Virtual Learning: Generating Veterinary Leads During COVID-196 min readReading Time: 4 minutes
The COVID-19 outbreak has changed the education landscape virtually overnight. States are relaxing online continuing education (CE) rules and brands are responding with more virtual learning opportunities to support the veterinary community’s CE needs. Here’s what you need to know about state-by-state changes, and how to leverage education to help your brand.
100% Online CE States
The following states allow licensees to earn 100% of their CE online. (List last updated March 27, 2020.)
Temporary Changes in CE Regulations
The following states have temporarily adjusted their state regulations as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. (List last updated March 27, 2020.)
- Arkansas: Online CE rules are suspended through April 16, 2020, to allow licensees to complete as many hours of online CE as needed to meet their March 31, 2020, renewal deadline.
- Hawaii: Temporarily allowing licensees to earn 100% of their CE online.
- Idaho: CE requirements temporarily canceled until legal reviews are complete.
- Maryland: Temporarily allowing licensees to earn 100% of their CE online to meet the upcoming licensing deadline in June 2020.
- New York: Temporarily allowing licensees to earn 100% of their CE online for those needing to earn license renewals from March 1 – June 1, 2020.
- Pennsylvania: Temporarily allowing licensees to earn 100% of their CE online.
States with No Changes
The following states have not changed regulations in response to COVID-19. (List last updated March 27, 2020.)
See the most up-to-date information from the AAVSB here.
Building Lasting Relationships—With Your Brand
The drastic spike in canceled CE conferences and decreased practice hours has resulted in many veterinary professionals looking for ways to meet their annual CE requirements. Many are turning to virtual learning. Brands have a unique opportunity to forge stronger relationships with customers and prospects by delivering high-value educational content.
- Brush-Up Education: Is your product technically difficult? Does it require advanced implementation strategies? Are any of your features underutilized? If so, use this time to launch education to retrain your customer base. Consider advanced clinical training and business implementation support topics.
- Skills for the Future: Provide education to support clinicians with skills they will need for the future. This may include business management topics to help practices resume business as usual after COVID-19.
- New Technology: Veterinarians are often too busy to engage in early-adopter new technology content. As practices across the country reduce working hours, more veterinarians are facing a slower pace of work (and often from home). This is a great opportunity to provide education about new technology or innovative applications for existing technology.
Now is not the time for aggressive sales campaigns. Instead, leverage CE content to drive engagement with your brand. Think of COVID-19 marketing as one big social media campaign. The goal is to start conversations and build community—not convert short-term sales opportunities.
Nurture Now for Future Engagement
Those who engage with educational content should be fed into topic-specific nurturing sequences that help them become an expert on your product. This strategy will result in long-term partnerships and brand loyalty.
For example, prospects who engage with a CE webinar should be sent a follow-up sequence of content.
- Craft your prospect funnel with content that provides a logical next step on an educational journey.
- Include a case study to illustrate the topics presented in the webinar.
- Consider a video tutorial that answers the most common clinical questions about your product.
Ultimately, at the conclusion of the sequence, a member of your team should reach out to inquire if the prospect has any questions about the content presented. This can lead to a deeper conversation, or perhaps the scheduling of a virtual meeting.
The tone of the discussion should be one of support and caring. Although the conversation may turn into a sales opportunity, it will most likely be a warm first touch that opens the door for you to follow up later. Your sales team’s goal on this call should be to earn trust and get a follow-up call scheduled. Our global situation is changing day-by-day—the landscape may lend itself to a buying scenario in a few weeks.
Tactical Tips & Ideas
Building a lead funnel to nurture is essential for B2B businesses during this time. The goal is to “come out on the other side” with positive brand equity and a group of warm leads. That is, nurtured leads that are ready to have business discussions. Try these tactical suggestions to create the pool of warm leads you will need when normal business resumes.
- Event Cancellations
Many events are being canceled or postponed. Consider targeting in these areas, especially in states that either allow 100% online CE or have relaxed guidelines because of COVID-19.
- Highly Engaged Online Learners
Engage with those who are already showing interest in virtual learning. These prospects may need the credit for license renewals or are using their downtime to get caught up on industry innovations.
- Behavioral Targeting
Target an audience that is already showing interest in topics related to your product online.
- Promote your own existing online RACE-approved CE. This is the fastest way to get online CE out to the community. Even if you’ve already run the CE programming before, re-run it. We marketers get fatigued from our own content long before the market does.
- Get existing digital content RACE-approved. If you already have a library of incredible content, consider submitting some of it for RACE-approval. This is faster than creating new content from scratch.
- Create new CE content. For brands who don’t yet have a virtual learning library, now is a great time to get started. If you need support, Brief Media’s team of veterinarians and content experts can help.
The Brief Media team welcomes the opportunity to work with you on your virtual learning objectives during this time. Send us an email and let us know what challenges you’re facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. We look forward to helping you brainstorm your next steps.
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