Buying a new business is a terrifying thing to do. You’re outlaying a large (but limited) amount of capital. And the risk of failure is real.
Towards the end of last year, one of our clients (let’s call him Joe) purchased a dormant veterinary clinic in one of the Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne. The vet clinic has been closed for a few months and so its client base was inactive. To make matters worse, Joe was contractually prevented from bringing clients over from the practice he was originally a part of.
7-months on, Joe thanked us for our guidance and support. He acquired 500 completely new clients.
Here’s how he did it.
Step 1: Website Done Right
Joe invested in getting his website done right.
Firstly, he chose to go with a WordPress website. While many new businesses resort to the cheaper Wix and Square Space subscription based solutions, Joe understood the limits of those platforms from an SEO perspective.
Rather than DIY it, Joe spent time thinking about his audience and was careful to smarten down the veterinary jargon and create an experience that his audiences would enjoy. The content was intuitively organised for the best user experience.
It took a bit more time, but 10-weeks on, his “digital storefront” was ready to go.
Step 2 – Regular Articles & Stories
Joe knew that he needed to get his website ranking ASAP.
While we did some basic SEO services for 3 months (mostly directory listing), the bulk of the strategy involved regularly publishing value-adding content for his audiences. The content was simultaneously built around the needs of Joe’s audience AND guided by a keyword strategy.
Joe didn’t overdo it – just 1 article / story a month, cross-posted on 2 social channels (Facebook and Google MyBusiness).
The results speak for itself.
Step 3 – 1 Google Review every 3 days
This was the wind in his wings. Google wants to verify a brand’s credibility. We created a poster with a QR code that sat at Joe’s reception desk. When settling their bill, Joe’s staff always remembered to request a review with a photo.
The result? Over 200 reviews in just a few months.
As Google became increasingly convinced of the credibility of Joe’s brand, so did the search performance follow suit.
Step 4 – Social: A Loveable Human Brand
Besides all the meatier content, Joe consistently published Instagram posts of him cuddling various pets. We’re talking 2-4 images or videos a week.
This was critical in boosting his customer base because it helped new audiences understand Joe’s personality. Regardless of how well written your brand identity statements are, actions and images and video speaks way louder than words. Joe never had to say “We Care” anywhere on his website. The proof was on Instagram and Facebook. Show, not tell – that’s how he attracted the right kinds of clients.
Most importantly, being authentically who he was allowed audiences to trust Joe with the furry members of their family.
Branding and trust building aside, there’s another reason this strategy worked so well.
Today, user-generated content is the holy grail of content marketing. It’s what every brand tries so hard to do – get their customers to post pictures and associate it with their brand. Joe’s Instagram account gave silent permission to his customers to celebrate the relationship on other platforms. Sharing their photos was an easy step to take – they were just reciprocating.
Step 5 – Leveraging Personal Stories
Many business owners are afraid to show themselves to their audiences outside the setting of a professional context. But not Joe.
Joe understood that humans want to do business with other humans. And one indicator of our humanity is our wholeness, contradictions, diverse interests, etc.. They want to live vicariously through their brands, using the brands to express their own values in life.
Joe sings. Semi-professionally. For charity. Having his own personal brand get messy with his veterinary practice resulted in greater trust and affinity with his audiences. The brands occupy different spheres but yet reinforce each other beautifully.
How much did it all cost?
Website aside, Joe spent less than $4,500 on his marketing!! All of that was organic – not a single cent spent on ads.
Remembering the 500 brand new customers acquired, that’s a cost of acquisition of $9 per customer! Yes, that’s not a typo.
At Catalyst Content we aim for a 10-to-1 return on investment for marketing spend. In this case, a strong collaboration knocked it out of the park.
According to the RSPCA, dog owners spend $25,000 on veterinary services across the lifetime of their pet. Even if we use the more modest estimate of $880 annual vet spend for a cat, that’s still an impressive 97-to-1 ROI!
Bottom line: Organic Content Marketing Works
When a brand commits to 1) being strategic and 2) telling their stories well, the results can be life-changing.
Today, Joe’s competitors are scrambling to pay for Google Ads to appear above Joe’s practice in the Google Search Results page. While that may sway a minority of leads, Joe’s brand shines right through.