Using Text Messaging to Engage Patients

Texting is quick, convenient, and has become the preferred method of communication for many patients. Use texting to reach new and existing patients and drive patient engagement with timely, high-value messages. Text messaging, or short message service (SMS), have shown to have strong engagement rates for medispas. According to Reachify: “Statistics show that the email opening rate is between 20% to 30%. On the other hand, with SMS marketing, you’re likely to have consumers read your message 98% of the time. Also, text messages are not seen as invasive by customers. This means they are more likely to read and engage more. With this text marketing strategy, your clickthrough and conversion rates are bound to increase.”¹

In this article, we’ll discuss the steps to get started with an SMS marketing strategy.

Step 1: How to Collect Opt-ins

Similar to email, the first step to creating an SMS marketing strategy is to collect opt-ins from patients and prospects. You must have permission to text them. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • During the intake process: Ask patients to opt-in to receive exclusive SMS-only offers. If your intake process is digital, consider pre-checking the text message opt-in to improve participation numbers.
  • During check-out: Provide a special incentive for patients who opt-in to your text messaging program during the check-out process. Include a sign with a QR code to make the opt-in process fast and easy.
  • Social media opt-in: Post about the benefits of joining your text message marketing program and include a link or QR code for patients and prospects to easily opt in.
  • Contests: Anytime you conduct a contest or drawing, include a cell phone number as a required field on your entry form.
  • Email Marketing: Send an email to your existing database of patients and prospects inviting them to join your text messaging program.
  • Referral Program: Create a referral program for existing patients to earn points or credit for getting their friends to opt into your texting program.

Step 2: What to Say? Ways to Deliver Value via Text
There are times when patients want educational content and there are times when they want discounts and special offers. When it comes to text messaging, shorter content is better. In fact, under 160 characters is best as SMS messages truncate after 160 characters. In addition to short messages, consumers are looking for high-value actionable content related to special offers. According to Small Biz Trends, “Over half of consumers (54%) say they would like to receive promotions via text messages. Despite the consumer demand for text messages from businesses, only 11% of businesses send such information by text.”²

Connect with your clients directly through actionable messages, such as:

  • Limited-time special offers: Have you ever gotten a happy hour text message or push notification from Starbucks? These happy hour messages often advertise a several-hour window of time for a limited-time discount. These types of offers can work for you too. For example, if you have a light day of appointments send a text message with a “Friday Flash Sale” or a “Tuesday Tighten Up” to drive real-time results.
  • Appointment reminders: Text-based appointment reminders can help eliminate those pesky no-shows.
  • Birthday/appreciation messages: Include a special offer such as a discounted product or a coupon for their next treatment.
  • Event invitations/reminders: Use texting to drive traffic to open houses or product demonstration events.
  • Referral promotions: Invite patients to share their love with their friends to expand your database.
  • New product alerts: Share links to new products or your blog to add value and schedule appointments.

Make sure to measure performance on your text messages just as you would with an email marketing program to optimize your marketing efforts. Here are some example text messages for your next text campaign:

Flash sale example:
Injectables Flash Sale starts now – Sept. 30! For every 10 units purchased, receive 1 unit free. Click to subscribe and redeem this limited-time offer. [insert trackable, unique link]

Appointment reminder example:
Hi Jane! This is XXX medical spa. We look forward to seeing you on September 1 at 10:30 am. Please text back “Confirm” or “Cancel”. If you need to reschedule, you may call the office or reply directly to this text message.

Special Promotion example:

Promo Alert! Purchase one skin resurfacing treatment and receive a free skincare product of your choice. Restrictions apply. Promotion valid through xxx. Cannot be combined with any other offers or sales.

Text messages should be short, sweet, and to the point. Your main goal is to entice your clients to book, purchase, and/or share. When thinking about the next text you send, remember the character limit for a single SMS message is 160 characters.

Step 3: Selecting Your Text Platform, HIPPA-Compliant Texting Tools
When evaluating your texting platform, make sure you understand what regulations apply. There are several available HIPPA-compliant text messaging platforms. Check out TigerText Essentials. This HIPPA-compliant healthcare and provider communication tool allows you to connect with patients directly via text, video, or voice through a comprehensive and secure messaging solution.

How will you use texting in your marketing strategy? Let’s get creative and engage with your patients!


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