5 Unexpected Benefits of Direct Mail Marketing
In recent years, many marketers have all but abandoned direct mail campaigns. They prefer to focus on the flashier digital and social media marketing opportunities that are now available, even hiring teams dedicated to these efforts.
While it’s true digital marketing offers an easy way to reach a targeted audience, it’s not always the most effective method. That’s according to digital marketing company Enthusem. Marketing messages often get lost in all the noise, and it’s difficult to determine just how successful campaigns really are.
That’s why I suggest that dentists include direct mail in their marketing plan. This tried and true method will get you results, especially if you develop professional materials that really command attention.
Still not convinced? Read on to learn about the five unexpected benefits of direct mail marketing.
1. Direct mail helps your practice stand out. Years ago, everyone relied on direct mail to reach their audience. That’s not the case today. Most business owners, including dentists, are focused on digital and social media campaigns. That means if you send a professional piece of direct mail, your practice will stand out from others in your area.
It’s important to note you shouldn’t rely on generic postcards when trying to attract new patients to your practice. Hot air balloons and puppies aren’t going to do the trick. Create materials that really showcase your practice, your team and the services you offer. When you do, more new patients will be prompted to make their next appointment at your practice.
2. Direct mail gets a better response than email. That’s right. Consumers (including potential new patients) are simply more likely to respond to a physical piece of mail than to an email. According to the CMO Council, a network for senior marketing decision makers, the email response rate is .12%. For direct mail, that number is 4.4%. Not only that, 79% of consumers act on direct mail immediately, while only 45% do the same with email. Those numbers make direct mail look pretty attractive to me.
3. Direct mail makes patients happy. You might be thinking this is a stretch but hear me out. None of us like to receive junk mail that isn’t relevant to our wants and needs, but we all love to receive mail that offers a benefit. Professional educational materials do that, and are especially helpful for patients looking for a new dental home or who are interested in specific services their current dentist doesn’t offer. And if you’re able to add a personal touch in some way, even better – though this might be more feasible with recall cards or new patient welcome packages.
4. Direct mail improves your digital efforts. Keep in mind I’m not telling you to ditch your digital and social media efforts. While these marketing methods have their downside, they do represent an easy, economical way to reach your audience. But if you combine them with a direct mail campaign, they’ll be much more effective. I suggest you come up with offers that link your direct mail and digital marketing. Include URLs in your direct mail materials that drive people to your website or to a landing page for a special promotion, for example. Trust me, you’ll have much better results when your digital and direct mail materials work together.
5. Direct mail has staying power. Facebook is one of the most effective social media platforms for marketing a business. You can target who you want to reach based on demographics, income level and a variety of other factors. The problem is, as people scroll through their newsfeeds, they’re not really retaining what they see. With direct mail, however, they touch the marketing material and interact with it. This makes them more likely to see and remember the message – and act on it.
Developing the right marketing strategy
Resist the urge to save money by skipping direct mail. Direct mail is still a viable option that some, like marketing company Enthusem, argue is even more effective than many digital channels, and is the method that will maximize the return on your investment (ROI). So when working with a professional company to put together your campaign, be sure to include direct mail marketing in your plans. You’ll reap the rewards of these unexpected benefits, which will help you grow your practice and meet your full potential.
For additional information on this topic and more, visit my blog: The Lighter Side
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Get More Patients to Say Yes to Treatment
Dentist Case Study #347
The doctor’s concerns: “Production is down and so are practice revenues. Case acceptance is nowhere near where it should be. I know I need to find a way to get more patients to say yes to treatment but I’m not sure where to start.”
This is a frustrating, yet common, problem. Dentists see new patients every month and offer treatment recommendations for the issues they diagnose, but all-too-often they don’t go forward with that treatment. Some never even come back to the practice. That’s a bottom-line killer and doesn’t do much for team morale, either.
To help this doctor improve case acceptance, we first had to determine why it was so lackluster. We discovered he wasn’t spending much time chairside educating patients about the importance of maintaining their oral health or about their condition. He would pop in and tell them what treatment he thought they needed and then pop back out, never taking time to explain why. He also didn’t have a Treatment Coordinator to help fill in the gaps, so patients would leave the office with an expensive treatment plan but no intention of following through.
Patients aren’t just going to accept treatment because the dentist recommends it (though that sure would make things easier). They need to trust their dentist has their best interest at heart and actually understand why they need treatment. Once that happens, they’ll say yes far more often.
With that in mind, here’s how McKenzie Management suggested this doctor improve case acceptance in his practice and grow his bottom line:
Take the time to get to know your patients. Most patients want to feel a connection with their dental practice. When they do, they’re more likely to come back and accept recommended treatment. We encouraged this doctor and his team to start asking patients about their jobs, families and oral health goals, and to tell them about the services the practice offers to help them reach those goals. This only takes a few minutes, but it goes a long way in earning loyalty and growing case acceptance.
Focus on education. This is key. The more educated patients are, the more likely they are to say yes to treatment. Intraoral and extraoral images, radiographs, videos and brochures can help provide that education. It’s also a good idea to have models on hand so patients can actually see what they’re getting, which this doctor now has. For example, just because you told Mr. Smith he needs a crown to replace an old silver filling that now has a cavity in it, that doesn’t mean he has any idea what a crown is and how it will help him chew his favorite foods and improve his smile – he just knows it will set him back about $600.
If you have another patient’s model with a crown already prepared by the lab, patients like Mr. Smith can see and touch it. This gives them a much better idea of how the tooth will be prepared and just how strong the crown actually is. Add in some education about the benefits a crown provides, and patients will clearly see the value of treatment and be more likely to move forward.
Consider hiring a Treatment Coordinator. Making this move can seem impossible if your practice is struggling financially, but this team member plays a critical role in growing case acceptance and your bottom line, so it just might be worth it. It was for our doctor. Now, after he educates patients chairside, his Treatment Coordinator sits down with them in a quiet, relaxing environment to go over the procedure in more detail. She takes as much time as necessary to answer questions and address concerns, then follows up two days later with a phone call with the ultimate goal of getting patients on the schedule.
Once our doctor incorporated these changes, his case acceptance rate jumped to about 90%. His practice is much more profitable now and he’s finally meeting his full potential. You can do the same. If you’d like more guidance, whether you need to improve case acceptance or address other issues in your practice, reach out to McKenzie Management and we’ll help you get started.
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