Back in 2017, we wrote an article posing the question: online bookings for clinics – are they worth it? We could end this article now with a simple ‘yes, they are great for business and will help your clinic to secure additional income’ but then the research done for this would be pointless and we would rather help you get the most from the online bookings tool rather than just answer the question.
The last two years have flown in and a lot has changed, in fact we have seen the use of online bookings for clinics increase by 100% year on year since 2017 and it shows no sign of slowing down heading into 2020.
So, what are the significant changes and what can you do to position your clinic or practice for online success in 2020?
Previously we spoke of the importance of social media for clinic marketing and its role in attracting patients. We understand the struggle to keep up with the need for a constant feed of new content. Nothing’s changed here, the importance of social media has continued to grow in the MSK industry. Most physiotherapists, osteopaths, chiropractors and practitioners are now members of groups on Facebook, who share top tips on best practice and general knowledge. But how do you use social media to sell your clinic to new patients and secure online bookings?
For best success, your posts should consist of short, clear and concise articles. Do any of your clinical staff or practitioners have interesting career stories or journeys? If so, turn those into blog pieces that give insight into your practitioners. Make use of pictures from team days out, social events and other light content - the key is in the engagement.
It’s important to remember who you are trying to speak to, you are marketing directly to patients who should be treated as a consumer and not a business. Too often we see clinic owners trying to market their business by showing off their new snazzy physio equipment or diving deep into industry talk but truth be told that’s not what your customers want to see. They are on your page because they are in pain or have seen a friend engage with your content so the best way to get them hooked in is to show personable, relatable content, real people with real stories and at the end of it, reel them in with an online bookings link for your clinic.
How many times have you been on your mobile today? When you need to find information on most things, what do you use? Chances are it’s probably your mobile, in fact I’ve probably picked up my phone around 4 or 5 times whilst writing this article*.
At the moment, 80% of online bookings are now made on mobile devices, up from 45% in 2017. The way we book things has changed, patients and customers like convenience. They’ll use their mobile whilst on the tube, the bus or walking around the office to book that physio appointment or yoga class when it springs to mind. Firstly, having online bookings available as an option is vital for your clinics success now however ensuring your website is mobile friendly with a clear ‘book now’ button on the homepage is imperative.
The longer a customer spends on your website looking for a booking link, the more likely they are to go elsewhere – it’s that simple these days. However, the great thing is that once a patient or customer books online with your clinic, you’ll have their details in your clinic management system and can send out a confirmation SMS automatically which will create a calendar event in their mobile diary – reducing the chances of cancellation. In addition to this, you will be able to send booking links by SMS, a much more seamless process than a telephone booking which leads to patient and customer retention.
LOOKING FORWARD TO 2020
What does 2020 have in store for clinics? We expect to see the use of social media and mobile devices continue to grow, convenience will be key when booking appointments, classes and treatments.
If you don’t already offer online bookings for your clinic or have a strong social media channel, talk to one of our experts to see how TM3 could help your clinic.
*It was actually 7 times by the end of it, which included using it to book a haircut online.