Veterinary direct mail case study:

Preventative Healthcare Scheme and Microchip sales campaigns

Part 1: Direct mail case study

%

Largest increase in PHC membership sign-ups during study

Background Information:

Over a ten month period we worked with two practices in different areas of the UK to test client responsiveness to a veterinary direct mail campaign.

The study delivered convincing results in both areas we targeted:

  • preventative healthcare (PHC) membership and,
  • sales of microchips

Both practices had existing preventative healthcare (PHC) schemes in operation. When we started the trial, one practice (Practice A) was 16 months into the scheme whereas the other practice (Practice B) had only launched their scheme 5 months previously.

Direct mail case study: Results

1: Number of MONTHS PHC scheme had been in place BEFORE we started marketing

Practice A

Months

Practice B

Months

2: INCREASE in MONTHLY REVENUE from PHC during 10 months of our trial

Practice A

  • 26%

Practice B

  • 84%

3: Owners of 3 or more unregistered pets were much less likely to buy HPC memberships compared to owners of 1 or 2 pets

Owners with 3+ Pets*

*unregistered pets are less likely to buy HPC memberships compared to owners with 1 or 2 pets

4: INCREASE in MICROCHIP SALES the month after we wrote to clients, compared to the same time the previous year

Practice A

7x

Seven times increase

Practice B

3x

Three times increase

5: LIFETIME VALUE of CLIENTS joining PHC programme within 6 months of receiving two letters, assuming 4 years’ membership

Practice A

£11,575

Lifetime membership value

Practice B

£29,046

Lifetime membership value

How did we do it?

In both practices (and most others that we have worked with in the last couple of years), different members of staff have updated client records over a long period of time. Different ways of recording additional information (eg ‘do not mail’, or ‘rehomed’) mean that data in its raw state lacks consistency and is largely unusable for personalised direct marketing.

Fixing the data issues for both practices involved a significant amount of analysis and correction.

Having resolved the data issues for each practice we wrote to owners of dogs and cats that were not already registered for PHC. The letter outlined the benefits of membership and encouraged clients to call the practice.

We set up inbound call recording to monitor the response to our letters.

The call recording facility initially made some reception staff uncomfortable so we were keen to stress that its purpose was purely to enable us to (a) assess the types of questions clients had about PHC and (b) provide constructive feedback on ways to improve the conversion rate from enquiries to sales.

Clients that didn’t respond to the initial letter received a follow-up letter around a month later.

In a separate campaign we targeted owners of non-microchipped animals, and used those letters to remind clients of some of the benefits of PHC membership.

New PHC subscriptions were monitored throughout the course of the study.

Conclusions:

  • Direct mail is a cost-effective way to quickly increase monthly subscription revenue
  • A structured marketing programme can help to fast-track growth and increase the number of bonded clients a practice has
  • Targeted direct mail can also be used to increase sales of other products / services, and in doing so create additional opportunities to discuss the benefits of PHC membership
  • Some customers will pay for a service provided by their vet even if a comparable service is being offered for free elsewhere at the same time
  • Inbound call recording is an effective way to provide almost instant constructive feedback to reception staff, which in turn can have a dramatic impact on sales of PHC membership
  • Regular contact with clients has an important role to play in bonding clients to the practice

Part 2: Direct mail case study

Both practices saw significant growth during the 10 months of the trial, with clients responding up to six months after they received letters

Membership Results:

  • Practice A, with the more established PHC scheme, saw the biggest single month increase in subscriptions since launch.
  • Practice B, which had experienced their first plateau in new memberships the month before our first letter was sent, experienced an 84% increase in monthly subscription revenue over the following 10 months. During the same period, Practice A saw an increase of 26%.
  • Because reception staff were handling more enquiries they became much more confident at highlighting the benefits of scheme membership.
  • Consequently, they were more effective at converting enquiries from all prospective clients – not just those who had received a letter.
  • Repeated marketing to clients had a cumulative effect – new registrations kept coming for months after clients received letters.

The best time to start marketing PHC to your existing clients is now!

Practice A took 25 months to reach their current income – Practice B reached the same level in just 11 months.
The difference? Practice B earned in excess of £10,000 more than Practice A during the first 15 months of running their respective PHC schemes.

pet-healthclub-growth-graph-pilot-study

  • The lifetime value of memberships (assuming 3 year membership) purchased by clients within 6 months of receiving our first two letters was £8,681 (Practice A) and £21,784 (Practice B). If average membership is 4 years these figures increase to £11,575 (Practice A) and £29,046 (Practice B)

LIFETIME VALUE of CLIENTS joining PHC programme within 6 months of receiving two letters, assuming 4 years’ membership

Practice A

£11,575

Lifetime membership value

Practice B

£29,046

Lifetime membership value

Microchip Results:

  • Compared to the same period in the previous year, Practice A sold seven times as many microchips in the month after our letter was sent. Practice B sold three times as many.

INCREASE in MICROCHIP SALES the month after we wrote to clients, compared to the same time the previous year

Practice A

7x

Seven times increase

Practice B

3x

Three times increase

  • Both practices experienced these dramatic increases in spite of the fact that local charities were offering free microchipping during the same time as our trial.
  • Both practices also saw a surge in new PHC memberships in the month following the microchip letters.

Owners with 3+ Pets*

*unregistered pets are less likely to buy HPC memberships compared to owners with 1 or 2 pets