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How to DIY your first direct mail campaign

Jan. 23, 2020
Direct mail still works to attract patients to your dental practice. And there's no need to stress about cost because you can do it yourself. That's right! Jessica Thiefels talks dental team members through steps for their own successful campaign.

Direct mail marketing is far from a marketing medium of the past. Quite the contrary, Media Post explains that direct mail has many benefits. These include:

●  Direct mail is no longer seen as junk mail, versus unsolicited emails which people consider spam. 
●  Branding and messaging are clear and do not get lost in the noise online.
●  Postal mail can be automated and used for transactional messages in addition to marketing campaigns.

Also, reaching local patients is easier when you send mail directly to their homes rather than trying to connect with them on social media, where it’s easy to get lost in the newsfeed.

 All of these benefits mean that you should consider direct mail as part of your dental practice’s marketing plan. However, if you’re new to this and have a minimal budget to work with, here are some tips for a DIY campaign. You don’t need to hire an expert to get things right, you just need to follow best practices and use the resources available to you.

Leverage the power of USPS Every Door Direct Mail

USPS provides a service called Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM), a tool that helps you target the neighborhoods where you’re most likely to reach potential patients. Start with this tool as a way to ensure that your direct mail reaches the right people. You can also save money using this service. As an EDDM user, you pay the USPS flat rates, which currently range from $0.162 to $0.187 per piece. Simply create your mailers, have them printed, and drop them off at your nearest post office. Check out their full user guide to make sure you get all of the details right.

Get help with a design

You don’t have to hire a freelance graphic designer to create your direct mail designs, but you do need to put together a professional design. FedEx found that 85% of consumers are more likely to shop with small businesses that have custom designed and professionally printed materials. If you or your team don’t have design experience, use customizable templates like these dental postcard templates, which cost less than hiring a designer and are easy for beginners.

The value of templates is simple: you don’t have to start from scratch. Much of the design work has been done for you. All you need to do is add your logo, update the messaging, and change the colors as needed. You will have a professionally designed postcard without having to hire anyone.

Many of the design tools that provide templates allow you to save the designs you’ve customized and used. When you’re running a new campaign, all you have to do is update the same template, which saves you time now and in the future.

Make your campaign quantifiable

The only way to know if your campaign worked and if it was money well spent is to make sure you can quantify the results. Then you can compare what you made to what you spent to get the return on investment for your first campaign.

The good news is that this is easy to do. Simply add one of a few tracking elements to the design of your postcard. Here are a few ideas to consider: 

● QR code: When scanned, a QR code will take patients to a specific page on your website. You can then track traffic to the page to see if there was an increase. 
● Phone number: Create a specific marketing phone number and include that on the postcard. If you get calls to that number, you’ll know it was because of the campaign. 
● Coupon: Incentivize patients to come in for their first visit by including a coupon that has to be shown in the office to be redeemed. You can then count the coupons to see how many were used. 
● Custom URL: Like the QR code, you can include a URL that takes patients to a specific page on your website that you can then track with analytics. 

DIY your first direct mail campaign

With the right design, targeted sending, and tracking in place, you can confidently create and send your first direct mail campaign. You don’t need to hire a marketing expert to guide you along the way. Use these tips to do all of the work yourself and reap the benefits of a local campaign that drives branding and patients.

Jessica Thiefels is founder and CEO of Jessica Thiefels Consulting, an organic content marketing agency for mid-size B2B businesses outsourcing content marketing. She’s been writing for more than 10 years and has been featured in top publications such Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Fast Company. She also regularly contributes to Virgin, Business Insider, Glassdoor, Score.org, and more. Follow her on Twitter @JThiefels and connect on LinkedIn.