Looking for a way to improve communication with your patients, but can't afford to break the bank on another pricey tool?
You're not alone.
These days, marketing budgets are continuously shrinking, and many medical practices are desperately seeking a new way to reach patients without spending a fortune.
One solution that is becoming increasingly popular is texting.
While it may seem like an unconventional choice for patient outreach, the truth is that texting can be an incredibly effective way to reach and engage patients, especially those who are younger or may not always have internet access (or time) to check their emails.
Why use texting
Texting is an affordable and convenient way to reach out to your patients, and it can be used for a variety of purposes, such as marketing, automated appointment reminders, medication refills, and general patient outreach.
It can also save your staff time and money when compared to phone calls.
Plus, with more people using text messaging every day, it's a communication method that your patients are likely already comfortable and familiar with. And chances are, they aren't without their phones for very long.
How to get started
If you're ready to start using texting as a patient outreach tool, there are a few things you'll need to do first:
1. Collect patient cell numbers and create a list
You can do this by asking current patients to provide their cell number when they schedule an appointment or sign up for your practice's patient portal.
This, along with other pertinent patient information such as names, categories, and geographic region, will help you generate the ideal audience of returning consumers. You can also create a list of potential future patients by collecting this information via website form or lead magnet.
2. Secure their permission
Don't send out any non-consensual texts. When building your list, make sure these cell numbers have been acquired fairly, with users consenting to receive texts before you shoot them a message. Otherwise, the Federal Communications Commission may come after you for violating their regulations.
3. Send relevant texts
Once you've established a list of patients and have their permission to text them, it's time to start sending relevant messages.
Use texting to send appointment reminders, medication refill reminders, general health tips, or whatever else you think would be beneficial for your patients. The key is to make sure the messages are timely and relevant.
You can also use mass texting to send out important alerts, such as office closures or changes in policy.
This will help build trust in your brand, rather than annoy patients with sales-y messages that they'll likely unsubscribe from.
4. Consider using a database to manage text marketing
While you can technically use your personal cell phone to send out mass texts, we recommend using patient outreach software with a text marketing feature built-in, like Velocitools.
This will allow you to easily manage your list of patients, track who unsubscribes from your messages, and automate your texts so that you're not spending all day sending them out yourself.
Plus, with patient outreach software, you can also send out automated appointment reminders, which can help reduce no-shows and increase patient retention.
5. Allow them to unsubscribe
Last but not least, make sure you include an unsubscribe option in every text. This may be a link they click or having them respond with "STOP". That way, if a patient no longer wants to receive texts from your practice, they can opt-out without any hassle. It’s also an FCC requirement.
With a little bit of planning and effort, you can start using texting to improve communication with your patients, without breaking the bank.
For personalized help getting started with email or SMS marketing in your medical practice, schedule a free marketing diagnostic consultation with Bizzuka. We’ll run through your current strategy and help you understand where you may be falling short.