Marketing on the internet is about being found by current and future pet owners. At the dawn of internet, that meant a website built by you or a relative. Flash forward almost 25 years and being found on the internet can occur in multiple locations. However, the only property or platform that a business truly owns is its website. Social media platforms are owned by the company, e.g. Facebook. If today, a platform like Facebook or Instagram decides that your page is no longer in compliance for whatever reason, POOF, it is removed. Typically, no warning is given and all the followers of your business can no longer reach you through that avenue.
Google, meanwhile, is constantly trying to grab people’s attention before they even land on your website, through Ads and Google My Business. Recently, Google stated that for some business verticals a “Get a Quote” button will be added to the Google My Business area. My thought is that if this grabs a potential new client for a veterinary practice, then, why not? But, it doesn’t give the full flavor of your business because Google controls this space.
Home Sweet Home
In the swirling confusion of internet changes and updates, a website is the one aspect of a digital marketing program that is owned and controlled by a business. Everything on the site can be chosen by the owner of a practice to reflect who they are and the services they offer. The site will stay alive until it is taken down by the practice. How this online property is marketed can be controlled and managed with very few surprises. What are the key components to include in your online home?
- Unique Content: There is no place like home, as the saying goes, and that includes your website. Making sure the content is yours and yours alone is crucial to staying in Google’s good graces. Even more, it is one of the few ways on the internet to differentiate yourself from your competitors for your current and potential clients. Pictures that reflect your culture, services, and animals you serve can be displayed prominently for people to see. Wording that embraces the tone and style of the hospital can help shape the message being presented.
- ADA Compliant: Nowadays, it is important for a website to be ADA compliant. Many marketing companies (including Beyond Indigo) have a button that can be selected to show the website in a more easy-to-read context for people who need it. Also, websites need to be set up for screen reader software and to be controlled without the use of a mouse or trackpad.
- Speed & Mobile Friendly: Google knows that when we search for information on a desktop or mobile device, we want it NOW. No longer is it acceptable to wait. If a person waits much longer than a second or two, they dump the search and try something else. Google knows this and, to keep people using Google, it requires websites to be fast and mobile friendly. Simply by rewarding websites that are speedy and penalizing ones that are slow, Google can encourage businesses to stay up-to-date or they will not be found. When people search for a topic in Google, all the results they find will be fast loading and easy to use on a Mobile Device. Check out how your website is doing by going to https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/feature/testmysite/.
- Blogging: One of the factors Google reviews is fresh content on a website. People want to know a website is current and up-to-date. For veterinary practices, blogging is the answer for adding content on a consistent basis to keep a website fresh. When Google reviews the website, more new content means more chances to be placed well in various Google search options. Typically, we recommend a hospital aims for a blogging schedule of one blog a week, then twice a month, and then once a week, if possible. The goal is to be consistent because it keeps both Google and pet owners coming back to your site if something new is there to be seen.
- Your Marketing Car in the Garage: A website today is only one aspect of a marketing system. It can no longer be the sole aspect of a business’s digital marketing program. Without a “marketing car,” current clients will be hard pressed to find your business on the internet. Why? Because Google and Facebook have declared it so. A vehicle is needed to drive traffic to the practice and its front door (Just like a car needs to drive to a home.). There are many aspects to the marketing car, that can include, but not be limited to:
- Local Search Engine Optimization
- Google My Business
- Google Ads
- Facebook & Instagram Ads
- Social Media Engagement & Management
- Online Reviews
- Organic Search (think the original search)
- Mobile Search
The entire list above drives traffic either to your business or your website, or both. Google requires all of the above be used to be seen where people are searching for veterinarians. Facebook runs on engagement and ads to be seen. Both Facebook and Google lean on each other for indicators about a business, in order to create places in their own search listings. No longer are there shortcuts to visibility, nor can a hospital just focus on one aspect of digital marketing. It is a system now and must be treated as such.
Want to spruce up your website’s home and make sure you have a marketing car in the garage? Give us a call. Marketing done right matters greatly.