(This article is a 5-minute read)
THREE THINGS YOU’LL GET FROM THIS ARTICLE
1. How veterinary content marketing is different to advertising
2. What clients are actually buying from you
3. What sets your clinic apart from competitors
Veterinary content marketing is different to advertising, even if the ultimate aims are the same. You want people to bring their pets into your clinic, because you want to help the pets, and because that’s how you make a living. You know what you’re selling, and you use ads to sell those products and services. The content approach is different, though, because if focuses on what people are buying.
They’re the same thing, though, aren’t they? Well, no, they’re not.
If you look at your practice from the outside, and compare it to your nearest competitor, you’ll probably look the same. Your signage, your staff uniforms, the layout of your waiting room … they’ll all be pretty similar. What’s more, if someone runs in with a vomiting dog or a cat with a broken limb, you’ll probably treat the problems in a similar way to the vet up the street.
From a customer’s point of view, then, you’re offering a commodity.
How could they distinguish between what you do, and what the vet up the road does? It would be like standing in the supermarket, comparing different brands of orange juice. They’re all orange. They’re all juice. May as well go for the cheap one, because there’s no other difference between them.
There’s a small part of me that hopes you’re a little insulted by that last paragraph. Because I know, and you know, that you are different from the vet up the road.
Your knowledge and authority comes from years of study, and a gruelling and underpaid apprenticeship, and your own lifetime of fascination and love for animals. No other vet has the same mix of experience and passion that you do. Even if they have the same degree. They haven’t lived your life, or learnt the things you’ve learnt.
But instead of sharing that with people, you’re buying ads to sell pet grooming, or other company’s flea and tick treatments.
There’s nothing wrong with selling that stuff. They’re among your products and services. But if they are the only things you promote about your practice, you’re on equal footing with everyone else who is selling the same thing.
When you look at the really successful and admirable vets in the profession—the Howard Ralph’s and the Rod Straw’s and the Rick Fenny’s of the business—they’re (mostly) selling the same products and services as you. But the thing that makes them stand out is their authority.
The content marketing approach to promoting your clinic can be done well or poorly. When it’s done well, the content on your website—the articles and videos and whatever else—uses your unique knowledge and experience to help people recognise problems. Your content can tell them good news stories that no-one else knows.
When done badly, by the way, it just talks about stuff people can buy from you.
Veterinary content marketing is a process of sharing useful, entertaining, interesting content with people who, in return, give you their trust. You can’t cram that kind of information into a two-line Google Ad or a tile of Facebook.
You can’t demand trust and authority from people. And it’s foolish to expect it. It can only be given to you. But you can use your knowledge and expertise to help people give you their trust. And following on from that, they will give you their business.