'Marketing' and 'Sales', commercial terms you may feel uncomfortable with.
Very often we discuss revising or creating a brand new website for veterinarians and the mention of marketing and sales is often greeted with some uncertainty. These terms seem to have have fixed meanings within the medical professions and as a rule are not looked upon favourably.
If you feel this way perhaps this might be helpful: If you think of 'sales' (often a sales team) as a football team with each goal scored a sale then where is the marketing? Well in this analogy the team manager represents the marketing department. It's the manager who decides the strategy for the game, which players to field and how to capitalise on the players strengths and overcome any weakness. Over the last sixty years or so this has developed into a hybrid science/art and one can be sure the larger groups you are competing with have a firm understanding of its advantages.
Professor Jerry Davies (President of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, 2011) once told me when he began in practice the RCVS would only allow a green bulb to be used as advertising and even then they restricted this to a 40 watt. I never could tell if he was pulling my leg." - AP Ed.
Marketing Veterinary Practices
For the layman, the veterinary profession have a somewhat altruistic reputation. Inter-practice business relationships are quite common and it's true that as a general rule clinics are accommodating and helpful to each other. So the imposition of sales and marketing requirements simply doesn't 'feel' natural. The commercial pressure is real and decisive. It is now having a profound effect, it seems the smaller independent practices are forming alliances and working partnerships to counter the large organisations.
Helping vets get ahead with their websites
Famous Websites understand the difficulties faced by the small and medium size veterinary practices, we know how busy you are, how a budget for promotion could be better spent on a new ultrasonic scalar for dentistry or a lamp for theatre. It's a tough decision. This is why value for money is critical, every penny spent on promoting your practice should be justified hence we develop systems that have a holistic aspect. Where possible investment in software should have more than one application. For instance, something as simple as a contact page could do more. Just by building a decision tree one can guide the reader so they find answers online without calling. They can email directly from your site with forms that go directly to departments rather than to one administrator who is then busied by delivering messages. A thoughtful design to the underlying system can save time and money. This is not rhetoric, it's proven that a business management system even at a basic fundamental level can still help reduce administrative burden dramatically.
Your website doesn't have to be a replication of a brochure, it can be an application in its own right serving your customers and helping your staff. It can connect to internal resources stored on your database and deliver specific content to individuals.
We recommend systems that will allow you to delegate administrative duties yet stay in control. Systems that can be updated quickly, are easy to use and have long-view upgrade policies so you can rely on them for future growth. For companion animal practices your website is one of the most important business interfaces available. If configured to lend support to the Reception and Nursing staff can improve the customers experience greatly.
Customer relations is an ongoing concern. Providing helpful information about your practice, treatments and medications may not only save you time during consultations but help pet owners engage better, improve pet care when nursing at home and even help with difficult decisions such as a loss. There are many modular business systems one can include such as e-commerce, scheduling and interactive customer support.
Next: Team building and staff retention
For helpful advice and an over-view of the latent potential of your own staff as a social networking resource please read the following article » here «