Veterinary Marketing Tips

Cash Flow Ideas for Veterinary Practices & Industry Marketers5 min read

, Veterinary Marketing Specialist April 23, 2020 4 min read

Cash Flow Ideas for Veterinary Practices & Industry Marketers5 min read

Reading Time: 4 minutes

These days, cash flow is top-of-mind, across industries. Despite being classified as essential businesses, veterinary practices have experienced economic downturns in the past months, as nonessential pet visits are postponed and communities are encouraged to stay home.

Here are three ways you can support your veterinary partners with ideas for recurring revenue that are also great for your business.

Paid Telemedicine Consults

Veterinarians have quickly embraced telemedicine as a crucial avenue of care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some practices are leveraging free tools like Zoom, Google Hangouts, and FaceTime to do one-off video discussions. Others are scheduling consultations through a telemedicine platform (eg, Airvet, TeleVet).

Although free video tools can work in a pinch, telemedicine platforms can offer significant benefits, like seamless payment collection.

Asking for payment after a phone call is awkward and can feel insensitive. Alternatively, collecting payment via a telemedicine platform, in advance of a formal 30-minute consultation, is entirely appropriate.

Benefits to the Veterinary Practice

  • Allows veterinary teams to monetize virtual care and improve cash flow
  • Provides clients with convenient and safe access to veterinary care
  • Improves client education and compliance and can attract new clients

Benefits to Your Business

  • Enables you to offer sell-through promotions via the veterinarian if your product can be recommended and sold via telemedicine
  • More revenue for your veterinary customers means more buying power for your products  

Telemedicine is likely here to stay. Now’s the time to determine where your sales and marketing efforts fit within the telehealth trend over the long term.

Membership Programs

In many industries, businesses are turning to subscription programs. This strategy can remove service barriers for customers and allow businesses to generate recurring revenue.

Benefits to the Veterinary Practice

  • Monetize memberships for a low-effort recurring revenue stream.
  • Provides clinics with strong preventative care programs.
  • Enables pet owners to be more actively engaged in wellness plans.

Benefits to Your Business

  • Provides an opportunity for veterinarians to educate pet owners and recommend your product or service.
  • Combined with a subscription service for your product, these programs can provide a recurring revenue stream for both the veterinarian and your business.
  • Creates an opportunity for your business to partner with businesses doing membership programs to provide pet-owner value add promotions that can be exclusively offered to membership program participants for a pull through strategy.

Although this model hasn’t been mass-adopted in our industry, there are ways to make it work. Here are a few brief examples.

Wellness Memberships

In veterinary medicine, wellness plans allow pet owners to pay a monthly subscription that covers wellness appointments (eg, vaccinations, physical exams) throughout the year.

This model can be adapted for telemedicine. Clients could opt in to a monthly wellness consultation with a veterinarian.

These types of membership programs can be particularly appealing for cat owners, who are less likely to bring their pets into the clinic. According to the Bayer-AAFP study, 52% of cat owners avoid regular veterinary visits.1

The topics for these consultations could include nutrition concerns, product consultations and recommendations, and discussion about general wellness concerns that could result in a recommendation for an in-office visit.

Aging Pet Memberships

As pets age, their needs change. Many pet owners don’t notice behavior changes in their pets until age-related disease states are more serious and difficult to manage.

Aging pet membership programs can be implemented to give pet owners frequent access to a virtual check-in. During the appointment, pet owners can ask questions about their pet, and veterinarians can work through a checklist of pain-related behavior patterns.

The goal of these consultations is to leverage preventive care to control or prevent age-related pain. For pets showing signs of pain, these consultations can result in recommendations for an in-office visit, when appropriate.

Training & Conditioning Memberships

Clinics with a high representation of sporting dog clientele might consider a training and conditioning membership.

These monthly consultations can be a forum for owners to ask about workout programs, performance concerns, and general health topics.

The goal of these consultations is to support owners with information that will help them safely train and condition their dogs, and set up in-office visits, when needed.

Affiliate Programs

More and more brands in the veterinary space are rolling out affiliate programs. This model works as an incentive for veterinarians to recommend certain products and provides opportunities for veterinarians to earn a commission on sales without stocking inventory.

How It Works

Brands typically provide a clinic-specific link for veterinarians to share with their networks via promotional channels and one-on-one recommendations.

When the pet owner buys your product via the veterinarian’s link, the affiliate program tool tracks the purchase and gives credit to the referring veterinarian.

Then, your company then dropships product and pays the veterinarian a commission based on their sales.

There are many different affiliate program tools that you can implement, depending upon your website platform and ecommerce capabilities.

These programs require support from your brand, specifically marketing to affiliate practices to keep your product top of mind.

To ensure success, consider supporting affiliates with suggested messaging and assets that they can use on their teleconsultations, websites, and social channels.

Benefits to the Veterinary Practice

  • Clinics earn commission on sales
  • Provides clinics with a retail opportunity that doesn’t require inventory, which is good for cash flow
  • Allows clinics to introduce pet owners to your product and earn long-term commission

Benefits to Your Business

  • Opens up another sales channel for your business
  • Gives your business direct access to pet owner data
  • Can be combined with subscription-based auto-ship programs from long-term revenue benefits

Federal Assistance

The government has rolled out many financial programs designed to support small businesses with cash flow challenges right now. Contact your accountant for details about the most appropriate assistance programs for your business.

The government has been focused on relief programs to keep cash in businesses and keep people employed. As this is an evolving situation, we recommend keeping a close eye out for information about capital asset financing and potential changes to the 2020 Section 179 Deductions.

References

  1. Bayer-AAFP study breaks down why 52 percent of cat owners avoid regular vet visits. AAHA NEWStat. Published July 24, 2013.
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