ocial distancing is continuing for longer than most of us expected. Between the masks covering our faces and the fact that many veterinary practices are continuing curbside service, veterinarians may feel it’s more difficult than ever to connect with clients the way they did before the pandemic. The solution to this trust and relationship-building challenge may require some creativity and adopting of new technologies.
In this 5-part series, we’ll cover a few ways to bond and communicate with clients even if you can’t see them in person. For today’s topic, we’ll explore telemedicine and how it may fit into (and benefit) a busy veterinary practice.
Part 2: Newsletters for Veterinary Practices
Since the start of the pandemic in 2020, many businesses have had to operate and communicate virtually more than ever before. Of course, as a veterinarian, that’s not possible for everything you do. Examining and treating pets has to be done in person. That being said, finding effective ways to stay in touch with clients between visits is smart and beneficial. It helps to bond clients to your practice, so you can nurture those rewarding, long-term relationships where you get to care for pets from their puppyhood or kittenhood all the way through their golden years. There are many ways to nurture this long-term bond with clients. One way to stay in touch and build trust in between a pet’s visits is to create an interesting and informative newsletter.
A Newsletter Helps Clients Bond to a Veterinary Practice Through Content Marketing
In this case, when we say “newsletter,” we’re talking about an emailed newsletter, or “e-newsletter.” While it’s still possible to mail a physical newsletter, you’ll find this method is being used less and less. An e-newsletter is more cost effective and less of a hassle.
As mentioned above, a newsletter is a strategy for staying in touch with clients in between visits. It’s a type of content marketing, which is a term you may have heard if you’ve researched marketing strategies for your practice. Basically, compared to sales-heavy messaging, content marketing is a “light” marketing strategy that builds trust over time by establishing the content creator as a trusted expert who provides valuable information. In other words, it’s a dual benefit—you provide your clients with important pet-related information, while also helping to strengthen the bond between the client and your practice.
How to Start a Veterinary Newsletter: A Few Simple Planning Steps to Set You Up for Success
Just follow these simple steps to get started…
- Decide who will write the newsletter. It could be you, a veterinary team member, or even an outsourced pet or veterinary writer.
- Choose your newsletter frequency. If you’re not sure where to start, once per month is usually a good and realistic goal.
- Design your newsletter. Decide if you’d like to have just one featured article, or several different sections. Then, choose a template for your newsletter, with colors and a layout that will make it look visually appealing. There’s no need to overcomplicate this step, especially in the beginning—look for templates with the email service provider you’ll be using to send the newsletter (MailChimp, for example) or via an easy DIY program like Canva. If you want to get fancy, you can even hire a graphic designer.
- Make a list of topics to write about. That way, you’ll never get writer’s block when it’s time for the next newsletter to go out.
What to Write About In a Veterinary Newsletter: Pet Health, Seasonal Topics, Q&A, and More
Here are a few topic ideas that could work well for your practice’s newsletter…
- General pet health and wellness information. These articles can also improve client compliance with your recommendations. For example, you already talk to clients about dental care, vaccinations, and parasite control during their pets’ visits. Now, send out an article on “Zoonotic Parasites All Pet Owners Should Know About,” or an article on “Why We Recommend the Leptospirosis Vaccination for Dogs” or “How to Brush Your Pet’s Teeth.”
- Interesting factoids to keep clients reading and entertained. For example, “5 Things You Didn’t Know About Cats.”
- Seasonal or timely content. For example, winter or summer hazards, holiday pet safety, etc.
- Veterinarian Q & A. Encourage clients to send their pet health questions, and answer one or more questions in an upcoming newsletter.
- Important announcements, such as new service offerings at your hospital, local pet events, or your official recommendation regarding events such as pet food recalls.
These certainly aren’t the only topics you could write about—but they should spark some ideas to help you get started.
Establishing and growing a veterinary newsletter is a great investment for staying in touch with clients—during social distancing, and beyond. There are additional ways to maximize that investment over time, including sharing your articles on your website and social media, working with professional marketers, and analyzing engagement to assess and improve the effectiveness of your newsletter. But for today, the most important thing is just to get started! While it may seem a little intimidating to write a newsletter at first, your skills will only improve over time. In addition to seeing some benefits to your practice, you might find creating and sharing a newsletter also starts to be fun!
Editor’s Note: Virtual technology has led to a lot of opportunities, including the ability for veterinarians to quickly and affordably consult with specialists. Teleradiology is a great way to get an expert second opinion (and peace of mind) on all your radiographs—including one-hour STAT interpretations for urgent cases.