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Issue: 70 - Oct 15, 2014
Put Some Fun and Frolic in Your Fall Marketing Plan
By: Ruth E. Thaler-Carter
Ruth E. Thaler-Carter

If you’ve been taking the time and making the effort to market your practice regularly, you know that marketing is both an art and a science. It also can be … fun!

Yes, fun. Every season, every holiday, every month offers opportunities to have some fun with ways to get your practice out in front of new and current clients, to advocate for and protect animals, to educate the public, and this season has plenty of calendar moments to play with on behalf of your practice. Both the art and the science – the creativity and the data – can be made more appealing to your audiences by adding a little fun and frolic to the mix, and this time of year is ideal for such combinations.

The fall season offers some unique moments to use in your marketing plan. The glorious changing foliage can be your inspiration for new colors at your website, in your practice newsletter and even in your office décor to highlight information about special deals, new services or equipment, and related details that clients might to know about. It may seem hokey, but it’s still worth using: Play around with “fall into fall” and “turn over a new leaf” language for announcements about such news. One way that marketing works is by using familiar images and phrases that have clear connotations and create strong connections with messaging.

Remember that there is more than one “new year” and every one is a way to renew connections with clients, the general public and the media. For next year, look for ways to connect your practice to Jewish and Muslim celebrations such as Rosh Hashanah and Ramadan, and other early-fall observances. Let your marketing program reflect the diversity of your practice’s clients and your community by recognizing holidays beyond the usual ones.

Use Columbus Day to play with the concept of discovery – urge your clients to discover new ways to benefit the health of their animals or new places to take them for exercise or boarding services.

And, of course, there’s Halloween. Go beyond letting everyone at your office dress up in costumes for the day and serving candy to patients. Put photos of those creative efforts at your website and in your newsletter. You also could invite clients to post photos of themselves and their animals in Halloween costumes to the Facebook page of your practice. Your marketing plan could include a press release or public service announcement (via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, etc., as well as your local print publications and broadcast outlets) with safety tips about the dangers of candy to animals and the importance of costumes for both pets and kids that are easily visible in the dark.

November brings Thanksgiving, with marketing opportunities to show how and why clients and staff are thankful for both the animals in their lives and the professionals in the veterinary world who look after those beloved animals. Consider a marketing campaign that highlights clients who are grateful for the work of your practice in helping – perhaps even saving – patients. Invite clients to share their stories and photos, and – with their permission – share those stories on your various social media outlets and at your practice. Get your staff involved by asking them to provide examples of what they’re thankful for in terms of the practice and the profession as a whole. Infusing your marketing plan with warm, heart-felt emotions will generate positive responses.

With winter weather on the way, use fall as a reminder that both cold weather and December holidays are around the corner, creating potential issues for animals. Create marketing material to educate your clients, the media and the public about protecting animals from the cold – dogs whose paws could get frostbite when out on walks or from living outdoors, for instance – and from being used as holiday gifts to families who aren’t prepared to care for them properly.

With the end of the year approaching, it’s also time to use the fall months to go back to the science side of your marketing program. Take some time to review all of your efforts for the year to date and see what has and hasn’t worked, so you can tailor your efforts effectively for next year. That’s how you turn over new leaves in the marketing program for your veterinary practice and fall into new and exciting ways to promote your veterinary practice.

Ruth E. Thaler-Carter is an award-winning freelance writer, editor and proofreader. She can be reached at