It’s 2018 — Will Direct Mail Work For Dentists?
Direct mail has changed a lot.
It’s the Digital Age. It’s not surprising that people think direct mail is dead.
They may be right for some markets.
But I’m here to tell you that it can, and is very likely to work for your dental practice.
In this article, I’m going to share with you the direct mail strategies most likely to succeed for dentists, and their limitations as well.
Let’s start with the types.
There’s two types of direct mail:
- Re-engagement campaigns. These target your previous patients to increase re-treatment sales.
- Patient acquisition campaigns. The goal here is to get new patients.
My Favorite Platform For Direct Response
Alright. Let’s not kid ourselves. There’s been a steady drop in direct mail response rates over the last decade or so. With the incredible expansion of shiny new digital marketing methods, that’s got to happen.
But check this out.
In its response rate report, the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) analyzed Bizo and Epsilon data and found that direct mail achieves a 4.4% response rate, compared to 0.12% for email. Overall, the DMA found that direct mail’s response rates are actually anywhere from 10 to 30 times higher than that of digital. 1
Does that make it better? Not quite.
But the good news is, direct mail is far from dead. Let’s dig a little deeper into the reasons why.
► It has a stronger perceived value.
► It adds physical value beyond the floating pixels of your digital ads on the screen.
► It gives them something to save and put on the fridge.
► Whoever your target patient is. You can target based on demographics, characteristics and location.
3. The Millennial Factor:
► 84% of Millennials take the time to look through their mail.
► 64% would rather scan for useful info in the mail than email. 2
4. Direct Mail Stats:
► Direct mail boasts an 80-90% view rate (vs the 20% and dropping email open rate).
► 70% of US patients say they prefer traditional mail for receiving cold promos from companies. 3
Direct Mail Marketing Disclaimer
After that evidence, you might be thinking “okay, that sounds great, but where’s the catch? Nothing’s perfect.” And you’d be right.
Direct mail is expensive and difficult to measure.
Direct mail is inherently supplemental. So it needs to be part of the overall strategy, not the be-all and end-all.
It’s not the first type of marketing you should do either. It’s just not strong enough to work on it’s own.
You need to have a strong foothold in your digital marketing before you expect your direct mail campaigns to pull in strong numbers.
Ultimately, treat it like the grain of rice that tips the scale. As you grow, you need to attack your target market from as many angles as possible.
If they see you in one place, great. That’s good, but it’s not going to be enough.
The more touch points you have the better.
That said, direct mail can be a valuable piece of your overall marketing campaign, and I highly recommend it for growing dental practices.
Target Your Previous Patients
Send out direct mail campaigns to previous patients to pull in re-treatment business.
They’ll be much better at targeting than doing it in-house, and it’ll be more consistent too.
You must work hard on your campaign targeting. That’s the part some people leave out. Spending time and hard work ensuring that your campaign’s targeting is good, is just as important as measuring it’s ROI.
There might be other platforms that work just as well or better, and I want to encourage you to find the best fit for your practice.
Whatever you choose, use the concept. In-house is too hard and too time-consuming.
Okay, let’s cover the psychological aspects.
It’s simple. The idea is to retain the precious real estate of the mind you worked so hard to get.
You want to give them a strong reason to call, but here’s something to keep in mind. You treat your friends different than strangers, right?
Your patients already know why you’re great, so you don’t need to educate them. You just need to remind them why they love you.
Always, always have a call to action – for both styles of campaigns.
We all know that frequent touches with your patient base is important.
You just have to be proactive enough to make it happen.
Timing is key.
Here’s one of the best campaigns you can send. Christmas cards, to all of your previous patients. Enclosed, a $1000-off plastic gift card.
Not a real gift card, in the sense that you can scan it or something. But it’s tangible.
It gives them something they can pick up, throw on the table, slide into their wallets. It serves as a less temporary ad that keeps reminding them over and over again, until they finally decide to take action on your offer.
Not to mention the strong sense of urgency of the expiration date.
Target New Patients
This is actually pretty simple.
► Step 1: Find a printing company in your area that has the ability to identify your target patient.
► Step 2: Work closely with them to buy your lead list.
► Step 3: Design your postcard – Canva works great for that.
► Step 4: Have that company mail the campaigns.
Pretty simple, right?
But let’s address the plurality of the campaigns – this is important.
The best performing direct mail campaign is going to be a multi-campaign approach.
Start with the ads designed to get to the top of their minds. But when – not if – when you get a piddly response rate, don’t get discouraged.
That doesn’t mean it’s not working. This is the most critical part of the process – if you stop with a single campaign, you will fail.
You need a 3-4 stage mailer with the same tracking number.
That’s what works.
I’ve saved the most important thing for last.
Don’t ignore the value.
Don’t put it off for another day.
Direct mail is worth your time, right now.
Figure out how you’re going to take action. And take it.
Whether you’re doing it yourself, or delegating the work, the hardest thing is just getting the job done.
But that’s oftentimes what separates the weak from the strong and the poor from the rich.