Is Direct Mail Dead?

While it’s true that practices are competing for space in patients’ mailboxes, direct mail can still achieve positive results for your practice. But in order to turn a profit on a direct mail campaign, you need to stand out from the competition.

Tips for a Successful Campaign

Here is a list of direct mail strategies that have generated an increased response rate for our members. Keep in mind that results for each member can vary; your marketing manager can help you identify trends in your area.

– Hand address the envelope or use a handwriting-like font. For one of our members who included a hand-written post-it, their direct mailer to a patient list generated 12 appointments for only $808.84. That’s less than $70 per appointment.

– Use a strong call to action. If you don’t give your patient a reason to call today, they will likely set the mailer aside and forget about it.

– Mail to the right people. Segment your list if you’re mailing to a patient database, making sure to hit the patients most likely to convert. Filter by age, proximity and income if you are mailing to a purchase list.

– Bigger can be better when it comes to postcards. Use large typography and be sure to not overload the postcard with blocks of text. One of our members sent two waves of direct mail postcards to their database, generating a 2.5% response rate and 128 appointments for $6544.80. That’s $51.13 per appointment.

– Advertise consistently across multiple channels. This includes your website and social media accounts. This way if a patient Googles you before calling, they see consistent messaging and are more likely to call.

– Make sure your staff sees the piece before it hits homes, so they know what to expect when the patient calls or comes in for their appointment.

– Personalize letters with provider images, electronic signatures and the recipient’s name. This will make the patient feel like you put in the time to reach out to them individually. Another member of ours generated 23 new patients for only $5000 by including the recipient’s name as well as their own photo and signature in a direct mail piece to a purchase list.

– Track your success. Every market is different, so though these are good tips, how well they work will vary for you. If you don’t track, you can’t learn the recipe for success for your particular practice.

What to Expect

The average response rate for a direct mailer to a patient list is 1-3%, compared to a purchase list which generates a 0.25-0.5% response rate. While these rates seem low, the cost per lead can pay for itself. It’s also important to keep in mind that these are averages and can vary significantly per market.

For example, we worked with several of our members to send letters to tested-not-treated patients and patients with technology that was four years old or older. These letters utilized a hand addressed envelope with the patient’s name and physician’s signature.

One member sent 125 letters for $188 and scheduled 8 appointments, which is a 6% response rate, costing only $23 per appointment. For another member, we sent 100 letters for $150 and scheduled 9 appointments, generating a 9% response rate and costing only $17 per appointment.

If you are interested in trying a direct mail campaign, ask your marketing manager what they recommend for your practice.

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