Veterinarians: Dominate Local Search, Attract More Pet Owners

Veterinarians: Dominate Local Search, Attract More Pet Owners​

hey so this is edwin dearborn i am with the ceo of genius vets harley o’ryan and we are going to be talking about if you’re a veterinarian how to dominate local search and get more pet owners bringing the pets to your clinic very cool thanks so much for having me on it hey harley so thanks for being on the show and uh we’ve been connected on linkedin for i just checked for like eight years oh my god i know i know and you were telling me a while ago you’ve been working with veterinarians on helping them dominate local search get tons of pet owners coming and i know that with all this covet madness uh doctors are probably in veterinarians i know that you work with specifically are looking for a solution so can you tell me a little about your company how you got involved with veterinarians and like what drives you to to excellence to help them grow absolutely sure thing thanks and thanks for having me on ed it’s it’s a it’s a pleasure to be here so so basically the uh so genius vets we are the highest performing marketing company in the veterinary industry um and i’ll talk a little bit about you know um you know what supports that claim in a bit but basically i i was an agency guy for many years i ran a digital marketing agency uh doing web development and uh seo and paid search for a number of large organizations i had clients like the smithsonian institution department of defense uh a number of product brands a couple of publicly traded companies and then we were acquired by a bigger brand agency who had clients like vizio and i home and harman so i ended up being a partner in that agency but one thing that happened uh along the way was i met my she was my veterinarian and i was helping her with her marketing as we went along and she’s just a phenomenal entrepreneur her name is dr michelle drake and i was able to help her grow her practice and then we reached a point where after my agency was acquired she would she would have veterinarian friends that she would refer to me and say hey you know these guys would love to get your help with their marketing but the reality was that you couldn’t come to my house and see like like even even a modest sized local agency is just super ill suited to helping that practice be successful uh so i realized there was a great opportunity there and i thought there was um it was you know the profession absolutely needs our help and so i was able to kind of pivot out of that agency once i finished uh doing i did three years there after they acquired my agency and then i launched phoenix that was in 2016. and so we’ve been growing steadily since then uh we help practices all over the country to improve our marketing we’ve driven some pretty amazing results in terms of their local search visibility and i think the reason that people ask me a lot of the time you know why did you go you were working with all these big brands these exciting companies what makes you want to work with local veterinary practices i think it’s a few things first i get to work with a couple of my favorite human beings and entrepreneurs in the world that’s dr michelle drake and david hall my co-founders um secondarily we get to make a big impact um you you’ve worked with big brands that it’s it’s like you know if you can’t if you do all this work and you make like a like a four percent like sales increase that’s worth like millions of dollars it’s like okay cool but then it’s like okay what’s the next quarter’s problem right it’s like not that exciting we have veterinarians we’ve worked with where it was like a what doctor practice it was like his hair on fire stress worried all the time and by by getting his marketing under control it’s been uh like you can it becomes a kind of a microcosm of the whole business and and he was able to get not just more control over marketing but more control over culture recruitment attention client relationships and just the business as a whole and his finances so he’s now a three doctor practice he’s opening a new uh new location a big boarding center it’s gonna be gorgeous and amazing and the change in his like mentality and the way he feels about his business is 180 degrees so that’s the other thing that really motivates me to work with these uh these veterinarians is that they’re being super poorly served by the existing marketing companies and so we’re able to really come in and make a difference and in a lot of ways change their life i mean for virtually 100 percent of veterinarians the practice is their most valuable asset it’s essentially 100 of their net worth that’s tied up in this thing and so if they’re if they’re struggling if they’re not making enough money if they’re if they’re not managing to hold on to patients or they don’t have a good control of their reputation in their community things like that it it really really weighs on and affects them so being able to come in and change that and put them from kind of like crayons to control in their business uh through the you know the tool we use is marketing but um but it obviously is bigger than that and it can be really life-changing for them so that that’s what i love about what i do that’s great that’s awesome thanks for that and and i could see that i mean there is an allure working with the big corporate brands that you mentioned but you make this big impact and it’s it’s it’s to their bottom line but it doesn’t have the emotional and rewarding impact of taking a small business guy like you said he’s got a hundred percent in he’s got all chips in on the practice and if that practice doesn’t make it he doesn’t make it that’s right his family doesn’t make it and when you change that you can it’s actually you see more sustainable a bigger win if you will yeah because it’s it’s a person a person that’s telling you their wins yeah yeah 100 percent i agree i would just i would just added that um that in terms of the uh the mindset you may have not be familiar with this but anyone that follows a veterinary profession knows that there’s like like a well-identified crisis and mental health with veterinarians it comes down to like like there’s they have a very high suicide rate sadly they have terrible stress in their profession and i think there’s 101 things that you could ascribe it to but i think fundamentally it’s just a lack of control like they feel their business is out of their control their environment’s under their control i mean culvert has exacerbated that so much absolutely true veterinarians are staying open because they’re essential businesses but the way that they have to practice their businesses is super impactful it’s very stressful and and uh and most of them like i said they just don’t have good tools for this and so helping them to get um it’s like you know a lot of people and they want to say we just these guys need psychiatric help they need medications like no no no no they need help getting control of their business because their business is their life they can control their business they can control their life

