerns and conditions that may present themselves at different stages of a pet's life. For example, there are young dog conditions: hip or elbow dysplasia, PDA (patent ductus), PCS or PSS (portal system- ic shunts). There are the any-age conditions: patellar luxation, KCS (dry eye), glaucoma, cardiomyopa- thy, cancer. And there are the elder conditions: cancer, hypothyroidism, diabetes. The conditions above may be more prevalent in certain breeds. Your action plan: • List the most common breeds you see and the most com- mon conditions you see in those breeds. • Generate educational pieces describing the conditions and risks and how your hospital can identify the conditions early and start treatment. • Search and sort your data- base by breed and then by age. Now, you have a group of young golden retrievers that you can target for hip or elbow radiographs. You have group of older golden retrievers that you can target for hypothyroidism. And you have a group of any-age cocker spaniels that you can market to for eye, thyroid or skin problems. Using the variety of marketing tools available, educate, educate, educate. Become their Doctor Goo- gle before they consult the other Doctor Google. Breed-specific marketing can be done monthly, quarterly or any other time you want. Internet Marketing Program Cat videos and puppy videos are cute. Cases that come to your practice are informational. Staff pictures are engaging. All of these are great posts for Facebook, tweets for Twitter or pictures for Instagram. As much as they can fill your social media platforms, they don't inher- ently come with calls to action. Here's what you can do: • Create a monthlong social media calendar and decide which days will be cute, which days will be educa- tional and which days will feature hospital photos. • Populate your social media sites with something every day or even twice a day. • Make sure about 50 percent of your content has an educa- tional component. It doesn't have to be blatant marketing. Try posts that start with "Did you know?" or "You'd prob- ably be surprised to find out that …" or "Teaching Tuesday: Today's message is …." • Generate at least one post a week that encourages action for the pet owner. Encourage them to share your posts. • Ask clients to post on your social media platforms their pet's veterinary success story. • Make sure you have a calen- dar full of ideas that engage, inform and educate your clients and potential clients. Follow-Up and Follow-Through This one is a no-brainer. How many rechecks don't come back for a re-evaluation? How many prescrip- tions don't get refilled for chronic conditions? How many therapeutic diets are dispensed once but never again? Don't let the simple things slip through the cracks. You need a follow-up and follow-through sys- tem to ensure consistent care. So, do this: • Identify which diets, pre- scriptions and ser- vices need ongoing follow-up. For example, weight checks for obese patients, thyroid medications, dental care rechecks, lifelong thera- peutic diets. • Create computer reminder codes that note the frequen- cy of re-evaluations or refills and link to the product, service or medication. • Each week, highlight the pa- tients that need to be seen or the products they need soon. • Reach out via telephone, email, text message or letter. In your communication, focus on the importance of main- taining the diet, prescription or follow-up care. Educate them about what may hap- pen if they fall off the wagon. It's Up to You The peaks and valleys in practice begin with variables outside of your control. Bad weather, the school year, a slowing economy and other things happen. Given the V-tach world we practice in, staffing and inventory manage- ment can become a challenge and profitability can take a huge hit. By integrating my advice above with other programs such as forward-booking and lost-cli- ent recovery, we can do a better job of educating clients about their pet's needs and encourag- ing them to act earlier. The key to treating the ventricular tachycar- dia plaguing our practice is get- ting your entire team onboard to educate clients and then reaching out and touching them. Dr. Peter Weinstein owns PAW Consulting and is executive director of the Southern California Veterinary Medical Association. Twenty percent of your clients provide 80 percent of your profits. Focus on them. Fifty-five percent of your clients provide 95 percent of your profits. Focus on this group next.

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