Last week, we talked about the importance of building a wellness plan program that encompasses your practice’s brand. Even more importantly, we covered how to go about actually determining and refining your practice’s brand.
Your brand should shine through consistently in all that you do, and your wellness program is the perfect opportunity to hone both your branding and marketing skills.
Okay, so you have built this incredible wellness plan program, and now you need to let everyone know about it – where should you start? Start by training the team. Everyone that works at the practice should understand the basics in each of the plans you offer, along with the “why” and the value proposition, so that they are able to communicate a consistent message to clients and potential clients.
Taking the time to ensure that every customer-facing team member can speak intelligently and enthusiastically about your program is the first and most important step to marketing your plans. All the brochures in the world won’t make up for the enthusiasm and recommendations of your employees. It doesn’t mean that your kennel staff needs to know exactly what is in your Canine Adult Comprehensive Plan and how much it costs per month, for example, but it does mean that they should know the types of plans you are offering, why they are so important, and where to go for more details.
Team members should also congratulate clients for taking such great care of their pets, further reinforcing the message. When a pet owner comes in and the receptionist she has known for years says, “I see that you enrolled Abby in our Feline Advanced Plan – that was such a great decision!” it reinforces the sense of pride that they are doing what is best for their pet.
While every team and practice culture is different, one idea for getting your program off to a strong start is to offer a team incentive based on program adoption goals. For example, maybe the first month your goal is to enroll 25 pets in the program, and you offer a team incentive of $5 per plan if they reach this goal. So for example if they sold 25 plans, $125 would be put in a team “bucket,” if they sold 33 plans it would be $165, but if it was 23 plans it would be zero. You can adjust this goal monthly so that success is achievable but challenging just the same. Within several months, the plans will be ingrained in the practice culture, while the team will have accumulated a significant pot of gold to spend as they wish.
Once the team is on-board and trained, start marketing the plans. Make sure that your website is ready for action. There should be a well-designed, easy-to-find section devoted solely to your program. Make it very easy for pet owners to understand how the program works (an FAQ format works well) and provide links to each plan detail sheet. A banner on your home page is also a great marketing tool. As your program gets going, ask clients for testimonials that you can add in as well and rotate these out for maximum visibility.
Next, start marketing your wellness program by focusing on your current clients.
Here are just a few ideas:
Make sure you have a phone script for the staff members that answer the phone. There should be one for clients calling to schedule a preventive care appointment that lets them know you are now offering wellness plans and recommends they go to your website to get more information (and/or offer to mail/email them more information), as well as one for phone shoppers seeking information on your practice. Practice, practice, practice until everyone is comfortable with the Conversation!
Reminder Cards, Email Reminders, Receipts, Newsletters
Make sure to find space on all client communications to let them know about your new program and the ability to pay in small monthly installments. Always include a link to your website for more information. If you publish a newsletter, make sure to highlight the plans as much as possible, focusing on the decision of your practice to offer optimal care with small monthly payments to meet the needs of your clients.
Direct Email to Current and Past-due Clients
Similar to the above recommendation, build excitement and interest around your program by sending an informational email to current clients. While they may not need to come in right away, you are priming them for their next visit and hopefully even building up some website traffic. After that, focus on clients that are overdue for services – this is an incredible opportunity to offer them a reason to return to your practice!
Have you heard the news? ABC Animal Hospital is now offering wellness plans! What is a wellness plan? It is an annual package of services that includes the optimal preventive healthcare services that your pet needs to stay happy and healthy. Our plans are based on the age and the specific needs of each individual pet, and the best part is that the cost of the plan is spread out over 12 small monthly payments! And wellness plan members get additional benefits, including extra vet visits at no cost and two nights of complimentary boarding! To learn more, go to our website, abcanimalhospital.com, or ask our team member for more details when he or she returns to the line.
The key is to maximize exposure of your program via social media channels. We do have one social media tip that has worked extremely well for other practices, which we posted about a year ago in a previous blog. Not only does it highlight current clients/patients but is an excellent tool for building awareness outside of your existing client circle:
- When a pet is enrolled in a wellness plan, a team member will get permission from the owner to take a photo and announce it on social media. For example, a post would have a picture of Missy the 9-year-old orange tabby and read, “Meet Missy! Missy has been coming to ABC Animal Hospital since she was a kitten. Today Missy’s owner enrolled her in our Platinum Senior Care Wellness Plan to make sure that Missy gets all of the preventive care she needs in her golden years. For more information about our wellness plans click here.”
- Clients love to share/repost their adorable pet’s photo with their social media circle, and when these friends learn about the practice’s wellness plans, they want to enroll their pets too!
Outdoor and Reception Area Information
Outdoor marketing depends on your local ordinances. If it is allowed, or you have a sign board that you can change, definitely take advantage of the drive-by marketing potential for your plans. Once inside the practice, posters and brochures should also advertise your plans and pique client’s interest, which can then be followed up on with a conversation from a team member. Have some detailed plan information that you can give the pet owner to look over if they express interest, so that they already have an idea as to which plan they may be interested in before they see the technician and doctor.
Posters are great in the exam rooms as well, but especially make sure to have a laminated copy of each plan with the details and price. These should be used by the technician and doctor when discussing options with each client.
If it is in your budget, clients and staff love this stuff, and it can be a constant reminder of the value they are receiving from your practice, as well as an external marketing opportunity. For staff, think buttons and t-shirts; for clients/pets, consider scarves, frisbees, bumper stickers, water bottles, etc. Just make sure your practice name and the fact that they are part of an exclusive membership program is the key message.
If your practice is considering holding an open house, now is the time. Make your wellness program the focal point, and offer an incentive (think discount on the enrollment fee) if they sign up within a certain period of time.
So, Is That All?
Of course not. These are just a few ideas to get you started. Think outside the box, be creative and let everyone in your community (and beyond) know about the amazing wellness program you are proud to offer!