everything gets backed up yeah in agree look medications will never solve bad organization right there there is no pill for disorganization yeah that’s right very much agree with you okay so now let’s step back so veterinarian hears about you here’s your successes obviously he comes to you skeptical sure he’s been probably promised things before by other marketers failed delivery failed expectations kind of take me through the process i’m sitting down with you i’m the veterinarian i’m highly skeptical but of course i want the results i want the control that you talk about take me kind of whether it’s a two-step process five-step process kind of take me through in layman terms what you do absolutely so that’s a great question so first of all that this like i always want to acknowledge that skepticism with them right like that you know and in my in my agency career if a client came to us and said hey i’ve worked with like these five other agencies like that as an agency leader that’s a red flag on that client saying hey what’s going on with this client where where they can’t seem to get a good result with any of the agencies right good point that is different um i have i have talked extensively with the leadership i’ve examined the products of every competitor in this industry and when someone comes to me and says i’ve worked with a bunch of these guys and it’s all crap like it’s like yep you know and and and when i say like to be specific like just on the organic search front so we did we did a traffic study using um that we could get into the details of it but by using a third-party analytics tool called ahrefs we pulled uh data on the uh organic traffic that’s being driven by because most pretty much everybody labels they tag their site so you can see who it was built by in the footer so we were able to kind of deconstruct you know what are the what are the sites that are being managed by all of our top competitors and what we found is that when you pull those traffic numbers and you kind of sort them the top 10 clients working with genius vets are getting more traffic than the top 10 clients of our top 10 competitors all combined so they’re our r10 sites versus their 100 so so we have we have a lot of evidence to show that that when we say that we vastly outperform competitors uh that’s that is fact okay so the first step is you address their skepticism by grabbing analytics data yeah and just kind of proving the point of like look i know you’re skepticism but let me just statistically and with metrics and analytics show how we’re actually outperforming this 100 and what i would say if i can actually take take one step back from there in the sales process because that that’s now you’re talking sales process at that stage yeah what what what we start prior to of course marketing is is senior and prior to sales right so from a marketing perspective what we’re constantly doing is we invest enormous amounts of resources and money in educating the marketplace like we provide content videos webinars uh we do public speaking to to to elevate the understanding of marketing in in the veterinarian’s mind and and so when we when we before we’re having that sales conversation about okay how are you better than xyz competitor what we’re always trying to do is is educate that veterinarian because the and i i’m very candid about this when i’m talking to doctors it’s like look the the essentially 100 of the companies we compete with they’re they are exploiting the lack of understanding on the part of the veterinarians i agree i agree when when like i’ll give you an example we were talking with a client another day a prospect and they said well i’m with you know can you tell me the difference between you guys and company x because company x does seo and you guys do seo and so isn’t that the same thing but you guys cost more so what’s the difference it’s a fair question like i honestly had like a big part of it is that you know in communications it’s like you really have to check your ego at the door because a lot of the time like they don’t mean they don’t mean to be a jerk they’re just asking it’s an honest question for them it’s not confrontational but so you can’t take it that way it’s like what do you mean like those guys are ready you can’t take it that way you have to just go hey i hear you i understand you i understand that you hear them saying we do seo when you hear us saying that you ask you and that i think your sound went off there you go it’s back on it’s back on so so what i’m saying is um the uh so i’ll acknowledge that okay i know it all sounds the same to you what you’re hearing but but let’s talk about what’s actually happening so in this case with company x um we know because we run the numbers that we really deliver 18 times the organic search traffic the company x does and secondarily uh the client said you know it’s weird like they haven’t actually updated our website in a year so ed you know enough about you’re a marketing guy you tell me how someone’s quote unquote doing seo if they haven’t updated the site right dude i mean so so they’re they’re charging them something every month to quote-unquote do seo but they’re they’re depending they’re banking on the fact that the client has no idea what that actually means and can never say well hey show me what seo you did and and or show me the results of that and so so uh that’s a lot of them prior before we even get into a sales cycle it’s it’s educating the veterinarian to say listen you’re not like you’re not crazy for feeling like there’s a bunch of freaking charlatans in this business there are i know them will study them and and we’re you know like it sounds self-serving but we are really the only company that is dedicated to delivering this kind of results and we’re also the company co-founded by a practicing veterinarian who uses these tools in our practice great okay for guys that just joined the show mid uh i’m with harley o’ryan he is the ceo of genius is it that’s right okay i’m going to show that at the bottom here for a couple minutes here you go to now i think you bring up a really good point here and thanks for all that that great insight and i agree with you i think the market is taken advantage of this is not just true of veterinarians but of of a lot of businesses that you know their lack of knowledge becomes a weakness and people take advantage of it unfortunately now i think a key element in the core of your business is that you partnered with veterinarians yes yes 100 okay i think that’s vital because you have somebody on the inside giving you the actual perspective the problems the mindset like they have an understanding greater so at can you tell me a little bit about what the owners have done to elevate you and and marketing to that specific public and why you think that’s a greater value-add of your company absolutely that’s a great question so couple things first of all so so as i mentioned like i have a co-founder who’s uh who’s a veterinarian practicing

