[Updated: 1/26/18]

SCENARIO: In your direct mail campaign you are sending out 7,500 mailers every 3 months to the same list you purchased three years ago. You have three different offers you rotate among. Your piece is an oversized postcard with the same information about your practice, only the offer changes. You are getting about 5 new patients each time you mail.

COST: $4,500 per mailing.

New client average spend: $500 each or $2,500 per mailing.

A quick calculation will tell you that this direct mail is not working. You are spending much more than you are bringing in. One factor though that we are not calculating is the lifetime patient value, which when factored in, may prove that this campaign is profitable.

But what could you do to make this campaign better?

There are many things that go into a successful direct mail campaign with the WHO (your target prospect) being first and foremost.

Then, after the WHO, you have the WHAT (your offer, your story, your reason why), the HOW (the medium for message delivery-many factors here), and finally, the RESULTS (everything needs to be measured for ROI, call tracking numbers a must).

Based on the generic information we have provided here, there are ways to tweak this campaign to get better results.

One of the things I’ve learned from my years of experience is, after determining your target market by analyzing your best patients and cloning them, and following that, making sure your piece gets delivered by the post office (lots of stories of missing “bulk” postage mailings and two that actually happened to my clients in 16 years), grabbing the reader’s attention is paramount.

If your mailer is generic looking and you are mailing the same piece every time during your direct mail campaign with nothing noticeable to grab attention, that piece of mail is going straight in the trash can. I can think of many mailers just like this that I receive now and do this same exact thing.

You need to set your self apart from every other mailer in my pile.

We have done mailings where the list was culled down much more specifically, where we could speak to the prospect in a more personal way, where because the list was smaller, we had more money to spend on the actual deliverables sent to the prospect. This method outperforms.

A recent client, mailing to only 200 prospects, received a 7% response rate from their campaign. Now, they did spend over $60 on each prospect, of which too many reading this right now is outrageous and usually where I will lose you, but a 7% response rate is awesome. Looking at the scenario providing in the beginning, the response rate is less than .07%.

You would want to keep doing mailings like this.

One of the keys to the equation is repetition. People need to see your message between 5-9 times before they take action to call. When your messages are spaced out over 3 months, you lose momentum. If you tighten up your mailing cadence, you should see a better response.

Something that may be hurting this mailing is the age of the list. The average person in the US moves every five to seven years. If your list is old, you could be sending mail to the wrong prospects. If your mailings are not performing up to expectations, contact us today to learn how we can help grow your practice.

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Author: Kathy Jiamboi

Owner of Creativedge Marketing, where growth-oriented dentists find dental practice marketing strategies and advice to take their practice to a new and higher level.

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