Veterinary Marketing Should Begin With Direct Mail

How many of us have placed ads in the local paper, bought air time on the talk radio station or set up a booth at a local event simply because some local rep showed up at our office and told us how great it would be for our practice? Cut to a week or a month later and we fall back to reality wondering what went wrong. Our time & hard earned money had been wasted and we are right back where we were, minus the optimism. I know I have been the main character in this scenario more times than I’d like to remember! But that is all part of learning and, after one to many such situations, I finally said “enough” and decided to learn how to market! Now I want to show you how to bypass such mistakes and actually make money from your marketing efforts! This article will get you started toward that end result!

While there is more to marketing than just where you place an ad, here we are only going to speak about the method of getting a message to a prospective client. While I can now say with certainty that the message I was putting out to the public back then was just as wrong as the methods I chose, even the perfect message won’t work if its not delivered to the right targets in the right way and so that is where we are going to start.

There are only three marketing outlets that should be considered by any Veterinary Practice wishing to gain more clients. And these three methods should prove their worth before moving in to any other methods, if it even becomes necessary to do so! The three methods I speak of are: 1) Yellow Pages advertising, 2) Targeted Coupon Books/Mailers such as Val-Pak & 3) DIRECT MAIL. And, while I wholeheartedly believe that every practice must be in the Yellow Pages, if I could only choose ONE of these options, it would be DIRECT MAIL. Here are some of the benefits of Direct Mail:

* Direct Mail allows you to target your ideal clients specifically so you can place the exact message that you want them to see right into their hands! Compare this to hoping that your ideal client sees your TV spot or newspaper ad. That is powerful!

* Direct Mail is not limited by those rules & restrictions that the other advertisers place on you. Your Direct Mail piece can be a postcard or it can be a 20 page letter, depending upon what it is you are hoping to say to your prospect. You can include as much information, as many photos, as many testimonials, etc as you like. No one is going to tell you an image is too large or your font is too large. If you can afford to mail it (and it’s legal!) you can do it!

* Your Direct Mail piece can be made”lumpy” by including a gift in the envelope. This piques your prospect’s interest and increases the likelihood of your piece being opened & read! Examples include a toothbrush to promote dental month or a “tick twister” during tick season.

* If you are on a limited budget, you can mail as little as ONE LETTER. When you save up for that next stamp (or, preferably, after that first prospect takes you up on your offer, which we will cover in a future post, and your budget has increased exponentially), you can mail as many more pieces as you can afford as often as you can afford to do so! This rotating mailing schedule allows you to take action IMMEDIATELY rather than waiting around for enough clients to magically join your practice so you can finally afford to sign up for that Yellow Pages ad (and the monthly fee that comes with it).

As your practice grows as a result of your mailings you can decide whether you set up a monthly mailing schedule or continue to rotate your pieces weekly or even daily so your responses come in more consistently rather than in “waves”. There is no right or wrong answer and YOUR Direct Mail Plan depends entirely upon YOUR schedule, goals & budget rather than those of that local advertising rep who, in most cases, is nothing more than a sales rep (rather than an ad rep) in the first place.

That is it for now! Next time we will get started on WHO your target market is and show you how to find them & get your message to them! Email any comments or questions to [email protected] & thanks for reading!