veterinarian she was my veterinarian i brought my cats to her and i did her first logo i did her first website her second website her third website right over many years before we even started genius vets and one difference between her and a lot of other businesses that i’ve approached in my career is that you know she really she really took every lesson that we covered to heart and i remember in 2008 when i was teaching her team social media marketing my because of the kind of companies i was working with that were pretty cutting edge my my feeling at the time was like oh my god you guys are so far behind but i can get you caught up if we work really hard and that was but then come to find out they were 10 years early we talk to clients all the time now who aren’t doing today what dr drake was doing in 2010 so i thought they were behind and they were relative to other industries but in terms of like the veterinary industry like what we were doing was super groundbreaking about 10 years ahead of his time so so having her as a co-founder and i mean she’s a full owner she’s an equal partner in running the company so and she’s if you ever get a chance to meet her she’s very very very direct like she’s the kind of person that has no problem like i come up with lots of crazy ideas my co-founder david search marketer comes up with crazy ideas like she’s the one in the business that goes yeah that’s a super cool idea but like no veterinarian will ever do or or no pet owner like they don’t care like that’s not that’s not a good idea so so she’s going to like kind of scare us and make sure that we’re always 100 focused on what’s going to be difference making for the bat uh so then and then the next layer is here we have our can i just can i jump in for a moment i think i want to call attention to that because you’re right guys like us tech geeks marketing geeks we come up with all these crazy hair brained ideas and it’s it’s like you know like the movie up squirrel you know like we’re on to the next shiny the shiny object syndrome what you have is you’ve got somebody a hard-nosed business orientated veterinarian amongst you that kind of keeps you guys on the straight and arrow that makes sure that the marketing yeah it’s genius but it’s applicable it’s pragmatic to the everyday veterinarian you’ve got the creativity but you’ve also got the pragmatism of a real honest-to-god veterinarian that’s cool well that’s yeah that’s that’s 100 correct and i would say you know the other thing too that about dr drake is that she’s all she’s a veterinarian but she also grew up uh she’ll tell you when she was from when she was eight years old her dad would be in the wall street with her every morning right wow and if you i don’t know how much you know about veterinarians but that is extraordinarily unusual like most veterinarians have a very very little business education they’re flying by the seat of their pants they don’t they don’t they’re not big thinkers when it comes to business and strategy and macroeconomics she really is so she is super unique in that respect and that makes her a really great asset um the other thing that i would say is that uh is that it’s it’s about helping like kind of steer us and keep on selling the straight and narrow but it’s also about about you know she is able to test theseideas these theories in real time i mean so her website the is has the highest traffic of any independent veterinary website in the country it actually drives more website traffic than more animal health which is owned by a fortune fortune number 76 company so we get to prove this stuff out and she she’s she’s kind of she’s got a good sense of humor she’s often a guinea pig for like the new crazy idea if she thinks it could work and we try it out and see that it works and so uh the other thing is there’s there’s a there’s really i mentioned that there’s kind of an epidemic of low quality marketers in the veterinary space there’s also an epidemic of low quality consultants and there’s a lot of folks that they they consult but they’ve never they’ve never worked in a practice they’ve never they worked in a practice 20 years ago um and they’re and they’re giving people advice about how to run their business the value that michelle brings me she’s running practice not not she used to run not she worked in but she’s currently a practice owner so when we’re talking about what are we doing clovid what are we doing about this curbside drop-off and pickup and how are we going to handle all these phone calls coming in like that’s those are problems she’s solving on a daily basis and helping us kind of continually re-strategize for the current conditions and make sure that what we deliver is is the right product great so let me sorry i’d like to just re i want to recap something here yeah because i really you know here’s the thing i mean the reason why i do this show as a virtual chief marketing officer is is you talked about there’s a lot of nega there’s a lot of bad consultants out there there’s a lot of we’re drowning in uh marginal if not destructive marketing people out there yeah the the purpose of growth driven was to find the people that are actually driving the growth and what i want to bring to everybody’s attention that’s watching this or will watch this in the future is you’ve brought somebody that’s working in present time in not only working present time in the industry in veterinarian which allows you to have real time analytics real time on the on-the-ground results but she’s crushing it and beating a fortune 500 company so you’ve got a value-add that factually no other consultant and i think that if