Published on March 29, 2021
Navigating the world of marketing in order to promote and grow your veterinary practice can be challenging. To save valuable time and get the desired results, many practices decide to take on a reliable and competent partner. However, the large number of agencies of all sizes can make this task somewhat daunting. How do you make the right choice, without losing control of the situation… and without losing your shirt?
Here is a six-step process to help point you in the right direction when looking for a partner who can support you in planning and deploying an effective marketing campaign that meets your needs.
1- Expectations, needs, budget
A clearly expressed need leads to richer conversations and a more solid game plan. The better you are able to describe your practice’s needs, the better your chances of choosing a partner who can meet your expectations.
Here are a few questions to consider with your team before starting the decision-making process:
- What concerns, challenges or barriers does your clinic currently face?
- How do you stand out from your competitors?
Conversely, what does your competition do, or what services do they offer that you envy?
- How would you characterize your clients?
- Who will be in charge of the relationship with the agency?
- What are your business objectives?
- What are your expectations: what projects do you want to implement?
For example :
– Post content to your blog and social networks and increase the number of visitors;
– Overhaul your website;
– Launch an advertising strategy to attract new clients and promote your practice;
– Implement a strategy to build customer loyalty.
- What kind of expertise are you looking for in an agency? Do you want to focus on the image and positioning of your practice, or do you want to boost its digital presence?
- What is your budget?
Keep in mind that you need to have the means to match your ambitions and that your expectations should correspond to the investment you are willing to make.
The answers to these questions should be assembled in a single document, which will constitute a comprehensive briefing document that sets out your needs, your expectations and, of course, your budget. This will save you precious time when it comes to presenting your objectives and expectations.
There you go! Now you’re ready to compile a list of potential agencies found online or, even better, through recommendations.
2- A specialized agency… or not?
Does the agency you’ve preselected have experience in the veterinary field?
It can certainly be tempting to find a partner who understands your reality, your objectives and your market and, particularly, who knows what works for your type of business. On the other hand, an agency with no expertise in this field does not necessarily constitute a red flag.
Don’t be afraid to ask your potential future partner how they approach the relationship with a client in a field with which they are not familiar. The answer may surprise you… and maybe even win you over! The benefit of an outside perspective and the contribution of an agency that has a vast understanding of several fields can ultimately prove to be a major asset.
3- Key resources
Any relationship with a partner requires clear communication in order to ensure mutual understanding. For that reason, it’s important to choose not only an agency, but also the people with whom you feel comfortable communicating; they should be people who listen to your goals for your business and provide the best advice to help you reach your objectives.
4- Focus on results
A proper interpretation of results involves measuring progress and focusing on the most important KPIs. The top priority of your agency should be to achieve your goals in order to ensure a satisfactory return on your investment.
One of the things you should do before formally awarding a contract is ask the agency how they plan to measure the success of the initiatives implemented. Knowing how the agency tracks the performance of its efforts will be a good indicator of what you can expect.
5- Credibility: an important factor
Among the factors that should influence your choice, consider how the agency markets its own business. Does it have a decent website? Does it appear at the top of search results – a sign of its SEO expertise? Is its social media pages well maintained, with quality content? Is the overall image quality consistent and professional? What about reviews on Google? Are they numerous and positive?
The manner in which an agency markets itself can give you a good idea of how it treats its clients.
6- And the winner is…!
After discussing your goals with potential agencies and receiving their bids (along with a clear mandate), here are a couple of final questions you may want to ask yourself before signing a contract:
Does this agency have a clear plan of action for my business?
If it hasn’t already done so, you will want to ask the agency to develop a clear proposal or action plan. Agencies that have listened to (and understood) your objectives will be able to provide you with a summary of their strategy.
What is their vision of your clinic? Does it match yours?
There’s no doubt that the process of selecting an agency takes time. However, by making an informed choice, you will reap the benefits in the form of a stable, long-term relationship and, most importantly, guaranteed results!