Mom's veterinary marketing hack

Mom's veterinary marketing hack

Inexpensive postcards and personalized messages from Mom beat computer-generated welcome packets any day to wow new pet owners in our area.
Mar 27, 2017

Thanks, Mom! No, seriously ... my mom helps with these. (Photo courtesy author)I've tried many different strategies to get the word out about my veterinary practice and attract new clients, but this is far and away the greatest return on my investment. But I can't take credit, because it came from my own mother, whose savvy creativity never ceases to amaze me.

How Mom does it

So, my mom knows that my animal hospital wants to reach out to new residents in my area. She also knows that people like a personal touch, instead of a computer-generated advertisement. So, she combined what she knows about my business and people with what she knows about business transactions.

You see, real estate sales are a matter of public record. Anyone with an inquiring mind can find out who bought real estate, from whom and for how much. (My mother knows this because she's profoundly knowledgeable about things I never even thought to ask.) These lists are published weekly in my area by a local website with information from the County Registrar's office: the address of the property, the names of buyer and seller, and the selling price. My mom takes a little time each week to scan through the lists for those properties in and around my ZIP code and writes them down. (Keep in mind that the lowest sale prices often indicate vacant lots and these should be eliminated from your list.)

It's all about the message

Then she uses the postcards we made with (shout to them here). She transfers the list of names to the postcards with our information on them and writes a timely, handwritten message on each one. (She knows these postcards are less likely to get trashed if they have a personal message.) For example, when I became the nation's first Fear Free certified veterinarian, she added that to the cards for a while. Together, we brainstorm what the message might say: holiday messages, topics we know are trending on social media and so on. We can draw attention to our online reviews or current events, like our pet food drive for the shelter. Anything that's short and easy for her to write on the cards is fair game!

This gets a hand-written message from Mom, some postage, and off to a new resident it goes! (Photo courtesy author)The cost of the postcards is low to us (25 cents/card) plus postcard postage. I don't pay my mother, so you might have to pay a staff member or family member of your own. (Sorry, my mom says she's retired and she can't be officially hired by you.)

My mom estimates that she sends an average of 15 to 20 postcards per week. I see one or more of these cards come into the practice with a potential new client every month.

Easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy

My advice? Take some time each week, buy a batch of postcards, and use the stamps you already have. New home owners may not have their internet hooked up, but if they have a pet that gets sick, they may still have your card!

And you thought "snail mail" was dead!

Kathryn Primm, DVM, owns Applebrook Animal Hospital in Ooltewah, Tennessee, but has a growing career as a writer, a speaker and an online voice for veterinarians and pet owners alike.