(This article is a 6.5-minute read)
THREE THINGS YOU’LL GET FROM THIS ARTICLE
1. Where to find meaningful veterinary marketing statistics for your website
2. Two graphs that show what your numbers should look like
3. Where you should concentrate your social media efforts
It seems reasonable to ask for proof that a type of marketing works before you spend money on it. Veterinary practices can spend anywhere between one and 10 percent of their revenue on marketing. But when you search for veterinary marketing statistics that show what works, you hit a wall.
The major reason for this is very few practices measure the marketing they are doing. If you are like most, you are slinging $500-or-so to a digital agency. They might say they are spending it on pay-per-click advertising online every month. You know the money is going out the door. But you have no proof that people are walking in with their pets as a result of it.
So benchmarking the effectiveness of different types of vet marketing gets very difficult. Luckily for you, there is one vet practice you can and should benchmark your marketing against. Your own.
The best, most up-to-date data you can get on your website is from Google. There are other tools that can help you gather more detailed stats, but in the short term, Google is your friend. If you haven’t already, you should register your ownership of the site with Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
There is no other company in the world that crawls the web as frequently or as comprehensively as Google. And you can get a real-time assessment of how many people are looking at your site right in your Analytics dashboard.
To get an idea of the impact a new blog post is having on your site statistics, just take a note of when you publish and promote the post. You will see a graph which shows any spikes in traffic. If you publish and promote blog posts regularly, your graph will look like a mountain range. A bit like this:
Over time, you want to measure the troughs in that graph, not the peaks. Measuring the troughs will give you an idea of the slow and steady growth of your regular traffic.
You can get more detailed data on who is using your site from one of the marketing automation software packages. There are many of them, and they range in price depending on the level of service you’re using. We use HubSpot on this site, but do shop around and check out their competitors as well.
What these software packages can do is match the IP address of a computer visiting your site to an email address that visitor has already given you (if they have subscribed to your newsletter for example).
Obviously, this service isn’t going to help if you’re not capturing email addresses. You do that by having a simple form on your site asking people to sign up to receive a ‘healthy pets’ newsletter. Make sure you actually give them said newsletter.
Once you start capturing that information with the marketing software, you will be able to see a graph that shows how many visitors you are getting to your site, and how many of them become leads. It will look something like this:
Putting all your money and effort into gathering an audience on social media but NOT bringing them back to your site is foolish. Yes, the audience is there on Facebook. But they are not your audience. They are Facebook’s. And Facebook will charge you, as a business, more and more money to reach them. If you don’t pay, your audience will just never see your posts.
What’s the difference between a paid, ‘boosted’ post on Facebook and one that is just served ‘organically’ (or for free)? Well, on some of our sites, we’ve got an organic reach of 8 people—as opposed to a paid reach of a thousand.
It just makes good financial sense to encourage people away from something you don’t own, and towards something you do own. Unless you own Facebook, that means getting them to visit your blog. And yes, it has to be hosted on your website.
By tracking and comparing your statistics over a period of time, you will get an idea as to whether your online marketing is effective. Of course, you also need to measure how many of the people who come to your website end up as customers. There are ways to do that, including asking clients where they found you when they book. You can also set up specific landing pages on your website and steer readers towards them. Those landing pages can either include a booking form, or some other form they can fill out to find out more about you and your services.
Once you know how you’re actually performing, you can start the task of figuring out how to improve that performance. Before that time, you’re just throwing your marketing money away.