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October 28, 2015

The two little words that vets can use to grab client attention



iStock_000038489798_LargeSometimes we hear veterinary clinics say that they write lots of content on social media, practice websites and newsletters but it just doesn’t seem to have an impact. There’s a reason for that. Most of you are doing it wrong.

The good news is you can fix it. Over the next few weeks we’ll be giving you a few hints and tips to help you improve what you write online so clients and prospective clients can’t help but find you. And of course, if you can’t be bothered or don’t want to wait that long, you can always give us a call.

What you say, what they want to hear…

So here’s an example. You write some blurb for your practice website. You say, ‘This veterinary practice does this and this and this and we have LOADS of amazing high tech equipment. Yadayadayada. And we love your pet.’ Aw thinks the client, I’m going to make an appointment right now – they love my pet. Nope. For starters they probably didn’t even see your post and if they did they nodded off half way through because you were not talking to them about what THEY were interested in. You were talking about what YOU were interested in.

Now we’ll get to spicing up your content in a future post but first we’re going to share those two little words that are going to make all the difference: keyword planner. What do you mean you were expecting something more interesting? Wait till you hear the rest of it, then you’ll get really excited.

 

Content – the devil’s in the detail

There are a few keyword planning tools – some you pay for, some you don’t (for example there’s one that’s included when you set up a Google Adwords account).

Keyword planners tell you how people are searching online. And let me tell you, how we vets use language isn’t always how animal owners use it online. In fact, we’d bet that quite often you use language in a similar way when performing non-veterinary searches in your downtime. Formality goes out the window and you just want to find the ‘thing’ fast; you think in fragments and snapshots. All this tool is really doing is allowing you to stand in your clients’ shoes – something we should all do a lot more often.

A keyword planner allows you to enter a word and to find suggested associated words. It will also tell you how many searches are carried out on those words (using parameters that are important to you like region or device) and how much competition is based around those words (essentially who is bidding to create campaigns using those words).

 

Vet, veterinary, veterinarian – does it matter?

So a keyword planner might tell you that in the UK right now only 390 searches per month are carried out using the search term ‘veterinary practice’. Switch to using ‘vets near me’ and you might just get the attention of the 12,000 people who are searching using that term every month.

But it doesn’t end there because ‘competition’ on the ‘vets near me’ phrasing is a little higher (although still only medium, so still well worth using) making it a little harder to get yourself heard. Relax a little – imagine what you would be searching on when you are sitting in your slippers at the end of the working day. Vets or vet has over 8000 searches per month and veterinary around 5,000. Take a look yourself – there’s even a term that’s over three times as popular as ‘vets near me’.

Go through the list selecting the best keywords with low competition and high volume and then use them naturally. This can be harder than it sounds. Be really careful about which words you choose too – a search on diabetes for instance might show you keywords relating to human diabetes rather than the words pet owners use to search on for pet diabetes. Be aware that using words as singular or plural can make a big difference.

If you have a ‘tagging’ facility on your website, use the selected keywords as tags (but also try and make sure that you have used the words in the copy with regard to frequency and positioning that actually reflects the tags). Oh and be really careful with your headlines as they get noticed more.

 

Hamster present? Check, Wheel turning? Check

Be disciplined – repeat the planner every time you write new content, or even before you decide on new content – and be prepared to re-visit it as our use of language is always evolving. You can’t second guess this stuff. Separation anxiety in dogs? 10,000 searches per month. Dogs with separation anxiety? 880 searches. Now that could make a difference. You can also apply these principles to your online and offline veterinary PR and marketing efforts too. Just saying.

Let’s recap: using keyword planning is more or less free, it will ensure that you write articles from the client’s perspective (and allow you to focus on topics that interest them) and it will help you be found using search engines. You just have to be a bit clever about it. And you guys are already clever so it should be a walk in the park. Just two little words…