IDOC actively shares industry-focused articles, blog posts, podcasts, videos and other thought leadership with our members and other optometric practitioners. Below, you will find links to our growing library of educational materials and multi-media assets written and created by IDOC's team of seasoned industry experts.
Maddie Langston | 12/14/2017

Texting is an incredibly tempting mode of communication for marketing-minded businesses competing for the attention of consumers, primarily because the open rates on a text from businesses to consumers are incredibly high (98%) compared to other forms of communication (email is around 20%, voice mail is around 18% and answered phone calls from businesses are around 14%). I would argue that this trend affects forty and fifty somethings along with people under thirty-five, but in the United States as a whole, millennials are the driving force behind this shift in communication.

Promotional texting, or SMS marketing, has been steadily growing in popularity – but there are rules in place you should understand and adhere to, or you risk alienating your patient base and violating Federal rules/incurring a fine. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act, or TCPA, was passed in the United States in 1991 to protect consumers from irritating telemarketing calls they didn’t wish to receive, and imposes penalties on companies and organizations which violate the rule. The TCPA has been expanded to include texting when companies began using SMS to send out promotions to consumers. In 2016 alone, there were 4 billion complaints to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from consumers in the United States who were still getting calls or texts after they’d requested the companies to stop.

There are two main rules you need to understand and adhere to in SMS marketing:  first, you must obtain permission from your patients before sending out promotional texts, and second, you must provide them with a clear way to opt out of promotional texts each time you send one out in case they change their minds. I would also like to point out that you should not send out a mass text to ask for permission to send future texts, either.

If you plan on adding promotional texting to your marketing plan, be sure to add clear verbiage asking your patient for permission on your new patient forms so that their number is added to the list. Consider partnering with a promotional texting vendor to manage the process for you, as well. 

Maddie Langston
Associate Director, Marketing Services
Maddie Langston brings extensive experience in marketing and sales administration and has developed strategies and platforms to drive sales for organizations in the fitness and business services industries. Most recently, Maddie developed marketing programs for a national network of independently owned auto repair service centers. This is where she developed her passion for partnering with small business owners to help them compete with franchises and big box retail chains. Maddie earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Liberty University. She is excited to be a part of the IDOC team, and to help you utilize marketing to brand your practice, retain patients, and drive new patients to you.
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