people are going to build a business you should partner with people that are active in the industry and successful 100 percent part of me i’m just plugging replugging in my phone so um yeah so 100 and what i would and that that’s exactly right i think the um the reality and is that there’s uh it’s sort of like like don’t i you know don’t don’t go to the social media guru with four followers you know what i mean like there’s so much that it’s like especially i mean honestly i feel like i mean you tell me yeah do you feel like since the pandemic hit and since everybody’s locked in their house like there’s been like a 100x explosion in the number of gurus that are like gurling out and like making videos and putting up content and it’s like have you ever done like like can you prove to me that you can do the thing that you’re going to teach me to do do you know what i mean yeah well i i noticed this in 2008 and i’ll tell you this is where i’m and you bring up a good point see in 2008 when the real estate mortgage market crashed there was a bunch of realtors and mortgage brokers out of work and facebook and youtube and twitter and websites were just emerging and you know really becoming something in i noticed all these mortgage brokers and realtors going out and selling websites and selling seo because it was the next thing to sell because mortgages were dead yeah i think the same thing here is there’s a bunch of people out of work what is there to sell i know i’ll sell online coaching i’ll sell you know mentorship i’ll sell yeah so that you know they had to find their next dealio but and they sounded good but they don’t deliver the results you’ve got it yeah that’s right you know what is it what did they say if you wear the naked man who offers you his shirt you know what i’m saying yeah so now okay so now i want to get down a little bit down to tactics okay so i get that you’ve got a much sound uh leadership that’s re and it’s a leadership that’s doing the do yeah on a daily basis somebody sits down with you and says okay what are some of the strategies and tactics i i’m buying in i see the results i see your metrics what do we do how do we start attracting more it’s a great question so so first of all and this goes back to like why chibi solutions are ineffective you have to understand that they’re they’re like what you know ed you’ll remember i remember the early days of seo where it was like just stuff some keywords in there man like stuff some keywords and it’s gonna be all good right right it’s not like that anymore google is so intelligent that you need to build this 360 degree picture of your of how you deliver value for your consumers in order to rank so it so it means you’ve got you’ve got to get a stronger website and we’ll provide them with a website it’s optimized structurally right um but we’re also going to provide them with with super high quality content we’ll work with them to make that content their own and really dialed in for their practice we’ll we’ll we provide uh review management uh so reputation management uh we provide directory optimization to make sure that all there’s there you know people have heard of yelp they’ve heard of facebook and google but there’s actually hundreds of local directories and there are many that are even veterinary specific people don’t necessarily know about them you may not see them that often but those are all signals that are pointing back to the practice and very often people haven’t claimed to optimize them so we’ll get that stuff set up we’ll get them going with analytics we’ll set up call tracking so they can not only see whether we’re driving more calls which which we do we drive our average practice gets 229 more in round phone calls um that’s right here but so so we can see that we’re driving more close but also they can listen into those calls and see what’s the quality of that interaction with their front desk are they asking for the appointment are they are they taking care of their customers right so it’s this whole 360 package oh and then social media we provide a social media management tool and system for scheduling and handling posts across all their networks we also provide a feed of thousands of like pre-written social media posts uh obviously we strongly encourage the practice to to innovate and create their own social media content right but we provide them with you know it’s sort of like if you want that drip feed of like having something good to say every day and then you fill that in with local caller that that’s what we found successful so they never have to have that day where there’s just they they were too busy and their their social media goes dead so they need help fill that out so it’s really a whole comprehensive program and what i would say the the but the single biggest thing that we do that differentiates us is we’ve actually developed a very uh disciplined and structured system for helping the veterinarians create content that answers the questions that real pet owners in their area are asking and gets them in front of them okay that i i believe that that’s right there a critical point and i want to call to that if anybody has read any of my books or followed my other youtube videos i stress the number one they go what content should i create number one strategy find out what questions your customers are asking and then create content that answers their questions and and it sounds like you’re doing that but you’re taking analytics you’re probably taking the writing and the video quality up to a whole new level you’re doing all the internal and external linking to drive the seo signal so it’s not just


