People love apps. Want to schedule a haircut? Order groceries? Buy concert tickets? There’s an app for that, and more. Your clients appreciate any tool that makes their lives easier and more efficient, so they are sure to love your branded practice app. But, how can you spread the word, and encourage clients to use your app instead of picking up the phone, sending an email, or heading to your website? Marketing your app is key to increasing downloads and—trust me—it’s easier than persuading your clients to give their pet monthly heartworm preventive.
When more clients take advantage of your app, your entire team wins. Life for your front-desk staff will become much easier with decreased phone calls and increased efficiency. Your clients will also win. They’ll be surprised that they can order their pet’s prescription food, make an appointment, or find out when vaccines are due, with only a few taps and swipes. So, you must tell them—anywhere and everywhere they would normally go to complete these tasks.
Increase downloads from your practice website
Many clients naturally head to your practice website to order a prescription refill or look up your phone number, so this is a great place to advertise your app. Design a prominent page on your website that is all about the app, including:
- A list of time-saving features, including 2-Way Chat, Virtual Payment, and Reminders
- A clear explanation of the app’s value to your clients
- A link for iPhone and Android users to download the app from their App Store or Play Store (you can find this in your practice dashboard!)
- The app’s name, exactly as it appears in the app store
- The app icon, for fast identification in the app store
To ensure clients get the message, regardless of their landing page when they visit your site, include a link or a “Download our App!” button on your practice website’s footer that will redirect them to your app page at the click of a mouse.
Increase downloads from your social media pages
Your clients, from college students to grandmas, are on social media, so take advantage of this easy way to connect. In addition to feel-good stories and educational graphics, regularly intermix posts that feature your practice app, including the app’s image, or custom graphics downloaded from Vet2Pet’s App Academy modules. In addition, use these social media features to drive traffic to your website’s app page:
- Facebook — Use a “Download our app” button as your main Facebook call-to-action button, particularly during your app launch period.
- Facebook Messenger — Use Messenger’s “Automated Responses” feature to set up an instant reply to clients’ messages that includes a link to the app page on your practice’s website. While the primary focus should be on setting expectations about when clients can expect a personal reply, and providing emergency contact numbers, you can also use this opportunity to let them know they can schedule appointments, request refills, and earn rewards on the practice app.
- Instagram — Posting links to Instagram is more challenging, but you can get around this hurdle. Update your practice’s bio link to redirect to your app page, and include the phrase “link in bio” in posts about the app. Alternatively, you can work with your web designer to build a multi-page link, or use a free tool, such as Linktr.ee, to create multiple links from Instagram’s single bio URL.
Increase downloads via email
Does decreasing your daily email burden sound like a dream come true? Drive client communication to the app, and funnel all questions, concerns, and requests into one place, by including a link to the app page in your practice emails. Update your email templates in your practice management system (PMS), and your practice’s email signature, to include the link. Don’t have a signature? Try Hubspot’s free email signature generator and create a custom “Download our App” button in your practice’s colors.
Increase downloads in your practice
Much of your app marketing will focus on web-based platforms, but don’t overlook opportunities inside your own practice to spread the word, such as:
- Hospital paperwork — Add a message promoting the app at the bottom of all invoices and admission paperwork. Try this: “Download our app to access your pet’s information, receive updates during procedures, request appointments, order refills, and earn rewards. Search for <insert app name> in the App Store or Play Store today!”
- On-hold messaging — This is an easy way to make clients who call the practice aware of a faster alternative for scheduling an appointment or ordering a refill. Send a request to your on-hold service provider and ask them to add information about the app to your message, such as, “If you are calling to request an appointment or medication refill, download our app by searching for <insert app name> in the App Store or Play Store.”
- QR codes — Download your practice’s QR code from your app dashboard and post it throughout your hospital to send all clients, regardless of their smartphone brand, to the correct link to download the app. Hang posters in your exam rooms and post a QR code decal on your front door. Better yet, make a custom counter mat—check the App Academy for this.
- Digital waiting room screens — Clients love sharing photos of their beloved pets, and will be thrilled to see them on display. When you return to in-office appointments, activate your custom selfie slideshow on a digital screen in your waiting room. Clients will quickly want to know how they can add their pet’s photo to the display, and your CSR can tell them all about the app.
The more app users you have, the more efficient and profitable your practice, so institute these tips to increase downloads today. For help using your Vet2Pet platform to its fullest potential, contact Vet2Pet’s support team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t have a branded hospital app yet? Schedule a 30-minute demo covering Vet2Pet’s customizable, all-in-one client engagement platform today, to learn more about boosting your business, increasing efficiency, and making your clients more satisfied with your practice.
Dr. Caitlin DeWilde
Dr. Caitlin DeWilde is a practicing veterinarian graduate from the University of Illinois and is the founder of The Social DVM, a consulting firm devoted to helping veterinary professionals learn, manage and grow their social media and online reputation. She has taken on a new role as Social Media Coach at Vet2Pet, working to help Vet2Pet practices with their social media strategy and goals. She can be reached at email@example.com.