The ABCs of dental direct mail lists

Dec. 12, 2013
Successful dental practice postcard marketing means following certain steps

The success of your dental practice’s postcard marketing campaign comes down to three pivotal decisions — choosing the postcard size, choosing the postcard design strategy, and choosing the right mailing list.

Ask any direct mail professional which one is most important and they’ll tell you — the mailing list. No question. You can mail extra-large, beautiful postcards all day long, but if you’re mailing to people in San Francisco and you’re practice is in Boise, you’re wasting your time and money.

So how can you, as a dental professional, choose the best mailing list for your practice? An effective mailing list is full of high-quality leads (i.e., the prospective patients your postcards have the best chance of converting into new patients). You can choose the right mailing list by remembering your ABCs.

Ask your mailing list provider the right questions

How do you find a reputable mailing list provider that will deliver quality lists and results for your practice? Ask them these three questions:

1. Do you guarantee the deliverability of your lists? (Look for at least 90% deliverability.)
2. Are your lists updated monthly?
3. How was this list compiled?

Be intentional about your targeted audience
The most important decision to make when choosing a mailing list is deciding whom to target. Take some time to figure it out, because the type of prospective patients you target will determine the success of your campaign.

You need to mail to people who are already in need of dental care, who have the means to afford regular check-ups, and who live within a reasonable distance from your office.

You may be asking, “How do I know who is likely to make an appointment?” Good question.

You need to identify your “ideal patient.” Your ideal patient is the accumulation of all the things your current patients have in common. Think about it. Your patients have already chosen you, so they are evidently fertile marketing soil. Are they wealthy? Do they have kids? What’s their average age? Once you have an idea of who your ideal patient is, you can target those characteristics and put together a mailing list of similar people. That’s how you know you’re sending your postcards to a high-quality mailing list.

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Choose the right list type
Now that you know how to choose a reputable mailing list provider and how to target the right prospective patients, you need to choose a list type. In my 20 years of direct mail experience, I have learned that dental practices get great results from three list types in particular.

1) Resident/occupant list – These are great because they get you discounted postage. You mail your postcards to every home on a particular carrier route. You can mail to all the carrier routes surrounding your practice and blanket your community with your postcards.

2) Demographic list – We’ve also had a lot of success using a more targeted approach. We use demographics that most of your new patients share and base a list off of those criteria. These targeting demographics are usually age, yearly household income, and proximity to your office.

3) “New mover” list – This is a list of people who have recently moved into your community who need to find schools, a doctor, and (you guessed it!) a dentist. Mailing to this list type can be very successful if you approach it correctly. We have our dental clients mail a "Welcome to the Neighborhood" message and offer discounted consultations and evaluations.

Remember these ABCs and you will end up with quality mailing lists for your practice. When your marketing postcards are sent to a high-quality mailing list, your dental practice will reap the benefit. We’ve seen it happen for our dental industry clients for over 20 years! We’re happy to provide more information on our mailing lists or free samples of our postcards if any dentists are interested.

Joy Gendusa is the owner and CEO of the direct mail marketing firm PostcardMania.