Creating Extra Income For Your Practice With Affiliate Marketing

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With competition increasing for some traditional income streams such as flea preventatives, heartworm preventatives and even vaccines, we often get asked for new ways to generate income in a veterinary practice.

To that end we asked Jared Sparr from The Vet’s Best Friend to give us his take on Affiliate Marketing.

Is it possible to generate additional income without creating more overhead?

It is, with Affiliate Marketing.

Chances are you are already participating in some type of affiliate marketing and you don’t even know it.

The question is this: can you structure your affiliate marketing so that it becomes an ongoing source of income for your business? Affiliate marketing is for you if you want:

1) more reliable and predictable income

2) more profits

3) more sales (and income) from your current customers

4) more referrals from your current customers

5) more loyal customers.

Affiliate marketing works this way: you have a relationship with vendors who want to sell to your customers right now, and you get paid for introducing them to your customers!

Think of your waiting room and all the fliers and business cards you display there for groomers, walkers and sitters, etc. They are the potential affiliates who want to reach your customers.

Affiliate marketing creates a structured way for you to promote their business to your customers in exchange for a commission on the sales they make to your customers.

What’s in it for the affiliates?

Most advertising is a gamble for them; they never know how many customers they will get from any specific advertising. Your affiliates pay you after they have collected money for the sale, so it’s guaranteed advertising for them, and they are willing to pay a higher percentage of their sale because they are not wasting money advertising to prospects who will never buy.

What’s in it for your customers?

Well, for your customers, you are the authority on all things related to pets, and they look to you for guidance. They have confidence in your recommendations and probably are already asking for your advice. In addition to your endorsement, you can arrange with your affiliate to promote discounts for your customers if you want to offer additional value.

If you are not totally comfortable with that, you can offer a list of two or three different affiliate options for your customers to choose from. Just make sure you have an agreement with all three affiliates to earn a commission on the sale.

How do you promote your affiliates to your customers?

There is no end to the creativity we have experienced with our customers. Of course the fliers in your lobby are a start, but that is fairly passive marketing. I have seen waiting room with flat screens TVs playing a recorded message promoting affiliates, on hold messages, scripts for the staff, direct mailings, direct email, and so on.

In my opinion, the best option is a weekly newsletter. This serves two purposes:

1) to promote your business

2) to feature an affiliate and generate some affiliate income for you.

How do you find affiliates?

Contact the people you trust to service your clients. Get creative and ask your customers who they know who would be a good fit. Several vets are generating their highest revenue from carpet-cleaning companies. House training means dirty carpets, right? The Vet’s Best Friend has a list of local and national providers that are ready to pay you a commission for your referrals. With a large number of vets as clients, we have the scale to reach and convince larger national companies to partner with you, and we are adding new partners every week.

How do you track it?

This seems to be the hard part. What we suggest is to offer your clients a satisfaction survey on the services they received from your affiliates. Offer an entry in a drawing to win a $100 gift card in exchange for a completed survey. Then, follow up with your records to make sure you have been paid for that specific sale. Surveys can be promoted through your newsletters, and completed online.

Finally, don’t reinvent the wheel.

A sample affiliate agreement is available on several websites; have your attorney review one. This will save you money and speed up the process.

The Vet’s Best Friend is also a good source for this information. They have complete turnkey packages to administer the program for you. For more information go to

Our Take On Affiliate Marketing

One the main benefits we see of affiliate marketing that Jared didn’t mention is that is allows you to make money on products and services that you don’t have to physically offer in your practice. So you don’t have the expense of handling stock and making room for it in your practice.

As an aside Affiliate Marketing is part of the model we are using to sell our new supplement for Chihuahuas. So as well as making money through the sale of our My Healthy Chihuahua™ supplement in your practice you can also make affiliate commissions from sales we make on our website. This is a good example of how affiliate marketing can work in your practice.

So if you can find the right affiliates to work with then affiliate marketing could be a great way to increase your practice income without increasing your overhead.

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