When a veterinary hospital has lapsing clients and patients, it’s kind of like a box of beautiful apples sitting on the kitchen counter that one day attracts fruit flies. As you check the apples one by one, you find that a few are rotten at the bottom—even though they look perfect from the top. Just like veterinary clients who are starting to look for alternative care, everything looks good at a glance, but the reality is that another story lurks below.
Monitoring practice performance data through reports and dashboards can catch problems before they become full-blown coffee-spitting moments when found. This is true with finding the percentage of lapsing clients and patients in a practice’s active client and patient base. Recently, the trend has been an increase of lapsing patients, as shown here from VetSuccess aggregate data.
While many veterinary practices claim they still feel busier than ever, when overall visits are down and lapsing patients are up, we know that busy feeling likely has more to do with a staffing shortage than an actual increase in business. Before this lapsing clients and patients trend becomes a critical business issue, it’s time to do something about it and claw some of those pet owners and pets back to the practice.
5 veterinary marketing tactics to bring back lapsing clients
Luckily, there are a few handy ways to market to lapsing clients to bring pets back in.
Email/Newsletter—Emailing your top clients and lapsing clients individually is a powerful way to reconnect with them. Include something personal in the message so they know it is not a mass mailing. If you only have time to send a quick newsletter to all lapsing clients, create an educational and informative message about why coming back to the hospital is essential. You want them to understand that it’s important to get veterinary care before small health issues blow up to disasters. Consider opting into the VetSuccess RETRIEVER program to automate emailing your lapsing clients and patients.
Texting—People live and die by their phones. Meet your pet owners where they “live” and send a text message or two about scheduling an appointment to come in and get caught up on the health care of their pet(s). Make it easy by including a way for them to schedule immediately—with either an electronic system or a message to text or call you at that exact moment. Consider signing up for the Vet2Pet client engagement system to simplify this process.
Facebook ads—Let’s be real, Facebook can be creepy as all get-out with the amount of personal data it collects on us. From a business perspective, that data can be used to target specific people, like your lapsing clients. The ads can be educational in nature with a call to action to schedule an appointment.
Google ads—Google ads are similar to Facebook ads, but have a caveat that a business has to spend $50,000 in ad purchases before you can upload an email list to target specific people with an ad. It’s highly powerful, but a tool only available to the higher spenders on Google.
Phone calls—Time is a rare commodity in some hospitals. If you are a hospital that has some spare minutes here and there, start calling down the list of lapsing clients. Ask them how they and their pets are doing. Encourage them to come back for a visit and a health care check-up for their non-human family member.
Connections matter for veterinary practices
The last few years have shattered normal routines and connections with people and businesses. Taking the time to reach out a hand and reconnect goes a long way toward rebuilding our in-person social networks. Even sporadic small efforts can make a huge difference. If you still need help, reach out to an advertising and marketing agency, like Beyond Indigo Pets, who can do the heavy lifting of drafting the message and creating ads. And, remember, keep watching your practice’s data so unpleasant surprises don’t catch you off guard.
Kelly Baltzell, M.A.is President and CEO of Beyond Indigo Pets marketing agency. Under her leadership, Beyond Indigo Pets has remained at the forefront of the veterinary marketing community, providing data-driven marketing services, custom website design, and results-focused product innovations for 25 years.
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