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How digitalisation helped White Cross Vets grow from a £5m to £12m brand

5 May, 2020

When it comes to client success stories, they don’t come much bigger than the multiple award-winning veterinary practices group, White Cross Vets.

When we started working with them on their digitalisation journey four years ago they were trusted by pet owners to care for 30,000 pets. That’s now grown to 75,000.

Following the successful execution of a ten-year growth strategy, which saw the group go from one location to opening it’s 19th practice in April, White Cross Vets is now the jewel in the crown of the Independent Vetcare family, Europe’s largest practice group.

For them, bigger really does mean better. Head of Marketing Justin Phillips explains why:

“We are proud of our growth, as it has enabled us to create jobs, invest in team development and training, and provide exceptional care to even more clients and their pets. By delivering an unrivalled team experience with an emphasis on quality we have firmly established ourselves as the employer of choice with the veterinary industry. Our team has voted us one of the Sunday Times Best 100 Small Companies to Work For every year since 2013 – just one of our many awards and accolades. This team happiness is reflected in the friendly and highly personalised service that we have become known for.

“The White Cross Vets family is as strong now as it’s ever been, and our brand values and principles of quality, integrity, responsibility and growth remain the same.”

What is the secret to the White Cross Vets growth success?

How did White Cross Vets go from a £5m revenue business when we started working with them to the £12m business that it is today?

Combine hundreds of collective years of experience in understanding what pets and their owners need and want, with an in-depth understanding of veterinary property portfolio development and management. And introduce an award winning Head of Marketing with a clear vision, and you have the perfect combination for success.

Digitalisation was always part of the vision, and we’re delighted to have been part of the team that helped deliver this. Here we share the digitalisation journey:

How we helped White Cross Vets with digitalisation

(1) An award-winning website

Back in 2014, Justin came to us and said “I want White Cross Vets to have the best, most innovative vets website in the UK.” He understood the importance of connecting with and helping clients online as well as offline. Most of us now seek advice and information about everything online, including pet care. So it made sense to provide pet owners with a wealth of easily accessible support and advice 24/7 through the website.

The first website we built and delivered for White Cross Vets went on to win the 2015 Digital Award at the Veterinary Marketing Association awards. It also helped shape the visual identity of the modern White Cross Vets brand.

(2) Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

We used a holistic approach to SEO during the website development process, painstakingly looking at every single thing that could be affecting its rankings. With every technical box ticked, we developed a long-term strategy to increase traffic to the site and provide a high quality user experience. This approach increased website visitors from 5k to 20k per month, which in turn improved SEO rankings.

(3) Intranet

Justin and his team were unhappy with their old internal communications and file sharing solution, which relied heavily on Dropbox. So we worked with them to modernise and develop an intranet system based on a centralised, standardised platform.

(4) Email automation

White Cross Vets wanted to be able to instantly email clients direct from the consult room. We set up templates that allowed vets to do this. So by simply selecting the correct template, client and pet name, a vet could send a written confirmation (eg advice on how to brush a dogs teeth) with all the facts and advice clients needed to know. All the templates are fully branded, integrated and centrally controlled. The templates can easily be easily edited and sent out from both the reception and consulting rooms.

(5) Live TV screens in practices

Justin came up with an idea to install TV screens in all the practices. So we created a centrally controlled single brand across all practices, but with the ability to deliver different messages and adverts in each location. The system was live linked to social, so for example if a client posted a picture of their pet on Instagram with the relevant hashtag, then it would appear on the relevant practice’s TV screen within seconds.

(6) Digitalisation of central operations

As well as marketing, we’ve also helped White Cross Vets digitalise in other ways, including introducing HR software, password sharing software and project management software. In short, they come up with an idea, and we find a way to deliver it!

(7) A new website for 2018 and beyond

Following on from the success of the 2015 website, we have just launched a brand new website for White Cross Vets with a ton of additional features:

This version is heavily focused on mobile first, usability and location tracking to give best experience.

We have lots in the pipeline for them on the new website. This was the MVP (minimum viable product) but look out for an upgraded version coming soon, with a more interactive careers page, tailored exit and abandonment messaging, and an enhanced area for internal communications.

We love working with Justin because he’s forward thinking, totally gets marketing and digital, and is very open to ideas. But at the same time he’s very clear about what he’s trying to achieve, and he’s always challenging us to do more or better. We relish a challenge and love pushing boundaries, so it’s a great fit for us!

Fleek Marketing is immensely proud to have been part of the team that helped make this all happen. We look forward to working with White Cross Vets on future projects and we wish them every success as they roll out their future plans.

If you’d like to explore how digitalisation could help grow your business, please give me a call on 0113 493 1819 or contact me online and we can discuss your requirements.

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