123postecards 1

Case study: How to get 400% ROI on dental direct mail marketing

Feb. 7, 2013
Done correctly, direct mail marketing can have a huge return on investment.

Marketing your dental practice through direct mail postcards has proven to be one of the best ways to fill up your appointment book and create name recognition in your community. When done correctly, dental direct mail campaigns can bring an impressive and measurable return on your investment.

Let’s walk through a real-world case study of a successful dental direct mail campaign for Viva Dental.

First, some background

Dr. Diep Truong has evaluated many types of marketing to grow her practice. In February 2011, Dr. Truong decided to try a dental postcard marketing campaign to bring in new patients. Dr. Truong and 123 Postcards teamed up on the following services:

· Postcard design
· Demographic targeting
· Front office training
· ROI reporting

This article will show you how she increased her ROI from 213% on her first postcard campaign to over 400% consistently on her most recent campaigns.

Step 1: The postcard design

Creating an engaging and effective design for your postcard is crucial for getting a good response rate. After many years and millions of postcard mailings, we’ve analyzed and compared the performance of each design to determine which ones will get the best response rate. 123 Postcards customized one of our proven postcard templates for Dr. Truong based on her feedback and branding.

Here’s one of the designs used for Dr. Diep Truong that was chosen based on the her brand, market, and previous performance:

Postcard design tips:

1. Stand out – Make sure you have elements on your postcard that separate you from the pack. Whether it’s a special offer, unique imagery, or vibrant colors, your postcard needs to make people stop and take notice. Typically, “less is more” in direct mail. Mailers that are chock full of copy rarely work as well as those that are very succinct, well laid out, and eye catching. You have to grab attention and do it quickly!
2. Call to action – You need to give your audience a reason to take action. Something as simple as “call now!” may help, but a more tempting offer that appeals to your demographic can make a huge difference. 123 Postcards recommends that you make offers that ensure your practice will benefit and doesn’t set any unhealthy precedents. You must be cautious about offers that are too aggressive. Offers that give away too much and are not win-win may attract the wrong type of patient.
3. Contact information – As obvious as it may seem, it’s easy to forget to include all of your contact information. Make sure your phone number is large and obvious in order to encourage phone calls, and also include your office address and website. Depending on your demographic, you may want to include your social media accounts and a QR code for quick mobile access to your website.

Step 2: Your mailing list

Once you have a great postcard, the next and very important step is to create a targeted mailing list. When we say targeted, we don’t just mean people who live in your geographic area; we mean specific groups of people in your area who are most likely to become the new patients you want.

By honing your mailing list to the best candidates and using a proven postcard design, you maximize your investment by getting to the correct prospects and wasting no money on the wrong ones.

For Viva Dental’s direct mail campaign, 123 Postcard’s map specialist matched the demographic profile they were looking for with USPS postal routes and neighborhoods that met the same criteria, so they will get the new patients they want. When Viva Dental opened their second office, the market was a bit different, so the criteria were changed for the new office’s demographic needs.

Finally, the postcards were addressed and mailed. 123 Postcards drop shipped the postcards to their local business postal center to more accurately control the delivery day. We’ve discovered that when postcards arrive in homes in the early part of the week, it can result in a higher response rate, usually enough to cover the initial investment.

Step 3: Performance tracking and training

One of the best things about direct mail marketing is how well you can track the performance. Despite this huge benefit of direct mail, many practices don’t take advantage of this. We highly recommend using a call tracking number on your postcards. With this unique number, you can find out exactly how many calls are generated from your campaign, how many calls you miss, when your calls come in, and more.

With additional resources, there is more you can do beyond call tracking to monitor and improve your campaigns. For example, we employ a staff of call analyzers who are trained to listen to every call you receive, and they score each one on 37 different key performance indicators. Listening to and rating these calls gives you insight into what your staff does really well, and where they can enhance patients’ experiences and turn phone calls into appointments.

In Dr. Truong’s case, she was able to consistently double her ROI due to the additional training her staff received as part of our campaign. By reviewing our training videos and using their personal coach, her front office staff learned how to convert more callers into new patients.

What do you do next?

With your mailing on its way to homes, you can sit back and relax for a few days. Over the next several weeks, you can monitor the effectiveness of your postcard campaign. Most of your calls will come in the first four to six weeks, though there will be lingering calls months after that.

From our experience, you should aim for the following performance metrics with your postcard campaigns:

1. Average of two to four times return on your investment
2. 50% minimum conversion rate of prospective patients who call scheduling appointments

The latest direct mail campaign for Viva Dental produced a 472% ROI in the first 56 days with a 53% close ratio. The success of their campaign can be attributed to a better-trained office staff, and to continued testing and optimization of their direct mail campaigns.

About the author: Aaron R. Boone is the vice president of sales for 123 Postcards, a leader in direct mail marketing for dentists. With many years and millions of postcards delivered, 123 Postcards’ unique postcard marketing services include proven designs, targeted demographics, staff training, fully trackable campaigns, and a 200% guaranteed ROI. Contact Aaron at [email protected] or call 888-246-2555. Visit the website at dentalmarketing.net.