Snail-Mail Marketing = Steady Success
As Mark Twain once said, “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” And such would be the case for direct mail marketing, which after being declared dead just a few short years ago is experiencing something of a Renaissance.
What’s changed? For starters, most of us have a love/hate relationship with email and those digital devices that keep us tethered to our cluttered, noisy, and relentlessly demanding electronic mailboxes. Our inboxes full of special offers and must-have items commonly distract us from the smattering of real and important information that is actually relevant to our lives.
Certainly, email and digital marketing are relatively inexpensive and accessible marketing tools, which is why their use and abuse have exploded. But it’s a profoundly crowded medium in which messages must fight for a sliver of recognition, let alone real acknowledgement and engagement by the recipient. Just look at the numbers - in 2012, there were 144 billion emails sent per day, all clamoring for the recipients’ attention.
Yet in today’s digital marketing climate, if you are selling anything from dirt to diamonds to dentistry, the unrelenting push is on to be in virtually every electronic medium - from email to Facebook to Twitter to Google+ to YouTube. “Content is king” cry the marketing gurus. And don’t forget the compelling calls to action urging recipients to click and buy right now, right away, don’t delay. When everything is an “important, urgent, limited time, not to be missed” offer, soon none of it seems urgent, important, or useful. Ultimately, most of us hit “delete” indiscriminately with nary a second thought other than “How quickly can I get this junk off my computer screen, and how do I stop the deluge of annoying useless messages?”
Yet, you too have important messages to convey to your patients. You have information and health education that is of real value to them. Certainly, you must inform current and prospective patients about your services using the various communication tools and media that they routinely access. At the same time, you recognize that your patients, those who can most benefit from your products and services, also are experiencing the daily deluge of digital information overload. How do you distinguish your message from everyone else’s? Read on.
Quietly remerging from the ashes of much professed obsolescence is postal mail - direct mail to be more specific. It’s of little surprise that direct mail is enjoying something of a rebirth. Electronic marketing must scream for the recipients to act immediately, for if they don’t that message will soon drop 10, 20, 50 places or more and be buried in the email black hole. But snail mail is, well, slow - as in relaxed. The recipients don’t have to open it right now. They can save it for a moment when they can enjoy paging through the information. They can take a moment to appreciate the look and feel and weight of a well-designed brochure or mailer. They can actually pause to focus on this one single item without the beeping and dinging and ringing of some other message fighting for their attention. They can appreciate that there was a very real investment of time and resources that went into crafting an attractive and well-designed message.
It’s low pressure, which is practically unheard of in today’s digitally demanding culture. With direct mail you give the recipient time to not only appreciate the message, but to actually read it - rather than merely scan it on the screen. Best of all, oftentimes the recipient does exactly that. They read and absorb the message.
So what’s changed? It’s obvious. Today there is less competition in the mailbox as compared to the inbox, so the chances of your direct marketing message not only reaching the intended audience, i.e. your patients, but also being read by that audience have increased significantly.
Let’s be clear, I’m not suggesting that you abandon digital marketing efforts. They are essential. The key is to have multi-channel marketing. Certainly, you have a website, a presence on Facebook, and other relevant social media. And it’s important to consider investments in search engine optimization and ad words. But don’t overlook the value of enabling a current or prospective patient to take their time and appreciate the design and content of a well-designed and professionally written marketing piece that educates them on the services you have to offer.
Next week, direct mail - top tips to consider.
For more information on this topic, visit my blog: The Lighter Side
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