As a veterinarian running a mobile clinic, you manage a unique business: You're able to offer many services when your clients need them, and where they need them.
This nontraditional system is incredibly valuable to those who require your services due to a lack of transportation, an emergency because they have pets with special needs or a veterinarian shortage in your area. While running a mobile veterinary practice definitely has a variety of specific challenges, marketing should not be one of them.
The Benefits - and Challenges - of Being a Mobile Veterinarian
Mobile veterinarians use two general business models. You open temporarily in a region to see customers, often announcing your location ahead of time on social media. This method lets your patients schedule appointments for their pets or show up at a certain time for general care - think routine examinations and vaccinations.
Being mobile also allows you to provide more personalized services, meeting clients at their homes or wherever they may be.
Rather than maintain a brick-and-mortar clinic:
- Being a mobile veterinarian helps keep operating costs down.
- You're able to serve multiple demographics over a wider area.
- You help fill in care gaps in areas with few, if any, operating veterinarians.
- Your presence can support area clinics that are routinely short-staffed.
- You have the option of managing all services yourself or outsourcing them, using a mix of an answering service, online forms, website chatbots and autogenerated reminders.
Veterinary Marketing Strategies for Mobile Clinics
Regardless of whether or not you have a physical clinic or your entire business is in your mobile unit, a number of low-cost marketing strategies can help you get the word out to potential customers and steadily grow your business. Although marketing can be intimidating, especially when you'd rather be focusing on your practice and day-to-day operations, it can be quite simple. Consider the following to maximize your marketing efforts to get the biggest return.
Today, an online presence is everything. Even if you have a brick-and-mortar location, your online storefront (a.k.a. your website) is one of your most important marketing tools, thanks to Google and other search engines.
People don't drive around looking for veterinarians; instead, they ask their friends for recommendations or simply Google them. A well-developed website can go a long way in terms of your marketing strategy. Throw in a social media presence and local listings, and you'll be getting calls from prospective clients in a matter of days. For all online marketing campaigns, keep your business name, logo, address and phone numbers consistent across all platforms.
To touch on all channels:
- Create a website: Make sure users can intuitively learn about your services. Also include multiple contact options - a phone number, email address and chatbot are sufficient - and provide an FAQ page with answers to common customer inquiries.
- Start with SEO: Make sure your website is optimized for terms like "veterinarian" and "veterinary clinic" plus your city or location.
- Claim and optimize your Google Business Profile: Check all information for accuracy, upload photos and provide information about your services.
- PPC: Amplify your search engine presence with pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, which adds additional visibility on top of your search listing and Google Business Profile.
- Facebook advertising: Target animal lovers and pet parents in your region with paid Facebook ads highlighting your services.
- Manage your organic social media presence: Existing and prospective customers want to know where you'll be - and on which days. Regularly update your Facebook and other social media profiles with this information while running contests, highlighting discounts and advertising giveaways for promotional products.
Effective Use of Promotional Products
Promotional products are one of the most essential tools for low-cost marketing - including for veterinarians. These tools help your name and logo stand out and remain front-of-mind for your prospects and customers. You can easily leave a lasting impression with a practical physical object including your mobile clinic's name and contact information.
For veterinary marketing, great examples of low-cost, effective promotional products include cute gift bags, calendars, waste dispensers, magnets and business and reminder cards. Promotional products for mobile veterinarian clinics can come in many forms, so you can easily pick and choose which solutions work best for you and your business.
Ask any business owner, and they'll tell you that one of the easiest ways to gain business is to establish a strong local network through a referral program. This cost-effective marketing option for veterinarians can be done by taking advantage of connections you have with local animal shelters, pet stores, animal rights groups, groomers and any other business that supports the well-being of animals.
Using postcards, sponsoring events and directly reaching out to discuss partnerships will inform businesses about your mobile services, help you lay the foundation for a long-term relationship and start to bring in more customers. As a "thank you" for word-of-mouth marketing, you could always offer discounts or freebies to current clients.
There are many positive aspects of running your own mobile practice. From working at your own pace and creating your own business model to providing many of the same services without the overhead of rent, you will find that a mobile practice can be fulfilling and extremely lucrative. A strong and effective marketing strategy makes that happen while helping you generate income and gain a competitive edge.