awesome content that’s specific to their audience but you’re building it with in a dynamic as you said a 360 sphere yeah so that google goes wow this these people are committed to their community they’re doing all the things that we want them to do seo-wise that’s right 100 and what I would add too is that that’s that’s another dimension that we’ve added with the which just went live in February that it includes a veterinary specific direct nationwide directory with over 36 000 practices in it and practices can claim their profile and fill it out with all kinds of information what’s their mission what’s their values what services do they live or what are the bios of their doctors what’s their background what’s their qualifications uh what products and brands do they endorse and support what certifications they have and so they can build out these super detailed profiles and then that profile is linked back to their website their website is linked to the profile the content that they they create for their own website can be syndicated through and out to all of our other clients if they wanted so we have you have a network of hundreds of sites all over the country sharing and syndicating and backlinking each other so these vets are supporting each other they’re supporting is supporting them and and like we’re really just scratching the surface of what that’s going to do in terms of visibility i can tell you that 100 of our clients are somewhere on an exponential growth curve that’s awesome and and itself is growing between 20 and 50 a month in organic traffic so at some point i mean this is this is how we this is how we beat the the corporates right i mean when when i look at when i look at the big corporates in the veterinary space like you see here banfield which are really all part of one corporation and you know hey i’m not capitalist i’m not anti-corporate


