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Issue: 67 - Jul 15, 2014
It’s a Hot Time for Marketing Initiatives!
By: Ruth E. Thaler-Carter, Contributing Writer
Ruth E. Thaler-Carter

Summer is well underway, which means it’s a hot time to promote and market your veterinary practice and services. It’s an odd time of year for business and for marketing a business. With kids out of school, there is probably more interaction between people and their animals than usual – the warm weather invites people of all ages, in fact, to go on more adventurous outings with their animals or to explore new places where they might interact with animals they don’t usually see. At the same time, a lot of your clients are probably taking vacations and not coming to the practice as often as usual.

Both factors make summertime an important time to heat up your marketing efforts. Consider sitting down with staff to assess the scope and success of recent marketing activities, and inviting everyone to brainstorm with new ideas for summer and fall campaigns. Anyone with direct client contact is likely to have some insights into what brings clients to your practice – and what might bring them back more often.

Make a concerted effort to get your name out to local, regional and even national media as an expert in animal care and seasonal issues affecting the health of people’s pets. Summertime is often a slow news time and editors or reporters are likely to be eager for new voices or faces to feature.

Use the season to promote animal safety and remind your clients and community of the dangers of leaving animals in vehicles in the heat. Even with the window cracked, a parked car can be fatal to an animal in a surprisingly short time! Getting the word out, by flyers or newsletters at your office, information at your website, posts via your social media presence, and releases to your media contacts are all practical, effective marketing tactics you can use to educate clients and your general public while bringing the name of your practice to the fore.

You also can market your expertise by reminding your community that summer storms are scary events for animals, especially dogs. The Fourth of July may be behind us, with its explosive fireworks that often send animals running for cover, but thunder and lightning can have the same effects.

Another topic to use in marketing your practice is protecting animals from the effects of high temperatures on their feet – walking the dog on burning-hot pavement, for instance, can burn his footpads. And be sure to remind clients and your public that this is tick season, which means that any and all outdoor animals should be checked carefully and constantly to make sure they aren’t carrying these dangerous bugs and don’t carry them into contact with humans.

Yet another topic you can use to market the value of your advice at this time of the year is boarding services for people who go out of town and can’t take their animals along. Consider writing or talking about tips on finding the right boarding kennel or petsitter, acclimating animals to your upcoming absence and the boarding or petsitting service, letting a kennel or petsitter know what your animal needs or likes, and reacclimating pets on your return.

Marketing is an ongoing, year-round process. Rather than letting the “dog days” of summer slow down your marketing activities, heat up the ways that you let your clients and community keep their animals and families safe in hot weather!

Ruth E. Thaler-Carter (www.writerruth.com) is an award-winning freelance writer, editor, proofreader and speaker whose motto is “I can write about anything!”®