Business Briefs: Effectively Marketing New Equine Veterinary Services

young woman on phone at barn
Each person has preferences to the device and platforms where they like to receive information and marketing. Thinkstock

Marketing new equine veterinary services is important. This is true no matter the age or stage of your practice.

During the course of growing your practice and your professional skill set, it is very likely that you or one of your associates will learn new skills in clinical areas in which your practice did not previously offer services. Or your practice will purchase a new piece of diagnostic equipment or treatment modality that expands your capabilities. Perhaps your associate has become certified in integrative therapies like acupuncture or equine chiropractic, or you have attended rigorous training in ultrasonographic diagnosis of musculoskeletal injuries. Maybe you have purchased a gastroscope or undertaken advanced training in dentistry.

How will you best tell your clients that the practice has new capacities to help their horses?

Telling your clients as well as other horse owners that are potentially your new clients about your new services is marketing.

Marketing New Services Plan

The best results for marketing a new equine veterinary service start with preparing a plan. The plan should consider all the channels that might be needed to reach potential customers. Make sure that clients see your brand as more than just a practice trying to sell them something. Doing that comes down to three things:

  • helping them understand how their horse will benefit,
  • making them feel good by appealing to their emotions, and
  • entertaining them.

When creating marketing content, try to include all three elements.

Know Your Clients

Many different generations own horses. Therefore, your marketing efforts must be targeted to the people who make up your practice’s client base.

The median age of horse owners in the 2018 American Horse Council study was 38 years, while more recently, in the 2021 American Horse Publications survey, over 76% of respondents were age 45+.

It isn’t clear if horse owners are trending older as horse-keeping becomes more expensive, or whether the demographics of those reached by these studies was different. In any case, your clients’ demographics are important to know.

Marketing Platforms

In our connected world, there are many channels where information flows. Each individual has preferences about the channel(s) they prefer. Here are thoughts on various presentations and platforms for your information:

  • Information is readily passed visually through posters, billboards and banners posted at places where horse people congregate.
  • Text messaging is ubiquitous, but most do not like receiving marketing messages in this way.
  • Podcasts are very popular, especially with those that are auditory learners.
  • Videos on YouTube have become a preferred media type for learning. Video is now the most effective marketing technique for all but Baby Boomers.
  • Social media has a huge presence. As of 2021, Facebook had 222 million active users in the United States.

The variation of content, including text, visual images and video, allows an array of marketing approaches.

More than 112 million people use Instagram every month, and three quarters of Millennials use Instagram at least once a week. They like the platform for its messaging with images rather than words. Instagram users visit business profiles daily, and they use the app to discover new products or services.

Snapchat, Twitter, and Pinterest are also popular, with the vast majority of the saved pins coming from business sites. Although TikTok is gaining in popularity, it is not yet a strong destination for advertising.

To market your new services to your clients, first you need to understand their demographics and preferred channels.

While some older people prefer the written word in a printed form that they can hold in their hand, most use email and social media. Among Americans 65 and older, 46% use Facebook, compared with 38% on YouTube, 15% on Pinterest, and 11% on LinkedIn.  

Middle-aged folks are also often still heavily invested in email. Contrast this with Millennials, of which over half watch videos several times a day on different devices, and most consume content across multiple devices all day long. Over 85% of Millennials use Facebook and/or YouTube at least once a week. As a result, if your clients include Millennials, you will need to create content with a “multi-platform” strategy spanning multiple social media outlets as well as being compatible for desktop, mobile and tablet users. As a bonus, if your website features video content, it is way more likely to show up on Google’s first page of search engine results.

When creating video content, aim for two minutes or less to keep viewers’ attention. Consider including some humor if it seems appropriate, and engage the emotions of the viewer by showing how your new skill or capacity helps horses.

When using text as a stand-alone post or as subtitles, remember to avoid being excessively clinical. Instead, you should engage your audience with a story or a something funny. Stories are powerful ways to create information that sticks. Be creative, and let the brand identity of your practice show. Think of a word that captures what is most important to your practice, and use it liberally.

When marketing new services, use creativity that engages your audience. This will help you attract the right clients to your practice—those that share your values and care about the same things.

Disclaimer: This content is subject to change without notice and offered for informational use only. You are urged to consult with your individual business, financial, legal, tax and/or other medical providers with respect to any information presented. Synchrony and any of its affiliates, including CareCredit, (collectively, “Synchrony”) makes no representations or warranties regarding this content and accept no liability for any loss or harm arising from the use of the information provided. All statements and opinions in the article are the sole opinions of the author. Your receipt of this material constitutes your acceptance of these terms and conditions.

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