Posted on December 18, 2023
5 Ways to Promote Patient Usage of Online Scheduling
An easy-to-use online scheduling system enables healthcare providers to meet patients where they already are: online. Clearwave, the Patient Revenue Platform™ for high-growth practices, provides online scheduling software to make it easy for patients to book appointments 24/7. The benefits for healthcare organizations are immense.
Online scheduling can reduce no-shows, improve scheduling efficiency and accuracy, and allow staff to focus less on booking appointments and more on patient care. With increasingly tech-savvy patient populations and current staffing shortages across healthcare practices — online scheduling fills the gap, improving access while reducing administrative burdens.
Marketing this convenient option to current and potential patients will be crucial for encouraging adoption and bringing in more patients. As a digital marketing agency, Glacial Multimedia understands the importance of an online presence and the utilization of digital tools for engagement. Promoting these digital scheduling options enhances patient convenience and access to care.
To drive this success, healthcare providers must promote their online scheduling systems to boost awareness and usage. Keep reading to learn five ways to promote patient usage of online scheduling tools!
1. Enable Online Scheduling Directly Through Your Website
Optimizing your practice website for the patient scheduling experience is critical. When visiting your website, you want new and existing patients not only to want to book appointments with you but to be able to do so seamlessly.
To help accomplish this, add a prominent “Schedule Now” button to your website in a bright, brand color, separate from your primary website palette. Link this button to your user-friendly patient scheduling platform. Make sure this button remains visible on-screen even during scrolling so that it is present no matter where each visitor is on the page.
You can also create a homepage banner that specifically highlights online scheduling availability. Use eye-catching imagery and language like “Online Scheduling Now Available” while linking to your booking page, taking patients directly to your patient scheduling software. Additionally, ensure all promotional links and ads directing patients to schedule go straight to this page.
Optimizing your website for easy patient self-scheduling improves convenience and access for all current and potential patients who may visit your website.
Quick access allows seamless follow-through when a patient decides to book an appointment. When your site provides a smooth self-service scheduling experience, you increase new patient acquisition simply through the convenience of online booking. It’s far easier for patients than calling your office, waiting on hold, or being limited to standard business hours.
When potential patients come across your practice when searching for care, with a simple click-of-a-button way to book an appointment, you increase your chances of that patient booking an appointment rather than looking elsewhere. Access and convenience are key.
Promoting your online patient scheduling software is another way to boost awareness of this easy option. The around-the-clock availability brings convenience and accessibility that increases bookings.
2. Promote Online Scheduling on Your Social Media Channels
Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are great platforms to target both new and existing patients. Regular social media posts can build awareness of your online scheduling capabilities and keep your practice top-of-mind for booking follow-up appointments.
On some platforms, such as Facebook or LinkedIn, you can update your header image by highlighting “Online Scheduling Now Available.” Using visuals like a calendar icon next to the messaging can further emphasize the convenience of online appointment booking like this:
You can also pin a post to the top of your profile that states “Now Scheduling Appointments” with eye-catching imagery for social sites such as Instagram and Facebook:
When you are planning social media content, think about how to pivot posts to include a link to your scheduling page. Weaving mentions of your simple appointment booking process into relevant content keeps the option top of mind for your audience and provides seamless access points to schedule.
Promoting your scheduling capabilities on social media expands your reach to both new and existing audiences, driving more online bookings and helping your practice see more patients. It’s important to remember to keep your messaging consistent across all social channels.
You may also want to consider using relevant hashtags and tag your location to increase visibility. Your social media activities should work cohesively to showcase online scheduling as an accessible, seamless option for patients to connect with your care.
3. Utilize Your Google Business Profile
When patients are actively searching for care, you want your practice to appear as an option that offers easy and immediate booking. Research shows that 40% of appointments are booked after business hours, and 67% of patients prefer online booking. If your practice doesn’t provide a seamless way for them to schedule through an online search, patients may look elsewhere or postpone their visits rather than wait on hold or for the next business day when calling your practice.
