Principles of effective direct mail, Part I

March 21, 2012

Direct mail marketing has long been an accepted means for image-consciously, yet cost-effectively promoting ones practice. Its popularity lies in the fact that it offers a focused and controlled method for sharing information about your practice with selected members of your community. Properly implemented, direct mail marketing can mean a steady inflow of new patients, which, by adding to your existing patient base, also increases the success of your internal marketing efforts.

Direct mail marketing has long been an accepted means for image-consciously, yet cost-effectively promoting ones practice. Its popularity lies in the fact that it offers a focused and controlled method for sharing information about your practice with selected members of your community. Properly implemented, direct mail marketing can mean a steady inflow of new patients, which, by adding to your existing patient base, also increases the success of your internal marketing efforts.

There are a number of audiences to consider reaching with direct mail to grow your practice. These include: new residents, existing residents, Brides-to-Be, families with children, business leaders, employees, and more. Effectively marketing to these different audiences requires an understanding of the kind of services they find appealing. For example, if you want to increase your hygiene production, promote cleanings and preventive dentistry to New and Existing Residents. If you want to increase the number of patients choosing cosmetic procedures, market to the Brides to Be in your area promoting the idea of having “...that perfect smile for your special day.”
As with any marketing program, success at direct mail requires that each program element be performed correctly. To help you with this, we offer below a Direct Mail Program Checklist. Using this Checklist will assist you in identifying and tracking the performance of each element of your direct mail program.

Of the many different audiences for direct mail marketing, the one group which shows the highest percentage response rate is New Residents. The general appeal in targeting new residents stems from the fact that people who move a sufficient distance will likely want a new dentist for themselves and their family. Since all practices lose patients when people move out of town, this is an opportunity to “turn a negative into a positive” by targeting this continually renewing source of new patients. However, a practice desiring to do more than simply stem attrition will want to do more than simply market to new residents.

Issues 2 and 3 will delve into more aggressive practice growth techniques