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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64 Today's Veterinary Business VetPartners Corner Google Local, commonly referred to as the "local pack," is the newest change to the structure of the SERP, or search engine results page, and it receives approximately 50 percent of all clicks on the page. To do well here, you want to make sure you have fully optimized your Google My Business page, have a substantial amount of positive reviews on Google, have a well-op- timized and engaging website, and have a healthy amount of authori- tative inbound links. Organic SEO (search engine opti- mization) is the traditional listing on Google that most people are familiar with, and this category of listing typically garners about 30 percent of total clicks on the page. A strong SEO strategy involves having a well-op- timized website, a sound content strategy (promoted on social media), and healthy behavioral signals (one would be a lengthy average stay time for users on your site). Many more factors go into this, but I rec- ommend mastering the basics first, as this is the low hanging fruit. Paid advertising, also known as Google AdWords, appears at both the top and bottom of the page. This category typically gets about 30 percent of total clicks on the page. The substantial advantage to AdWords is that you control which page the search goes to based on the search being performing. So, let's say that someone is searching for "spay my dog near me" and your ad shows up. When the pet owner clicks on the ad, you should have it set up to go to a specialized "squeeze page" that is specifically about spay/neuter services. Ideally, in order to boost conversion rates from paid ads, you want to make the buyer's experience as contextu- ally relevant as possible. Consideration When prospects get to your web- site, the conscious questions they ask are "Who are you, what do you do, and where do you do it?" This isn't the real question they're asking, though. Unconsciously, they are ask- ing, "Can I trust you?" It's how well you answer this question that determines how effective your funnel's middle is. In order to evoke trust, you need to show someone that your interests are aligned and that you are fully capable of handling whatever prob- lem is thrown your way. This is why your website is so important now. Your website needs to serve both of these functions. Your website's design quality is a signal for how well you handle challenges in your busi- ness. And its message is your oppor- tunity to connect with pet owners on a deeper, visceral level and convince them that your values align. Conversion Turning motivation into action is conversion. In order to perform well at this stage in your funnel, you must recognize a simple tenet of human behavior: We are hard- wired to conserve energy. Essentially, the harder you make something, the less likely we are to do it. At all times, your website should seem temptingly easy to take a step forward. You want to make it seem almost easier for someone to act than to backtrack. One easy way to do this is by having a fixed header on your website. A telephone number inside a fixed header will be visible at any point. I highly suggest finding a plugin or code that allows you to fix a call button on the mobile version of your website as well. In fact, my company has seen that a clear plu- rality — if not an outright majority — of sessions on most veterinary websites is through mobile devices. Retargeting Even with a well-executed sales funnel, most prospects will fall out before reaching the bottom. Why? The timing just wasn't right. And so much in life is timing. Use retarget- ing to feed people back into your funnel when and where they fell out. Through a tiny snippet of code on your website, you can effectively serve ads to online visitors across the web. When someone demonstrates interest in your service, you want to make sure they don't forget about you. You should show up a couple of times a day for a couple weeks to gently remind them that they have a problem they need solved. And your advertisements should be sensitive to what they will likely find helpful. Where to Go From Here Start asking questions. How well-de- fined is your funnel? Is it just a loose amalgamation of disjointed strate- gies? Are the components effective? Are they measurable? Sincerely asking these ques- tions will serve you better than any article possibly could. VetPartners member Robert Sanchez is the founder and CEO of the digital marketing firm Digital Empathy. Founded in 2001, VetPartners is a nonprofit association dedicated to helping the veterinary profession improve practice management standards and elevate the levels of service, expertise, responsibility and professionalism provided by veteri- nary consultants, advisers and specialists. Learn more at www.vetpartners.org. VetPartners Corner Searching for "San Diego veterinary hospitals" returns relevant results under Google Local. Optimizing your practice's website will improve the odds that the hospital shows up on a local map.

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