Marketing buzz today tends to center around digital marketing. But sometimes traditional marketing tactics can work best for medical practices – especially if you’re nervous about emailing patients.
Take the good old-fashioned direct mail campaign. All it takes is a list of addresses, a well-designed brochure or postcard, and a small budget to pay for the costs. It can be a great place to start as you’re delving into a marketing strategy to bring in new patients and engage your current ones.
Here’s a rundown of direct mail marketing, its benefits, costs, and how to use it in your practice.
What is direct mail marketing?
Direct mail marketing consists of flyers, letters, postcards, brochures, or any other paper-based ad format that you mail to patients’ homes. Regardless of which format you use, you should always include a “call to action” that encourages patients to call, email, or visit your practice. Including a free or discounted service promotion is a great way to motivate patients to act.
You could also send out a regular newsletter to keep patients informed about limited-time offers, changes to your practice, or other relevant health information. Or you could send patients thank you and birthday cards.
Even if you don’t include an offer in your direct mail campaign, the idea is to keep your practice top of mind for patients.
How to Get Started
First, decide what your strategy and/or offer will be. Run some numbers to figure out what type of discount or campaign might generate the most interest or bring in the best return. Are you offering content or a thank you card rather than a discount? Brainstorm the best type of content and message to engage direct mail recipients and establish your practice as a go-to for patients.
Next, strategize on which patients or patient demographics will generate the highest response rates. You may choose to only communicate with existing or previous patients, or you may consider purchasing a direct mail list from a reputable list broker. These lists consist of potential patients in your target region and/or demographic. Remember: Bigger isn’t always better, as larger lists may drag down your ROI.
If you have the time, energy, and staff, you could design and produce direct mail marketing materials in-house at a reduced cost. However, you may get a more polished look by paying for design and printing services. Weigh your anticipated returns against the budget you have available.
You can work with either a local consultant or marketing company or find virtual services online, and these days, the same goes for printing services. Both can be found with simple Google searches, such as “direct mail marketing consultant” or “direct mail printing Mesa AZ.”
Each type of direct mail format comes with its own costs and return rates, such as postcards being most economical but sales letters having the best response rates. Base your decision on the marketing message you’re sending out, your target audience, and, ultimately, your budget.
Measure Your Return on Investment
If you’re putting money into direct mail marketing, you want to know it’s driving patients and revenue to your practice. The only way to know for sure is to measure your ROI.
Different measurements to consider include:
- Overall response rate (gross response)
- Conversion rate (recipients who become customers)
- Cost of each lead generated (campaign costs divided by number of inquiries you receive)
- Cost of each acquisition (campaign costs divided by number of new patients or number of service sales, depending on your offer)
- Return on investment (Total revenue from campaign divided by campaign costs)
These calculations won’t always be an exact science. Sometimes it can be difficult to prove whether a patient’s visit was because of your direct mailer. But you have three easily executable options to derive ballpark data to measure the success of your direct mail campaign:
- Just ask. “How did you hear about us or our promotion?” or “Are you responding to one of our mailers? Which one?”
- Require patients to bring in their mailer to receive the discount. Not all patients will remember to bring the mailer. But even if they don’t have it in-hand, they will mention it for the discount, so you’ll know the mailer worked.
- Include a unique identifier on each card. A unique promotion code can make it easier to track which are your best-performing mailers.
Direct mail marketing is just one way to help you grow your practice. Interesting in learning more marketing strategies for doctors? Check out our related posts below!