There is one question we like to ask whenever evaluating a marketing channel – is our customer at the point of purchase?

A customer is at the point of purchase if they are ready to buy a product. This usually means they are either searching for a product or standing in a store. These are the best people to market to because they need your product/service right now.

Let’s look at some of the channels local veterinarians or groomers can choose from to attract new customers.

Social Media

Social media is a powerful marketing tool. Big chains like PetSmart or Petco pour money into gaining likes and then pour more money into “activating” those likes (this means getting those likes to buy products). This makes a lot of sense for a retail business selling products that customers buy weekly or monthly. Their customers are always close to point of purchase so social media can tip them into purchasing.

This doesn’t make as much sense for a veterinarian or groomer. Your customers are most likely not at the point of purchase when visiting your social media page. More importantly, if you spend money on social media ads then you are getting in front of people who may have pets but are not actively needing your services at that moment in time.

Our advice – don’t ignore social media as a marketing channel, but don’t spend money here to try and find new clients.

SEO

SEO stands for search engine optimization. In plain terms, SEO helps make your website more visible for people looking for sites like yours. People are searching for your services and you want your website to come up at the top of the list when they do. Because there are many people competing for those top slots you can spend money to try and win the number one spot on Google.

The key thing to understand is that it takes a longer time to climb the search results, there is no guarantee that you will rank at the top, and you are up against all of the bigger guys in your area as well. We look at SEO in the same way we look at a blog – this is something that should come with your website.

Our advice – don’t do this yourself, don’t spend a lot of money on this, but make sure your website provider has best SEO practices already built into your website. 

Paid Search Advertising

Search advertising has many names: SEM (search engine marketing), PPC (pay-per-click), Google Ads, and Adwords just to name a few. It all means the same thing – your ad sits alongside the search results displayed to a prospective client as an advertisement. A bell should have just gone off for you. Done correctly, this form of advertising targets clients closest to point of purchase. More importantly, it only targets customers close to point of purchase. Every client who clicks or calls from the ad is looking specifically for veterinary services or grooming services. The benefit of these advertisements is that you can get even more selective and only get clients looking for very specific services like spay and neutering or full grooming.

The money you spend on search will be the most efficient, trackable channel and will immediately deliver you qualified clients if done properly.

Our advice – spend your money here but only if you can acquire a client for less than $100. Click here to learn more from one of our experts.