61% of patients reported that they’d skipped doctor appointments altogether due to challenges associated with scheduling, including being directed to schedule appointments via a traditional phone call. Make your patient scheduling platform visible and accessible to ensure that you are capturing patients who prefer a more streamlined scheduling method.
Google Business Profile
A strong Google Business Profile (GBP) can help you accomplish this goal. Having this presence is essential as an overwhelming majority of consumers search for local businesses and healthcare providers on Google. A GBP helps patients find and learn about your practice, acting as a lead-generation tool to drive online scheduling.
It’s essential to optimize your profile to rank highly when prospective patients search for doctors in a specific specialty and location. Manage your online reputation carefully, as positive Google reviews can be a significant component of attracting new patients.
Consider also adding quality photos and video content on your GBP to help attract these new patients. Your GBP is another way to prominently highlight your “Schedule Now” booking option.
For multi-location practices, you can add a unique booking link to each location’s GBP. It’s also important to ensure your booking link is prominently displayed on your GBP’s landing page.
For multi-location practices, this would be your locations page. Make sure you make your Preferred Booking link the main call-to-action on your GBP pages so patients can see it immediately and easily book appointments with you.
Using your Preferred Booking partner’s link rather than a generic booking page ensures you get credit for all bookings driven through your GBP.
You can further amplify your presence through Google Ads pay-per-click campaigns. Run geo-targeted ads with strategic keywords and optimized copy to drive traffic directly to your scheduling page. That way, when patients find your ad, they can conveniently book an appointment on the spot rather than abandoning their search.
Paid campaigns expand your reach to searching patients who may not have been to your website before or be aware of your practice in general. These ad campaigns can be your key to getting these potential patients to your online website, where they can easily book when they are ready to schedule.
4. Encourage Online Scheduling Via Appointment Reminders & Recalls
There are numerous ways to boost online booking using your patient communications software and other methods. For example, add a line to your reminder cards stating: “Schedule an appointment online 24/7”.
Also, consider including a QR code that patients can quickly scan to be taken directly to your patient scheduling platform for easy booking. This QR code can also be added to your email signature, posted on the patient portal, or added to other reminder cards or physical documents that you provide to patients.
For email and text recall messages, embed a clickable link to your scheduling page as well. A recall helps patients keep your practice top-of-mind when it comes time to book their next annual appointment or wellcare visit. With a scheduling link added to these recall messages, you provide patients with a click-of-a-button way to get on your schedule while their healthcare needs are top of mind.
When you incorporate online booking prompts through patient communications across multiple touchpoints, you will drive increased engagement with your convenient scheduling system.
5. Try Text and Email Campaigns
Email and text messaging provide affordable and effective channels to directly promote your online scheduling capabilities to patients. Considering 89% of US adults say “Ease of Access” heavily influences their choice of a healthcare provider, an email or text campaign can help you get in front of your patients in a way that they’re familiar with.
Use this option to promote your digital scheduling tool or other practice promotions, and add links that enable these patients to get on your schedule in seconds. Here are a few ways you can use these channels to build awareness of your online scheduling capabilities and boost bookings:
For New Patients
For new patients, send informative emails or text content like infographics and include a prominent link to schedule appointments online. Provide relevant resources on topics that resonate with your specialties, such as back pain relief tips for work-from-homers.
For Existing Patients
For existing patients, create customized email campaigns recommending self-service scheduling. Announce the launch of online booking via text message as well, promoting the speed and simplicity of booking digitally.
Consider including direct scheduling links in your messages. You can also set up automated appointment recall cadences via text to encourage patients to book their next visit.
Email and text campaigns build awareness of your online booking capabilities and make it easy for patients to connect to your practice.
Boost Online Scheduling Usage & See More Patients!
Meeting patients where they already are digitally improves access to care and scheduling efficiency. With convenient self-service scheduling, you can enhance patient experience, improve scheduling accuracy, and boost patient acquisition! It all starts with the right approach.
The future of healthcare is digital. Let’s work together to promote patient usage of online booking for a more convenient and accessible experience. Schedule a Clearwave demo now, or contact the team at Glacial Multimedia to learn more about adopting online scheduling and helping your practice succeed with digital marketing!