It’s not about getting more followers. It’s about getting more clients... - Veterinary Practice
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It’s not about getting more followers. It’s about getting more clients…

Paul Green explains why specific marketing is far more valuable to your practice than likes or visits to your website and suggests six areas to track.

SO YOU’VE NOW GOT 1,600 FANS OF YOUR PRACTICE ON FACEBOOK, AND 917 PEOPLE FOLLOWING YOU ON TWITTER, and 258 people who have given you their e-mail address for your newsletter, even though they aren’t yet clients.

You might feel excited about that… it will have taken a lot of work to get that level of visibility and human engagement. But the reality is there’s nothing to celebrate. Yet. None of those figures matter one bit, because they’re not the most important marketing metrics.

It’s possible to become a bit “lost in marketing”, especially if you go to lectures where marketing experts are talking about the latest shiny tactics.

Woo… Pinterest… how exciting! But actually, irrelevant to you, because the real measure of marketing success comes from the number of new clients it generates for you. And also from the cost per acquisition. And the revenue generated per client. And the ultimate ROI (return on investment), measured by the profit generated by clients.

This is about finding the specific marketing that works best for your practice. That is both highly efficient and scalable.

In my experience, few practice owners think this way. Few will look at their marketing and say:

  • “How can I outspend my competitors in every conceivable way, to dominate the market and be the practice that wins more than its fair share of new clients?”
  • “How can I set up a sales funnel within the practice, so that every new client is encouraged to buy everything they need, and as much as they want from us?”
  • “How can I encourage every client to join our health plan, and give the practice small amounts of money every month (therefore turning them into bonded clients)?”

Most practice owners neither think nor act this way, and they don’t track the effectiveness of their marketing because they perceive it’s too difficult. Yet having a handle on the right numbers is critical.

Imagine you do a split test of two adverts, aimed at the same audience and using the same medium, but with different messages. Advert A costs £1,000 and generates 200 visitors to your website. Advert B costs £1,000 and generates 300 visitors to your website.

Which is the better performing advert? Most people will say advert B, but actually we haven’t asked the correct question. We should be asking which of those adverts has generated the most number of clients and new revenue.

Advert A generated 50 clients who spent £5,000, while advert B generated 40 clients who spent £4,000. So while advert A drove fewer people to the website, the quality of those people was better. Judged by end results, advert A has a better conversion rate and is the better advert.

When you judge your marketing by the correct metrics, you can increase spend knowing 100% that you will be increasing results. I don’t know about you, but that makes me very, very excited!

Here are five signs that you need to improve the way you track marketing spend and results:

  1. Your tracking is in your head. Or on Post-Its. Or relies on client recall (“where did you hear about us?”)
  2. You’re not sure which sources are driving which results
  3. You can’t see the direct connection between marketing activities and sales
  4. It’s not obvious where you should invest more marketing money
  5. You have no clarity on ROI

This doesn’t have to be utterly watertight or take up hours of your time every week, but you need a greater insight than you currently have.

There are six areas that you can track:

  • Brand awareness: traffic to your website. How engaged are people on the site? How many views do your videos get? Do they stay to the end of the videos, or do they click away out of boredom? What levels of social chatter are there about your practice?
  • Engagement: do you get comments on content? Do your clients like, share and tweet stuff about you? Do other businesses link to your website? This can have practical SEO (search engine optimisation) benefits.
  • Lead generation: how many people complete forms on your website? How many download case studies? How many give you their e-mail address in order to receive updates (few will do this, unless they are offered an ethical bribe such as a PDF guide, in return for their details)? How many people e-mail into your practice? Or pick up the phone to ask questions (which is actually a prospect telling you they want to buy, but they are confused about how to pick the right vet)?
  • New sales: how many new clients do you get a week? How many have come from digital marketing, compared to referred clients (always the very best source of new business)? What’s your CPA (cost per acquisition)? Which are your most efficient and productive lead sources? Where should you increase spend, and which forms of advertising do not wash their own face?
  • Retention and loyalty: how long do average clients stay with your practice? What’s the average spend? And average profitability per clients?
  • Increased spend: what else do they buy, or could they buy? Here’s an interesting question – what do other clients like them buy? And therefore, what could you target to sell to them? The greatest net profit increase in a practice is more likely to come from selling more to your existing clients than from getting new clients.

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