Earlier this week, I got a postcard from a local orthodontist.

You can imagine I scrutinize the direct mail pieces I get – all of them. And, when they’re dental related, I look to see who created them, who mailed them, etc. Basic investigational stuff to make sure I’m staying on top of my competitors.

Problem with this one (I’d scan it and post it, but I’m sure it eventually would get back to the guy that mailed it and he’d probably be pissed at his “orthodontic” marketing company that mailed it so I’ll skip all that drama.) is pretty basic and pretty bold.

It’s addressed to:


My wife’s name is Tracy. And, she’s a girl.

My name is Jerry, and I’m a boy.

I’m assuming they targeted moms for this mailing since most men don’t put a whole lotta stock or thought into their kids’ teeth being straight. Moms however…

So, somewhere, someone blew it. And, the thing is, in the mind’s eye of the consumer, “If you blow it on the salutation, something so very simple, how can you get my kid’s ortho treatment right?”

The EASY way to avoid this rookie mistake (yes, I’ve ALREADY made this one and hundreds of others over 15 years) is to remove the salutation. Just get rid of it off the mailing list and mail to:


Better still, don’t address it in all caps. Do it in upper and lower case:

Tracy Jones

Something similar I don’t like about mailings using Carrier Route lists. These are also known as Occupant or Resident Lists. Most often, they don’t have a name attached to the address. It’s just an address and the cos. selling them usually just put the word, “OCCUPANT” in the field where a first and last name should appear.

When we mail postcards for our own use at SofTouch Dental or for clients, we always change that to read, “To Our Friends At”

It looks and sounds better than, “OCCUPANT.”

I could pick the mailing apart some more, but I’ll save the other crucial mistakes they made for my upcoming issue of the Practice Profit Insider, available exclusively for ClearPath Society Members, and mailed every month via First Class Mail.