Have you ever gone to purchase an item online and as you get to the checkout page you’re notified that by spending an additional $10 you will qualify for free shipping? How often have you added another item to your cart so you could take advantage of the free shipping?
Most of us have done that multiple times!
Or how often have you purchased from a particular business because you’re collecting loyalty points from there? The fact of the matter is that people love to be rewarded for shopping.
It’s basic human psychology – when we receive a reward for purchasing something, we are not only more likely to purchase it, but we’re also more likely to be okay with spending extra money when purchasing.
Loyalty programs are a perfect way to cater to this key characteristic in human behavior. It’s a very effective way for businesses to encourage customers to come back more often and spend more money.
However, this strategy doesn’t only pertain to online shopping or retail. It can be just as effective for a Veterinary practice.
Veterinary Loyalty Programs
The veterinary industry is competitive. But it’s also an industry where you can build a very loyal client base – clients that will bring their pets to see you for years to come.
In order to create this loyal customer base it’s vital that you develop incentives. What benefits can you offer that make your vet practice unique?
This is where your loyalty program comes into play.
Loyalty Program Rewards
Veterinary loyalty programs come in many different forms, but all of them require customers to take some action that benefits your business such as bringing their pet in for a visit, purchasing pet products from you, or referring a friend or family member. In return, they receive special perks such as a free visit or points that can be redeemed.
There are essentially 3 types of loyalty programs:
With membership loyalty programs, clients pay a monthly or yearly fee to be a member and in return receive exclusive benefits and discounts that are not available to non-members.
Membership programs are discount driven and they motivate clients to continue to do business with you rather than switching to another vet practice.
With a points loyalty program, for every dollar that a client spends they earn a certain number of points. Once they have accumulated enough points, they can redeem them for a free service or product.
The great thing about points programs is that they help you track customer spending patterns and better understand your market.
Loyalty programs often include tiered membership levels, which offer increasing levels of rewards as customers spend more money and earn more points. This is designed so that the most loyal customers receive the best perks.
Levels are a highly recommended loyalty rewards model for Veterinary practices. A few reasons why include:
- Eliminates the need to discount your services. Due to the profit margins for Vet practices, it’s not sustainable to continually discount services.
- Levels are a delayed reward, which is great in the sense that it drives additional visits from clients.
- Level-based rewards programs also drive clients to purchase additional items at checkout. This could be a box of flea and tick prevention or recommended supplements.
Veterinary Loyalty Program Examples
When a Vet practice is developing a loyalty program, it is very important to be strategic.
You need to think about what actions you’re wanting to drive and ensure that ultimately, it’s a win-win for both your business and your clients.
Let’s look at a couple of loyalty program examples:
Buy 10 Bags Of Dog Food And Get A Free Wellness Check
Dog food is one of those items where there is very little profit margin. It really doesn’t make sense to discount it or give away a free bag, like all the local pet stores are already doing.
When you offer a complimentary wellness check, you are promoting your core business offering. During your examination of the animal, you may find a problem that needs your services.
A wellness check is a high-value reward that is beneficial to both you and your client.
Board 12 Nights And Get A $100 Credit Towards A Veterinary Visit
Many practices will have a “board 12 nights and get the thirteenth night free” offer, or something very similar. While this offer isn’t bad, it’s not driving clients to your primary business offering.
Providing a credit towards a veterinary visit is a better business growth strategy that will get clients in the door so you have an opportunity to offer your core services.
Track The Effectiveness Of Your Vet Membership Plans Or Loyalty Program
Once you’ve developed a loyalty rewards program, don’t just set it and forget it. In order for it to be effective, you need to track the data associated with it.
This data can include the number of new customers enrolled, the number of repeat customers, and the total value of purchases made by loyalty rewards members or redeemed through points.
By tracking this data, you can identify areas where the program is working well and areas where it could be improved. In addition, tracking data can help to ensure that the loyalty rewards program is delivering its intended results.
When done right, a loyalty rewards program is one of the most powerful marketing tools a vet practice can implement.
Do you still have questions about incorporating this strategy into your practice?
We would be happy to help! Here at The Alchemy Consulting Group, we’ve worked with numerous professional practices over the last 18 years in helping them develop business growth plans.