Has the internet replaced ‘snail mail’ when it comes to marketing?
A recent study by Vertis Communications in Baltimore found that 46% of adults responded to direct mail in 2007. This is only slightly down from 47% in 2003. As powerful as the internet is (and you should be using internet marketing in your practice), advertisements sent via the mail remains a steady and profitable strategy.
Are you using direct mail to bring in new patients for your practice?
Direct mail is one of the oldest forms of marketing. Even with the rise of newer media like radio, internet and TV direct mail marketing still grows each year.
There are many different forms of direct mail — postcards, letters, magalogs, magazines, tear sheets — but postcards and letters are the most often used by chiropractors. If your marketing budget is tight, you should start with postcards then move into letters at a later point.
It’s also important to note that you should not start direct mail until you have other less risky marketing strategies in place — namely newspaper ads and internet marketing. This is because direct mail re-quires more patience and testing to be profitable. But don’t let this deter you, because when used properly, direct mail can be very profitable.
When it comes to postcards, you can choose be-tween the small regular size, a half page size and an oversized postcard. Most direct mail testing shows that the bigger the postcard, the better the response. Of course much of the response will come from the words, or the “copy”, on the postcard.
The success of a direct mail letter can also depend on the copywriting. A personalized letter coming from your office should have the following compo-nents…
-Use a compelling headline that makes the reader want to learn more.
-Open the letter with a question or curiosity, then explain who you are.
-Talk about the health problems you help people with in your office
-Give plenty of testimonials
-Make a good offer for the reader to come in as a new patient.
-Have a P.S. reminding the reader what you are offering
The list you buy is going to determine about 50% of the response you get from direct mail. Make sure that you find a decent list broker so you’re getting good addresses.
An easy list broker to use is infoUSA. I really like their map tool which allows you to draw a shape around your office. This allows you to pick certain neighborhoods and developments. You can also select just the new homeowners from their list. Put the letters into a plain white envelope and hand write the address in blue ink. Then put a live stamp, not a metered stamp, on the envelope. Your staff can do all of this for you.
If you can get a special stamp, like an upcoming holiday or a Disney stamp for example, use that one on your direct mail envelopes. This will make it look more like a personal letter when your recipient gets it.
Another direct mail strategy is to use what’s called a “tear sheet”. A tear sheet looks like an ad in the newspaper, except that someone ripped it out and mailed it to you.
You may have seen these before, where they have a post-it note on them that says, “I thought you might want to look at this, J”. (Supposedly everyone knows someone with a name that starts with J.) To use tear sheets, ask your local printer if he’s familiar with printing them.
Oversized postcards are another option. Just print a full sized newspaper ad (like the large ads in the Ultimate Chiropractic Ads) on a large postcard and mail it. In the case of postcards, you can use metered stamps and address labels.
You could also place smaller ads on regular size postcards, lowering the postage cost. However, just like your newspaper ads, the bigger the postcard, usually the better the response.
In 2009, begin implementing direct mail into your marketing plan. But remember, what is written on the postcards is just as important as the list you select to mail to. Don’t just send out some glossy postcard with lots of graphics. Use proven direct response copy or ads.