A review of the databases from approximately 5,000 companion animal veterinary practices in the U.S. shows a steady increase in the number of inactive clients over at least the past 3 years. In 2012, 45.5 percent of the dogs and 51.1 percent of the cats in these practices had not had a visit of any kind in at least 18 months. By the first quarter of 2015, those numbers had increased to 53.4 percent of the dogs and 58.6 percent of the cats. 

Of concern to Partners for Healthy Pets (PHP) was the fact that huge numbers of pets, with already established relationships with veterinary practices, were not getting the preventive health care they needed and deserved. As a result, PHP developed a program aimed at getting these lapsed patients back in to see their veterinarians for needed services.

Because the creative materials used in PHP's consumer advertising campaign had demonstrated their effectiveness, these photos and editorial content were used in an email campaign urging owners of inactive pets to schedule appointments for check-ups with their veterinarians. Vetstreet was selected to conduct a 90-day pilot program to gauge the campaign's effectiveness. A total of 402 Vetstreet subscribing practices enrolled in the free campaign. Pets who had not been seen in at least 14 months were sent reminders, using PHP creative materials customized to the practice. Up to three emails were sent to each owner.

Practices were given an option to send the reminders without any incentive or with an offer of a $25 discount. Resulting transactions were tracked using Vetstreet's analytic capabilities. The results were therefore easily measurable and the program proved to be effective in getting lapsed patients back into the practice. 

Within 90 days of receiving the first email, 16,812 pets were seen by the 402 participating practices; 80 percent of the responding pets were lapsed 16 months or more from their last visit. These visits generated more than $4,018,000 in additional revenue for the participating practices. Because some of the practices did not enroll until later in the 90 day program, results were followed for an additional 90 days, at which point the pet visits had increased to 23,615 and the revenue had increased to more than $5,644,000. 

Other findings from the pilot were also interesting: 

  • Response rates were greater for cats and for older animals
  • Of the 402 practices, 155 (39 percent) elected to offer a $25 discount; these practices had a slightly lower response rate, but a higher average transaction amount
  • 20 percent of the responding pets had not been seen between 24 and 36 months

Because of the high success rate of the pilot program, PHP has re-launched the program and it is now available to all practices free of charge. Practices only have to agree to participate; after that, everything is automated. Current Vetstreet subscribers can enroll through their administrative portals. All other practices can enroll here or can call Vetstreet at 888-799-8387.


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