By Nancy Lim
There’s no denying that veterinarians are dedicated to their craft. Animal care is complex and leaves little time for marketing—after all, a veterinarian belongs in the field, not at a desk.
Regardless of the difficulties of veterinary work, owners will accept nothing less than the best for their pets. Ninety percent of pet owners regard their pets as family and have the same health care experience expectations as they would for a child or spouse. Confusing or inconsistent advertising can dissuade pet owners from a choosing a veterinarian—there’s no kidding around with animal health.
Some veterinarians are prioritizing better companion care through partnership with third-party providers. While outsourcing the business side of a practice alleviates major marketing responsibilities, as well as other routine tasks like accounting and human resources, it does not solve the entire problem for vets. If these campaigns are still based on gut decisions rather than data, there’s little opportunity for vets to improve their marketing efforts over time.
Call-tracking and analytics solutions remove the guesswork from attribution, even between online and offline efforts. As vets begin to understand which marketing channels are actually driving leads, they can adapt their advertising strategies to both boost business and facilitate a more enjoyable experience for customers.
Veterinary applications of call-tracking software
It’s not uncommon for veterinarians to run ads across multiple channels. Pet owners are a diverse demographic, and vets can engage them through phone books, local publications, digital and print ads, and more. But this makes it hard to collect and analyze data about marketing campaigns, especially for vets who have little time to dedicate to the endeavor.
To simplify vets’ lives, call tracking reduces marketing unknowns like the following:
Where customers are coming from
Because healthcare is an appointment-based industry, call tracking can be extremely beneficial for veterinarians. With call tracking, they can determine which marketing campaigns result in the highest number of scheduled appointments—a top metric for vets.
By assigning a unique, dynamic call number to each campaign, insights can get even more granular, such as how many of those who scheduled appointments kept them, and which channel they originated from. Not only does this information allow vets to make data-driven decisions about where to spend the advertising budget, but they also help them overcome outdated assumptions about how pet owners seek out care.
For example, a vet that’s funneling major resources to phone book advertising may discover that this channel is generating few leads. Conversely, while a vet may not predict much success from a website like Yelp, call tracking can prove whether this assumption is true.
As vets appropriately redistribute their advertising spend, they can begin to understand how today’s pet owners research and pursue animal care. Business from millennial pet owners, for example, may stem strictly from digital channels like Google organic search or Twitter. However, older generations may prefer physical channels like a direct mailer. Veterinarians with target audiences can use call tracking to better understand their customers’ desires, and then reflect these behaviors in future marketing efforts.
What customers are really thinking
Armed with call-tracking software, veterinarians can record calls with customers to earn valuable qualitative feedback.
In addition to knowing where pet owners are coming from, it’s important to understand what’s motivating their behaviors. Are customers choosing to schedule appointments online because it’s efficient, or are they trying to avoid a vet’s unfriendly in-office staff?
Surfacing specific insights like these can be the difference between single and repeat customers. For example, if pet owners are avoiding interactions with staff members, this reveals an opportunity to improve the customer experience through additional training sessions. Perhaps employees could benefit from more customer service education, or they need to be better informed about routine veterinary tasks like ordering prescriptions.
Opposable thumbs or not, picking up the phone—and the interactions that happen after—plays a crucial role in animal care. Thanks to intuitive call-tracking software, veterinarians can earn information about pet owners at a volume and scale never before possible. Whether managing marketing internally or outsourcing it to a third-party partner, call tracking should be a part of every veterinarian’s advertising strategy.
Nancy Lim is the director of marketing for CallRail.