If you’re reading this, you’re already on the right track because you’re either marketing with direct mail postcards or thinking about it. Well done!
Here’s why I say that. According to the Direct Marketing Association, when targeting prospects, direct mail gets six times the response rate of traditional display ads (newspapers and magazines) and 35 times the response rate of pay per click (paid online search ads). After helping more than 4,500 dentists grow their revenue, we have postcard marketing down to a science. We know what makes an effective postcard, and what doesn’t.
Here are five things you should remove from your direct mail postcard to get the best possible return on your investment!
1. Too much text—I understand. You want to tell your prospective patients why you’re great. But more isn’t always more. If you overwhelm your recipients with too much copy (text), they’ll never read it. People are busy, they need and want you to get to the point quickly. And the point is, what can you do for them?
Don’t tell them about the features of your practice. Tell them the benefits—how you can solve their problems and improve their lives. Here’s what I mean:
Feature: State-of-the-art equipment
Benefit: Procedures performed quickly and precisely
See the difference?
Here’s what your postcard needs: who you are, where you’re located, your unique selling proposition (what sets you apart from the competition), a solid offer (two to three works best; I’ll elaborate in a few minutes), the benefits of coming to you for treatment, and a good call to action. Bonus points if you feature a small photo of yourself and a (very) brief bio.
Here’s what your postcard does not need: a list of all your professional achievements, a list of every single product or service you offer, your entire life story (include a bio, but keep it short).
2. Outdated or low-resolution photos—You should always include your photo on your postcard. This builds trust between you and your prospective patients, which is extremely important in a competitive field such as dentistry. You can even include a picture of your entire staff. But here’s the thing. You have to make it a good one. Don’t use that dated, grainy photo from your 2003 holiday party. Everyone has a smartphone that can take decent pictures, so whip one out and take some! One of the photos is bound to be good enough to use on your postcard. Old, low-resolution photos look unprofessional, and that’s the last thing you want your prospective patients to think about you!
3. Unnecessary graphic elements—Speaking of photos, don’t use every single one you have. Keep your postcard simple, just a handful of images that represent your practice at first glance. Those extra photos or illustrative flourishes that don’t directly promote your message? Get rid of them!
When it comes to postcards, function wins over form every time. The prettiest postcard doesn’t always get the best response.
4. Clever but confusing concepts—Done well, a clever play on words can get attention. Problem is, these are rarely done well. I came across a dental postcard recently that really threw me off. The main image was of a white rubber ducky and the headline said, “We’re not down with yellow.”
It was pretty clever, I have to say. But honestly, at first I thought the postcard was from a pool company. And if I were a prospect without a pool (and not the owner of a postcard marketing company), I would have tossed it in the trash without even reading it. You want recipients to know immediately what product or service you are promoting. Don’t sacrifice clarity for cleverness.
5. Too many offers—About 60% of our successful dental clients put two to three offers on their postcards. More than three can overwhelm recipients and dilute their interest. It’s a good idea to test different offers and see which ones pull in new patients, and use those.
Here are a couple that work for our clients: $99 new patient exam with x-rays, and free whitening treatment.
And this is important: You need separate offers for current and prospective patients. Don’t try to cram them all onto one postcard. Send two different postcards. One to your prospects and one to your current patients.
If you’d like to see postcard designs that are currently working for our clients and download free samples, visit PostcardMania.com/dentaldesigns. Or you can call our marketing experts at (855) 549-1313 anytime. Whether you use our services or not, our advice is always free.