Increase the Value of Your Veterinary Hospital Website

Your website can serve as an open-door into your business, and may speak volumes about you and the services offered at your veterinary practice. When used correctly, a website can serve as one of the most efficient, valuable, and cost-effective advertising and marketing tools on the market. Yet, more often than not, websites are not used to their greatest potential. In understanding the value and increasing capabilities of a website, you, too, could be getting a lot more bang for your buck when it comes to online marketing.

Here are 15 easy and effective ways to make your website more valuable to both you and your clients:

  1. Offer videos and online seminars on simple animal services.
    Your website can double as a "how-to" site, which will dramatically increase your viewership from your average client to the pet-owner community at large. For instance, short clips on how to administer a pill, give a bath, or brush your dog's teeth, can be easily taped and explained, and make ideal clips for your website. If you take the videos yourself, you can also upload them to YouTube where there is potential to attract a wider and more diverse audience. Below the video you can - and should - add a link to your website, just as your website can provide a link to the YouTube clip.

    If you don't tape the video yourself, there are free videos you can access; in the alternative, VetNetwork also has professional pre-made videos that can be linked from your website.

  2. Take videos at local events and include them on your website.
    If you are speaking at a school career day, a local trade school, or other community function, make sure someone is taking a video that can be included on your website. Or, if you work or volunteer at a local humane shelter, make sure this information is also taped and published for your clients to see. Community members appreciate your charity work and there's no better way to spread the word that your hospital is committed to the community it serves.

  3. Engage in online pet discussions.
    It is a good idea to hold regular chat sessions with your audience. This not only draws people to your site, but also helps distinguish you and your hospital as experts in the field. You can hold sessions once a week for about two hours, and answer simple pet-related questions. This can be done through Twitter, Facebook, or even through your own primary website. Wherever and however you decide to hold the chats, make sure the discussion takes place at a specific and consistent time, date, and platform.

  4. Create a newsletter signup box on your website.
    It is worth investing in a monthly or quarterly (seasonal) newsletter that you can send to your clients and any visitors who sign up on your website. The newsletter can be as simple or complex as you want to make it Ė spanning anything from recent events, new technologies and medicines, or simple hospital announcements. This not only builds prospective client lists, but also strengthens already existing client relationships.

  5. Create a special offers signup box on your website.
    If you don't have the time or resources to create a full newsletter, there are alternatives. For instance, you may want to include a similar signup box where people can opt into receiving special promotions and new product or service announcements.

  6. Distribute free product samples.
    It may serve your hospital well to distribute sample products or promotional items to a limited amount of people who sign up for the newsletter or come in with a coupon from the website.

  7. Start blogging.
    With unlimited opportunities to join the online community, you should not be missing out! Blogging is an especially easy and important way to build your credibility and relationship with the community. It can also provide a space for customer feedback, as well as attract new customers to your website. If your name or hospital appears in various blogs, this will instantly increase your hospitalís web presence, and ultimately provide more free advertising. As a veterinarian, you have a tremendous amount of credibility in your community, and blog topics are limitless.

  8. Write and publish press releases in your local newspaper.
    Write a press release when there is something new or exciting happening at your hospital, such as a new veterinarian, state of the art equipment, or new treatments. Most local newspapers include press releases in their publication free of charge. They may be able to include it in their online editions as well. Make sure that every press release includes your hospital's website and information.

  9. Take out a small advertisement in your local newspaper or an ad on their website.
    Alternatively, you can get your name in the local paper through advertisements. Include a call to action or incentive for pet owners to visit your website. Everyone is searching for a deal, so the ad should state that discounts, coupons and free samples can be found on our website, whenever it applies.

  10. Integrate other social networking sites to your primary website.
    When people visit your website, you also want them to be exposed to the other social networking sites you use. Allow people to see articles, photos or postings from your Facebook page, Twitter post or blog on your hospitalís website. This will increase exposure to your hospital and provide clients with a host of options for obtaining the information they need.

  11. Tweet about your website, but don't abuse it.
    Tweeting can be a major advantage when used correctly. Try to avoid verbose and redundant postings, and instead use short and concise tweets only when there is something new and interesting for your client or prospective client to see. For instance, this may include how-to videos, promotions, announcing the pet of the month, interesting surgical or medical cases, or simply something cute that appeals to basic human interests.

  12. Use SEO to better rank your website on search engines.
    The importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can't be stressed enough. SEO allows your webpage to be discovered and indexed by search engines, ultimately bringing your content to the top of a relevant search. How often do you make it to page 5 of your google search? It's likely that your prospective client doesn't either.

  13. Add a coupon page.
    Add an area to your website where people can visit and print out specials on a regular basis. Change the coupons regularly and use Facebook and Twitter to announce each time they are changed, or about to be changed. This is a sure way to create incentives for visiting your site.

  14. Promotional offerings.
    In addition to coupons, daily, weeklong, and month-long product promotions will help bring people to your website and drive business. Only promote relevant products that can be purchased at your hospital, and make these announcements over your website, Twitter, and Facebook.

  15. Finally, keep your website simple, attractive, updated, and easy-to-read and navigate.
    There are plenty of bells and whistles to help attract people to your website, but ultimately, the most important and simple component is often the most overlooked. Once you have attracted someone to your website, you want them to stay there. So, make sure your website functions well, with simple, easy-to-read information and attractive images. Don't let your clients get swept away by the clutter.

A website is more than mere words on a screen. In fact, it can be your new best friend - but only if used correctly. Once you begin thinking of a website as much more than a one-dimensional informational board, an entirely new world of marketing opportunities presents itself. A website should not only be informative, but also interactive, enticing, and ultimately, your most effective advertising and marketing tool in your kit.

You know your veterinary hospital better than anyone else. VetNetwork knows veterinary hospital websites better than any other company. Together we can take your veterinary marketing to the next level and help you realize greater results this year. Let's discuss how you can take the first step by partnering with VetNetwork for your veterinary website. Your veterinary hospital offers the best medicine - why shouldn't it have the best website?

Call TopDogRankings / VetNetwork today to get started on your hospital's custom veterinary website.