but i do really believe in the importance of independent businesses and i don’t want to see them wiped out by the corporates and what i can tell you is that when these practices work together with great strategies and they share and post and support and promote each other we completely annihilate the search visibility of those corporates in those local areas like they can’t come close to what we’re doing that’s awesome okay so again i am with harley o’ryan with you guys can see the little ticker tape down there below so you can reach out to harley so um harley let me ask you something um okay i really get now and i’ve known you for a while but i’m really enjoying this interview because i get the significance a that you’ve got a veterinarian on board who’s keeping it real i mean she just slaps you around if you guys get a little too totally number two you’ve really dedicated yourself to quality content and then building a syndicate yeah of other doctors which just builds so much referral value uh seo value you’re doing all the right things with link building i mean automation um what do you think is the biggest fear so let’s say a veterinarian’s watching this right nowsure and even though we just we tell him


all these things he’s still sceptical yeah obviously probably the biggest origination you get or concern is cost okay how much is this going to cost me and I know unfortunately too many people evaluate things only by their costs not by the roi or value yeah can you give me some ideas there like kind of a starting package or is that something keep going maybe if they don’t have a ton of he’s the guy the one man practice with this air on fire can you get going with something affordable but it’s a great question so so first of all yes there definitely there definitely is a whole range of products I think you could say that we kind of took like a tesla approach where we launched with only this ultra ultra premium product which the value of that is it enabled us to reach the best practices to drive like incredible roi for them but then and that gave us the wherewithal to go ahead and say okay well how can we chip away at this alpha build some lower priced options for practices that aren’t quite ready for that so we do have a whole range and and our products range from uh you can get a basic website from us for like i think it’s like 379 a month um up to our um our alpha package which uh depending on the exact configuration you could be spending 1500 1600 a month and if you if you add pay-per-click advertising things on that you can be spending a bit more so so it’s there’s we’re not the most expensive product in the marketplace we are the highest performing uh and we are towards the top of the of the price point but i think the most important thing you said when you mentioned what’s the biggest fear i think i think the the best way to answer that is to say it’s it’s that it’s it’s i’m afraid that i’m making another stupid decision you follow me because look veterinarians they’re doctors and you know doctors


well i know this and so doctors they’re i mean veterinarians especially um they are they’re wonderful people they’re super caring they’re super dedicated to their profession but like all doctors they’re used to being supe there used to be in their area of expertise all day long where they’re easily right you know and so when they do something like hey i’m gonna put my i’m gonna go try some marketing they’re in an area where they don’t really know what they’re doing and they screw up and they have a bad outcome and they they waste a bunch of money so so and and they like any i mean any of us really but i think especially people in a profession like like like a doctor they hate being wrong so basically the big fear head is i don’t want to be wrong again i trust for these guys they screwed up i trusted those other guys they screwed up like oh my god i can’t if i screw up one more time i won’t be able to take it anymore

so that’s that’s the fear and so that’s that’s what we have to work through I mean a lot of times our sales process is a bit of counseling like hey well tell me more about what went wrong there you know yeah totally totally yeah right yeah but but what i would say too is and you kind of alluded to it is the the key thing and we have a lot of systems and tools used to try to achieve this with a veterinary practice the key thing is to change their mindset from seeing marketing as a cost center to see marketing as a revenue driver when you look at marketing and and here’s the thing everybody that is consulting and educating vets essentially with very very few exceptions they’re they’re being taught to say okay well you want to keep your marketing costs below one percent one percent is what i’m told about obviously if you look at the sba they’ll say to 12 for a small business is good you and I know i think there’s different models but there’s but it’s it’s not nobody says let’s spend one personal marketing but that’s what veterinarians are told relentlessly maybe two percent maybe three percent but but keep it down make sure you don’t spend too much right rather than saying you know the cost like marketing is an investment in your growth


so the amount you should invest in it should be based on what kind of return you’re getting so so basically you need to look at it in that through that frame and saying it’s not about trying to minimize your spend it’s about trying to maximize your result and if you’ve got a channel that’s working you should be investing as much as you can in it absolutely and you double down on success okay great so now i’m gonna uh um you guys are on with harley orion your last call to action so somebody says okay you know i’m starting to overcome my skepticism i am a veterinarian i want to have that level of success how do they engage with you where do they go and what what does that look like that initial contact it’s a great question ed so so basically you can the first thing you can do is you can go to and you can claim your profile for your practice it’s completely free you get uh it’s a free benefit you can


you can promote your practice it’s going to help you with your local search visibility yeah when you do that um right now you get a uh you get a free profile enhancement that’s a 247 value that we’re doing for free right now i could and ed don’t quote me I believe the url is but i can i can send you an email you can maybe post it up for your audience but so i’ll put the link in the video but when when we uh go back and optimize the video for on youtube i’ll i’ll add that link okay perfect so so yeah they can claim their profile and then the second thing they can do is reach out to us and request what we call a veterinary marketing health exam that’s where we’ll spend an hour hour and a half with you if you’d like uh we’ll talk through all the different um you know ways that you’re spending money right now in your marketing what kind of results you’re getting uh how the practice is performing overall and we’ll recommend the best you a set of services that’ll that’ll support you in growing the practice and we’ll kind of help you find the package that’s going to help him be successful great hey Harley it’s been awesome having you here yes I i think you guys are just doing a phenomenal job i mean you’re obviously your stats are going out the roof um i’m excited that we were able to feature you i’m sure we’ll have you on again in the future um and uh you know take this video and share it with your vets definitely will do you know let them know that uh you’re out there trying to really educate people and build a better community okay guys this has been harley o’reine with i’m edwin dearborn i am your virtual chief marketing officer here on growth driven thanks ed