How to Set Veterinary Marketing Goals for 2021 and Beyond

Did you start 2021 with the goal of finally putting together a veterinary marketing plan but haven't started yet? If so, you are not alone. Many veterinary practices do not have a specific marketing manager, and this business initiative often gets pushed aside. Still, there are six months left in 2021 to create your marketing plan, and if you take it step-by-step instead of trying to tackle a distant, foggy goal, like "improving business," the process becomes much less intimidating.

Start by holding a team meeting to identify and write down specific, detailed goals your practice would like to achieve over the next six months. To help you achieve this, use these questions during your planning meeting to help your team land on the right veterinary marketing goals.

1. Who Is Your Marketing Target?

You first must decide whether your focus is to pull in new clients or enhance existing relationships. If you are looking to the former, you may target new puppy owners or potential clients searching for a specific service, such as acupuncture, for instance. To encourage existing clients to spend more money in your practice, you may advertise a new service or stress the importance of professional dental cleanings. You could also reach out to clients who have not visited your practice for more than 12 months.

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2. What Do You Want to Market?

Your plan will be most successful if you focus on specific services rather than trying to bring in more business through varied avenues. Read on for some specific services you may choose to highlight.

  • A new service or product: Have you recently added laser therapy or ultrasound capabilities? Spreading the word that you now offer a specific service will increase appointments and help you pay off equipment faster.

  • An underutilized service: Do you simply want to perform more dental cleanings or increase vaccine appointments? Decide how many more appointments per week you would like to see and set that as your goal.

  • Niche services: Is your practice the only facility in a 10-mile radius that sees exotic pets? Or, do you offer alternative modalities, such as stem cell therapy or acupuncture? Clients interested in these services will search for a practice that provides them, and your marketing plan can help them connect with you.

  • Seasonal needs: Do you want to ramp up parasite prevention sales during the summer? Marketing initiatives that educate pet owners about the diseases fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes can transmit may encourage clients to purchase a full year's worth of preventive products.

3. How Do You Measure Success?

If you want to determine success, you need a way to measure it. Check that your goals are measurable by deciding how you will determine their effectiveness. You might analyze specific key performance indicators (KPIs), such as the number of dental cleanings or ultrasound scans performed, and compare to the previous year to measure growth. Your practice management software can give you reporting on the specific services you want to track. Calculating your return on investment (ROI) can also be helpful to assess your plan's success. Evaluate KPIs and ROI weekly to determine whether you need to change tactics or stay the course.

Once your team sees that setting marketing goals is not so daunting, they will hopefully be eager to move on to the next steps. Take advantage of this motivation and momentum by scheduling monthly marketing meetings to prevent future opportunities from falling by the wayside. Start each meeting with an update of your current marketing goals, and discuss whether you should adjust the plan. Then, start planning for the future — 2022 will be here before you know it, and with a solid marketing plan, it might be your practice's best year ever.

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Sarah Rumple
Owner, Chief Creative Officer of Rumpus Writing and Editing

Sarah Rumple is an award-winning veterinary writer and editor. Since 2011, her work has focused on pet health/behavior and veterinary practice management topics. Her clients include individual veterinary practice owners, national corporations, nonprofit associations, media companies, consultants, and others. Learn more at sarahrumple.com.

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