3 Big Gaps in Local Pet Business and Veterinary Marketing
May 10, 2012
Every month or so, I’m invited to present a webinar about what works online… particularly regarding content that works to attract more customers to the websites of pet businesses and veterinary practices.
I’ve been honored and thrilled to present webinars to veterinarians via LifeLearn; pet sitters and walkers via the Association of Pet Sitting Excellence; and other prestigious groups and organizations.
Each time I present a webinar, my mission is to teach through example, not just rattle off a list of must-dos. So I prepare a slide show that features pet-business sites and veterinary-practice sites following the best practices. A picture can be worth a thousand words… even when talking about content!
The problem is, when I’m preparing a presentation about LOCAL business websites… great examples of local websites are very hard to find, both in the pet business world and with veterinary practices.
This is true for core website content (Home, About, Services, etc.) and blog posts. Many, many local pet-industry websites are not using the 3 critical elements for local marketing success.
Today, I’m happy to tell you what these 3 elements are so you can fix them right away. :-)
1. Location phrases in your content.
I hate to ask this, but where are you located? In many cases, it’s hard to tell on the website and blog. I often visit a local pet business site or veterinary practice site and can’t find location information anywhere unless I scroll to the bottom (which many visitors never do) or click to the Contact Us page — the only page that explains where you are.
This means most of the site’s pages are not using local phrases to help with local search engine traffic. A major missed opportunity.
Every page of your site should feature — at the top — the area(s) you serve: your town, region, even state. If you’re in a big city, include a specific section or neighborhood. Whatever matches the way local people are looking for you.
Then, when pet people use Google, Bing, etc. to find “dog walker [town],” and you have that phrase on every page of your site, BINGO! People will find your site in search engines.
2. Local content.
This is the second most overlooked aspect of website content for local businesses. I see so many blog posts that have terrific, helpful advice for pet owners, whether you’re talking about disease prevention, seasonal health concerns, or ideas to beat the heat.
But again, there’s no local flavor in the posts. And this mean there’s no local traffic in search engines.
Here’s an example. Let’s say your veterinary practice is in Vermont and the tick season will be big this year due to your unusually mild winter. (I’m not sure if this is the case, it’s just an example.) A blog post about tick season will help bring you traffic IF you talk about your region specifically. So your blog title might be (fictitious practice name): “Burlington Animal Clinic Warns of a High Vermont Tick Threat to Pets.” Now your content is LOCAL. If a local pet owner types “burlington animal care,” “vermont animal hospital” or something similar in the search engines, BINGO! There’s a good chance your site will be found.
3. Local flavor or personality.
A big trend for most small pet businesses and veterinary practices is to use template-based websites. These can be extremely helpful for streamlining your website management and presenting a professional look.
BUT – if you only use the template as is, and don’t add your own personality, you could be missing opportunities to connect with local pet parents.
Be sure to include content and photos that feature local people, places and things… such as your staff, your customers’ pets, local landmarks, local events such as charity dog-walking events… anything that gives you a local personality so people feel “They’re part of my community.”
Try applying these 3 elements to your local business website and see what happens. I’d love to know if it makes a difference in terms of traffic. Please let me know!
Best wishes for a profitable pet website,
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