Online marketing is a fluid experience: Google and Facebook are making changes every day that affect local businesses. Some of those changes are in reaction to new behavioral patterns by consumers. For example, people want to use their mobile devices rather than a standalone device to research and find information. How can a veterinary hospital—especially a specialty practice—handle this morphing environment? The key is to follow the “rules” set down by Google and pay to play on Facebook.

If you do not know where to start, here is a short checklist of “must dos” for marketing today.

Monitor your reputation: Google focuses on reviews because people use them when making a purchasing decision. With a specialty hospital, reviews tend to swing between ratings of 1 and 5—either the procedure went well or it didn’t. Having an internal plan in place to help people navigate their emotions if a procedure didn’t pan out is key. Plus, using software that allows people to disclose their opinion of their visit, but also sorts whether it is good feedback (which is posted publicly) or negative (which is kept internal) is crucial.

Google really wants mobile websites: Google assumes a business has a mobile website. It has pushed, nudged, and outright shoved businesses to this website model. Now, it has upped the ante. Today, Google requires that all pages on a website are mobile, not just the homepage, and that companies are working on increasing the loading speed of a website for mobile and desktop devices. Expect that a hospital has until early 2017 to up the speed of its website before Google starts to put down the hammer. It’s time to start working now to meet these new Google speed standards. To see how a practice’s website speed is scored, visit

AdWords is key for search optimization: People sometimes forget that Google is a for-profit business. Google has slowly nibbled away at free organic search real estate and replaced it with paid options. Now, in order to be seen in some searches, ads are the only option. Do a search on a smart phone for “nearby veterinarian” and view the results. Most likely, it will be all ads that are displayed first. If a business doesn’t pay for an ad, it won’t be seen in that type of search. Interesting, right?

Pay the $ on Facebook: Facebook has gone the route of Google and eased out organic search options, making it a “pay to play” environment. Targeted marketing is the name of the game. Want to target women aged 35 to 55 who like dogs, are married, make over $75K, and are live within a five-mile radius of your practice? Facebook is happy to serve an ad to those Facebook pages. The cost is typically $100 to $200 a month to reach a targeted population.

Beyond Indigo can assist with all four of these key internet marketing services. If your practice needs some advice in these areas let us know by reaching us at

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