Today, more and more businesses are turning to text messaging as an important value-added tool in their marketing and customer retention arsenal. From contacting new patients to treatment promotions and appointment reminders, text messaging patients is the wave of the future.
The facts are indisputable. According to Pew Research Center, 96% of Americans own some type of mobile phone. That means, every one of them has the ability to receive text messages. It is also a fact that the average American checks their phone over 150 times per day—far more often than they check their personal email, which is only 1-3 times per day on average.
What does this mean for a dental practice when it comes to attracting and capturing new patients? It means that if a practice is not using SMS and MMS in marketing to new patient leads, they are potentially leaving an enormous amount of business on the table.
According to the latest research, most people actually prefer to receive information about your practice and appointment information via text message, and they find SMS marketing to be less intrusive than other forms of marketing because they must first provide their permission to receive the message. In other words, since the person receiving the text message has already given their consent, they are more likely to read and respond positively to it than to another form of marketing or messaging, including email and voicemail.
Furthermore, the majority of consumers would rather read a text message than speak over the phone. And as far as voicemail goes, the statistics are pretty clear: people are 4 times more likely to respond to a text message than a voicemail, and 58% of consumers have tried to respond to a missed call from a business with a text message.
Considering that mobile phone usage and text messaging are only going to increase from here, all of this information provides a pretty compelling reason for a dental practice to incorporate text messaging into its marketing and new-patient capturing plan. Not only is it more likely that the person on the other end will actually read a text message, it is also far more likely that they will respond. People feel much more compelled to read and respond to text messages than emails or voicemails, and they tend to respond faster. The average response time for a text message is about 90 seconds, whereas for an email it is closer to 90 minutes.
A practice can dramatically increase its chances of actually gaining new patients by incorporating SMS and MMS into its marketing strategy, as research indicates that 67% of consumers prefer texting about appointments and scheduling to corresponding via email or over the phone. One of the best parts of adding text messaging as a marketing tool is that it doesn’t create a lot of extra work for the practice. As we mentioned in our “Capturing New Patients” series, there are software programs, like PatientCaptureNow, that make using SMS easy and affordable for any practice.
The takeaway here is that, as a marketing tool for new patients, text messaging is becoming more essential. No one wants their new patient leads to go to the practice down the street because they weren’t as fast or as targeted in the way they responded. With text messaging as part of a practice’s lead response protocol, that won’t happen anymore.