What to Do When Business Is Slow to Drive Revenue for Your Vet Clinic
When you run a business, revenue often ebbs and flows. One month, you may be cash-flow-positive, while the next month you might be operating in the red.
Every business goes through this, including veterinary practices. Like many service-based businesses, vet clinics experience variations in cash flow based on need and demand. If you're wondering what to do when business is slow, it may be time to up your marketing game. Here are five strategies you can implement to help you boost sales and attract customers.
1 Expand your offerings
Most vets offer wellness visits, vaccinations, diagnostics and surgery. One way to expand your customer base is to expand beyond these and diversify your services.
Consider running special offers for pets that are behind on vaccinations. You might also provide additional services for newborn or newly adopted pets. Or you could offer boarding, grooming, televet services or virtual and in-person training classes for first-time pet owners.
Providing a broader range of options could help you attract customers who are looking for services that traditional veterinary practices don't offer.
2 Offer a discount
People love a good deal. Discounts are a time-honored way to attract new customers to any type of business.
For vet clinics, this might mean offering reduced rates for first-time clients. To keep your current client base coming in the door, launch a rewards or loyalty program where they earn points toward discounted services with every visit. A referral program that includes discounts or perks can also incentivize existing clients to refer people they know to your practice.
Create a list of potential discounts and promotions, accounting for the fact that an increase in volume should offset any discounts you offer. Several third-party apps or software programs are available to help execute these programs. They let you easily send email blasts to clients about your discounts, track how many people engage with these promotions and determine whether they're effective at boosting business.
3 Consider content
Pet owners often need advice. Starting a written blog or even a video blog can be a low-cost way to increase your practice's visibility.
While it may seem counterintuitive to offer free advice, content can boost your website's search engine rankings, helping you show up earlier in the results on Google when people search for a local veterinarian. Content also can be the basis for an email newsletter you send to clients.
Creating content that helps people navigate through all the ups and downs of pet ownership will make you a valuable trusted resource. Potential customers may turn to you when their pet needs a routine health visit or ongoing medical care.
4 Build your social media presence
If people don't know about your business, there's no way they can become a customer. Social media gives you another opportunity to increase your visibility and connect with people who might need your services.
Social marketing is most effective when you offer value. You can post helpful tips and photos of pets your practice cares for—with permission from the owners. Or give followers an inside peek or tour of your practice. If you plan to start a blog or vlog, you can use Twitter, Facebook or Instagram to repost content and drive people back to your website, where they might schedule an appointment.
5 Partner with other local businesses
Collaborating with another business to offer joint services could drive more sales. For example, you can partner with a local pet shop that does grooming services to offer a discount off microchipping for new customers' pets at your practice. In turn, they can offer discounted grooming services for customers you refer to their shop.
By partnering with other businesses in your community, both you and your partners can more effectively target customers. In turn, your client base gets to enjoy the services they need at a discount.
Boost your cash flow with creative thinking
Owning a business comes with challenges, but also plenty of rewards. Managing cash flow is one of the realities of being your own boss, but getting creative with your marketing efforts can help you get more customers in the door—and keep more revenue from going out of it.
Financial insights for your business
This information is provided for educational purposes only and should not be relied on or interpreted as accounting, financial planning, investment, legal or tax advice. First Citizens Bank (or its affiliates) neither endorses nor guarantees this information, and encourages you to consult a professional for advice applicable to your specific situation.