I was really honored to be asked to do a podcast with Brandon Breshears on the Veterinary Marketing Podcast earlier this year. Working together on this project, I found Brandon to be a really interesting and knowledgeable guy. He's done a great job over recent years seeking out the best, the newest, and the most applicable marketing info and strategies that veterinarians can bring to their practice. For this reason, I knew he would bring a lot of insight to our readers, and give them a leg up on succeeding in 2016!
The Biggest Marketing Lessons From 2015 and How To Make 2016 Your Best Year Ever!
This year as 2015 wound down I did something that I hadn’t done in a long time, I looked back and I reviewed all of the interviews and podcast episodes I’d done. One of the main reasons that I love doing the podcast every week is that I am always on the hunt for new exciting things and 2015 had so many new and exciting things come out and made available. So often times I forget to stop and think about what I’ve actually learned and this was a good time to do that. After looking back on everything this year, here are the biggest lessons I’ve learned and what I think is going to happen in 2016.
Facebook Isn’t Going Anywhere...Obviously
Social media is still relatively new, and because of this I am always curious to see what is going to happen to the Facebook products and popularity. Facebook released a massive amount of new ad products including their new native lead ads, carousel ads, their new business page editor, along with tons and tons of really in depth demographic and targeting options (did you know you can target people who like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, how do they know this!?!) Facebook has become in my opinion the best and most sophisticated marketing engine ever created. That is a bold statement but it is absolutely true.
It is amazing that you have access to the most sophisticated marketing and targeting tool ever created, and not only that you have access at the same level as the largest companies in the world. Facebook continues to step up their game by adding Instagram ads into their ads platform. I was curious if Facebook would create a unique ad platform or just plug in to what they already have and I was very pleased to see that we’ll be able to use all the sophistication that you could with any old Facebook ad but in Instagram.
In 2016 I see Facebook getting even more powerful with new and exciting features similar to what happened this year. Facebook ads and marketing is extremely effective so as more and more people jump on the bandwagon and it becomes more commonplace costs do typically go up. If you haven’t been doing so already, get on Facebook and start spending some money to figure out what kind of ads work best for your practice. There was a time when Google Adwords were just pennies for a click, and now you usually have to pay several dollars just for one click. You can test for as little as $1.00 and if you figure out what works now you’ll save yourself money when it becomes more competitive.
Video Is Where It Is At
We now work in a society where not only does your business have to run your normal business but you are also expected to be a media company. Did you know that Starbucks created a media company to help with its storytelling this year? They get it. Storytelling is an integral part of connecting and communicating with clients and one of the best ways to do this is through video, especially because that is how people like to consume information these days. If you aren’t comfortable on video you should get comfortable, or have someone at your practice who can be.
This year video and livestreaming really emerged as something that is going to stick around. Periscope, Meerkat, Snapchat and Instagram videos as well as Facebook overtaking Youtube in sheer volume of video plays shows that your clients are consuming lots of bandwidth of videos. Luckily veterinarians are out there creating highly entertaining and educating videos for their clients so that they don’t get bad advice...oh wait no they aren’t. There are a handful of vets that I see creating compelling content and helping clients but a majority are silent and that needs to change in 2016.
One serious problem the industry faces is public perception; a large number of consumers believe vets are in it for the money and that is it. They believe that vets make recommendations based on just wanting some additional unnecessary procedures so that they can drive their Lamborghinis and Ferraris home. Start educating and putting out good info so that clients come to you first instead of heading to Dr. Google. Show people what goes into doing certain procedures, or how skilled and caring the techs are at your practice. Video can help you bridge this gap and connect with your clients.
In 2015 there were many ways to create native engagement. What is native engagement you ask? Whenever you can create an ad or piece of content within a specific platform that is creating natively. For example, uploading videos directly to your Facebook page instead of posting a link from a Youtube video is an example of native video. Creating content that is native gives a better experience for your clients or prospective clients, and it is also easier to engage with. When people go on Facebook they want to see and engage with Facebook.
Native advertising has come a long way and I think that it will only continue to grow in the following year. There are now lead ads on Facebook and Twitter where your clients only have to do a single click to allow you to collect their complete contact information. I’ve tested these ads and they convert really well for extremely affordable prices compared to other types of ads. I am going to predict that in 2016 Facebook will start allowing you to sell products and services directly through your practice’s page and all the payment processing will be handled natively. Get used to creating specific content, offers and ads to be run natively because this is only going to become more prevalent.
I am sure 2016 will prove to be just as exciting as 2015 was for marketing. Because things change so fast it is important to keep up to date with marketing, but don’t necessarily feel like you have try everything. Chasing every shiny object you find can prove to be as ineffective as doing nothing, so resolve to try a few new things that will help your practice and career. Here’s to a great 2016!
Brandon Breshears is the host of the Veterinary Marketing Podcast, a weekly show dedicated to helping veterinary practices attract, engage and retain more clients. Brandon loves all things digital marketing and specializes direct response marketing that helps to create more clients.