Practice Management Blog

Beginner’s Guide to SMS Marketing for Your Clinic

Here we are in 2019, and I bet you’re pondering new and improved ways to grow your practice. It’s a new year, and time for a “new you”. As Power Diary’s head of all things marketing, I want to let you in on a little secret: if you want to get ahead of the pack, stand out in your vertical, and develop stronger relationships with your clientele, texting is the way to go. It’s quick, easy, and most importantly … read by (almost) all.

What makes text messaging so valuable?

Think about the last time your phone dinged with one new text notification. What did you do? Did you ignore it? Did you think, “Oh, I’ll get to that later”? Did you open it up, close both eyes, and hit delete? Chances are, you answered no to all of the above. (Especially that last one). And that’s exactly why we’re deeming 2019 The Year of Text.

If you’re only taking advantage of appointment reminders; you’re actually missing out on a huge opportunity. Now’s the time to go full steam ahead with SMS.

Here are some fascinating text messaging statistics that illustrate my point.

  • Over 99% of all text messages are opened and read within 5 minutes or less.
  • 5 billion people worldwide regularly send and receive text messages.
  • 85% of consumers prefer receiving a text over a phone call or email.

Does texting really apply to the allied health space?

Yes, absolutely. Think of texting like email 2.0. It’s a new and improved way to keep in touch with your patients. Nurture your important client relationships via text. Now, that’s not to knock email – but just comparing the open rates alone; texting reigns victorious.

While 99% of all text messages are opened and read, only 20-30% of emails get that same attention. If you’re solely relying on email for service promotions, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.

Before we hop into a slew of cool text promotions for clinics, let’s first review some best practices. The last thing you want to do is anger or annoy your valuable clientele. So, as with any marketing method, discretion is always key.

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  1. Avoid texting before 9 AM or after 9 PM. Ideally, you want to keep all your messages business hour friendly. Don’t interrupt valuable family time, or even worse, wake someone up with a sunrise SMS.
  2. This isn’t about pummeling your patients with promotions. (I hope you appreciate that alliteration). Instead, its about serving them with messages that are worth the read. Whether that’s a tip, holiday hours update, or an amazing discount – don’t make them regret opening your message.
  3. Keep it consistent. When applicable, echo the same message across multiple platforms. For example, if you send a text out promoting a holiday special, make sure you feature this same special on your Facebook page, on in office signage, etc.
  4. If it works within your schedule, set an expectation. Let’s say you’re firing out wellness tips. Try to reach out to your clients on the same day every week.

*Extra bonus points for the same time each day. 

Being consistent in your communication sets an expectation, and more importantly, builds trust. Imagine being on the receiving end of a text promotion from your favorite therapist. Wouldn’t it be unsettling to get one message at 9 am on a Wednesday, the next at 330 pm on a Friday, the following at 9 pm on a Saturday?

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Ok, we made it past all the “boring” stuff. Now let’s hop into some fun campaign ideas.

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I’ve put together a top ten list – listed below are my absolute favorite SMS marketing campaigns for clinics. Although I tried to make them widely appealing, some may not apply to your practice, and that’s ok. Feel free to substitute in your own ideas. Get creative, and keep it fun. If done correctly, this is a great way to stay connected.

Send out a new product or service announcement.

This one is pretty standard, and something you probably expected to see in this guide. But, that doesn’t mean it should be ignored. After all, you are in business to make money, correct? So don’t be shy. Tell people about what you do. Spread the news about an amazing discount. Here’s a great example.

From now until May 21st, stop down to Dayton Day Spa and show this text for $10 off your next full body massage. Limit to one redemption per customer.

Offer up a customer appreciation or loyalty discount.

Doesn’t it feel nice to just be thanked for being you? That’s why I love handing out the occasional “hey, we appreciate your business” discount. It makes people feel valued, and that type of client nurturing will speak volumes about the growth of your practice.

1 year ago today, you scheduled your first appointment! Thank you for your continued patronage. Show this text at your next appointment for 20% off a session pack.

Don’t forget about birthday well wishes.

This goes hand in hand with the “people like to feel special” concept mentioned in the campaign above. But truly, making someone smile on their special day is worth its weight in gold. Even if you don’t include a gift, it’s nice to let them know you care.

Happy birthday Stacey! From all of us at Wellness Psychology, we hope your day is nothing short of amazing. If you’re in the area, stop in today for a special birthday treat.

“Show your stuff” with weekly tips.

As I mentioned in the best practices section, there’s true value in keeping the timing of these messages consistent. But, beyond that – have fun with it. This is a great way to give back. Let’s say you own a yoga studio. Send out a weekly mantra; maybe an optimistic quote that gets the wheels turning and promotes mental wellness.

Did you know that one Kg of muscle burns 3 times more calories than one Kg of fat? All the reason to get your workout on – 30 minutes a day keeps the doctor away! 

Keep patients in the know with holiday hour updates.

Closing up shop at the end of December? Temporarily changing your hours for renovations? Keep your clients informed is and always will be in your best interest. It makes you look professional and organized.

We will be closed on Wednesday 5/10 while we add a handicap accessible ramp to our front entrance. Thanks for your patience, see you Thursday!

Introduce a new smiling face.

Did you recently welcome a new clinician to your staff? Let people know. This brings a sense of familiarity with the new staff member, and helps increase comfort level and trust among your loyal clientele.

We just welcomed Danielle Smith to our team of massage therapists. Danielle brings 10+ years of experience and accreditation from the School of Massage Therapy. Call now to book you first session with Danielle for 50% off!

Link to your client portal.

This probably the simplest of all the campaign ideas, but still incredibly effective. A regular gentle reminder about the ability to book online can never hurt.

 Don’t forget! We now offer the ability to book and pay online: yourclientportalurl.com

Bundle, bundle, and then bundle some more.

Who doesn’t love a 2 for 1 special? Or even better, a package deal? An offer like this is great around the holidays. It brings in more revenue for your business, and gives clients the biggest bang for their buck. It really is a win-win.

Happy Holidays! Stop down now and show this text to receive a free $10 gift card for every $50 spent – now until 31 January.

Contests are always fun.

What a great way to reward your clients and also up those engagement numbers. Pick an appealing prize that also won’t break the bank, set parameters, and you’re all set.

Reply YES to this text, and we’ll enter you into a drawing for a $100 gift certificate. All entries must be submitted by 3:30 PM today, winner announced at 4.

Ask for feedback.

If we all just carried around comment cards, I think the world would be a better place. But, in all seriousness, patient feedback is priceless. It should always be welcomed, and when the time is right, requested.

We strive to provide our patients with an A+ experience. We count on your honest feedback to keep improving. Fill out our 5 question survey here: linktoyoursurvey.com

Well, there you have it! 10 pretty cool SMS campaign ideas for your clinic.

I bet you’re ready to start firing out text messages. Hey, I don’t blame you. But, before you hit the ground running, hop over to our Knowledge Base and review this tutorial on how to bulk send an SMS campaign.

Got some of your own unique campaign ideas? Share them in the comments below.

Happy texting,
Kristen

P.S. I almost forgot to mention. Texting with Power Diary is insanely affordable. We’re talking just 15 cents + GST per text (for our Australian users).

Check out your local pricing here.

For mere pocket change, you can reach a targeted audience within seconds. These are people who are looking forward to your messages, and will immediately respond.

Bonus: Those responses hit your Power Diary messaging panel in real time!

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