Bouncing on the Rebound: Time to Get Ready
When I am not creating on a computer, I am digging in the soil, after the ground thaws in Minnesota. To use an analogy, COVID-19 has been like a deep, cold Minnesota winter where everyone retreats inside to wait it out. When spring nudges us back outdoors and the warm winds caress our skin, we think about growth and renewal, just like the world remerging from COVID-19 isolation.
To prepare my garden, there is prep work to set the stage for a bountiful, lush garden. The same goes for a veterinary hospital coming out of a pandemic. To emerge into our world, now we need to clear away the old, stabilize our structures, make sure there is plenty of room for growth, and communicate with the people who matter to our business. With strong underpinnings, a business has a better chance of bouncing back more quickly. Here are some things to check and/or consider when preparing for the “bounce back.”
Communication. Over-communicating is not possible during times of stress and uncertainty. Plus, not every person reads every communication platform every day, or ever. Each time there is a change to how a hospital offers its services, be it office hours, services allowed, or if a practice is open, communication needs to happen. Even discussing what is upcoming is an important factor in keeping tails coming through the door. If a business is closed right now, but knows a reopen date, they should not wait to communicate this change until the day it happens. Instead, they should start telling people beforehand, and communicate that appointments are being taken for that time. The internet provides multiple areas for communication to occur. For example:
- Pop-up on hospital’s website – Hospitals should make sure that a pop-up is up to date with the current practices. If not using a pop-up, it is a good time to consider adding one. A pop-up is a small screen that shows up immediately when a pet owner visits a website. They have to click to close the window in order to see the rest of the site.
- On hold messaging – A place many people forget to update is the on hold messaging for the hospital’s phone system. Hospitals should make sure to plan far enough ahead (if possible) to have the most up-to-date message recorded. Even better would be to have a few variations on hand, depending on the current environment.
- Blog – A blog is a perfect place to educate people on considerations for their pet’s health now and in the future. This pandemic has cleaned out adoption centers across the USA. What happens to these pets when pet parents go to work? Articles about transitions and learning behaviors to implement now can be very helpful to future and current pet owners.
- Facebook – People, in droves, have flocked to Facebook during this time. Humans are craving connection amidst isolation. Communicating with pet owners on Facebook is a good way to reach them in an informational, educational, and engaging manner, and can really keep a hospital’s brand fresh in their minds. It’s important to share pictures of the staff working hard, including the pets they are seeing.
- Google – Less people advertising during COVID-19 means lower cost to place an ad on Google. Think of it as a sale going on with Google Ads. This opportunity can be taken advantage of to let people know the status of a practice, services offered, and how they can engage with a practice.
- Newsletter – If a hospital has email addresses for their customers, then reaching out via a monthly newsletter to show pictures of the team, heartfelt stories, a list of services that are being provided, and any information about upcoming changes can help solidify messaging that is being seen about the practice on other platforms.
Platform check. Everything since the beginning of March has been a bit of a scramble, and this includes major businesses. For example, Google was making multiple changes daily to Google My Business and Facebook was making rules about what could or could not be advertised. Tools of the trade, such as Google Console, Google Analytics, and search engine optimization software also went through multiple iterations to adapt to the extremely fluid time we are living in now. Some time should be set aside to comb through these tools to make sure everything is positioned to reflect the current status of the business. Hospitals should make a note to keep checking back as the business shifts into yet another new normal.
Finally, marketing is working. Here at Beyond Indigo, our team is watching the numbers to keep tails going through doors at veterinary hospitals. For March, we saw that even though it was, and still is, a tough time in the world, there were successes showing for practices who have stayed open, and are marketing and communicating with their clients. For example:
- One client had more conversions this quarter than any other quarter since August 2017.
- Another client also brought in more conversions than they have since they joined with Beyond Indigo in the last quarter of 2017.
- One client actually tripled the number of conversions they had in the first quarter of this year.
- One client had 445 phone calls in March 2020 alone. This is a 51 percent increase over last year.
- Another client had a 127.27 percent year-over-year increase in New Client Form submissions. This resulted in an estimated $7,500 in new business for the practice.
- In February 2020, one of our clients got 1,830 clicks on an ad with a $0.54 Cost Per Click (CPC) average. In April 2020, this same client got 2,555 clicks with an average CPC of just $0.27.
- One client experienced a 410 percent increase in Facebook ad impressions.
- Yet another client got 59 New Facebook Page Likes in March (up 96 percent from February), saw an engagement rate of 7,323 (up 183 percent from February), and saw an 1,180 percent increase in ad impressions from February!
Beyond Indigo is here to help you and your business through the uncertainty of COVID-19. Our full-service marketing packages make it easy for you to maintain a relationship with your current clients and reach out to new clients so you can grow. They adjust as your goals shift, which allows you to see results and not to-do lists. We are here to help whether you are open, reopening, or adjusting to the new normal. Call 877.244.9322, ext. 100, or go to https://www.beyondindigopets.com/contact/.
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Kelly Baltzell, M.A. is President and CEO of the Beyond Indigo family of companies which she founded in 1997. Beyond Indigo is a full-service marketing company focusing on Search Engine Optimization, is a Google Adwords Partner, Social Media Marketing, Online Reviews and websites. She has been a monthly columnist for MWI Animal Health since 2011. She has also has presented and been published in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the UK.