Check out this call that our ClearPath Member, Dr. Wally Cantu, received right after dropping his direct mailing. If this isn’t proof that JJD’s marketing is effective, I don’t know what is!
More basics…What is a Newsletter? According to Google.com, a Newsletter is, “A bulletin issued periodically to the members of a society, business, or organization.”
I’d plus the definition by adding something the writer of this definition probably didn’t consider: A newsletter is a physically delivered media that not only provides information, but SHOULD deliver a “back-end offer,” (often referred to as a piggy-back marketing effort), to increase a business’ or organization’s cash flow.
I do think email newsletters have their place, but in no way of any kind, are they a replacement for a hard-copy, US Mail-sent, physically-delivered newsletter. There’s no equal. I may get into email newsletters, but know the very same principles are going to apply there as apply in physically mailed formats.
Be sure to consult your Pre-Flight Checklist for newsletters, too. (Available to Direct Marketing Profit Insider Subscribers)
Additionally, a newsletter should be used in order to maintain a desired relationship with one’s client or customer base, through the thoughtful sharing of information of interest to the reader, not necessarily the writer or provider.
They can and should also be used to maintain a connection with those who’ve inquired about products or services (leads or even former clients or customers). We use this often with our financial services clients who might mail their monthly newsletter to a lead a dozen or more times, investing $24 to $36 into each lead.
They have already invested maybe as much as $250 to $500 into a lead, so an add’l $24 to $36 to convert them to a client is minimal. Particularly when they have large case fees, it just makes sense. In my opinion, every business must be mailing their clients/patients (and in most cases, their prospects) a regular newsletter.
Similar to the question I asked of you above, in the POSTCARD section, I want you to ask yourself, “What’s the purpose of each part of my newsletter and what is my overall strategy with this media?”
My belief and experience tells me you should have multiple objectives to get the biggest return on your invested dollar. First, educate. Then, some of the material included is designed to retain clients or patients, some to entertain. Still, other content designed to sell. Each and every aspect of this has to be thought out in advance. And, in many cases, months in advance in the event you want some continuity and thought in what you’re presenting to your reader.
Let’s dig into this a bit. When I set out to write a newsletter for instance, I know it’s got to have all the above elements: education, entertainment, the ability to retain my paying readers, subscribers or Members (and, even better still if I focus each month on getting you to refer another member), and, it’s got to sell something (preferably, a strong back-end offer is included with every newsletter you mail to maximize the value of your list – this is often referred to as piggy-back marketing.). And, something I haven’t talked about much: Recognition of clients.
I do consider the idea of re-selling readers on the importance of their decision to invest every month, selling something.
Let’s start with the basics: What is a postcard? According to dictionary.com, a “Postcard — n Also called (US): postal card is a card, often bearing a photograph, picture, etc, on one side, (picture postcard), for sending a message by post without an envelope.”
I’d plus this laymen’s definition with the simple thought of, “A postcard is a flat sheet of paper mailed or directly delivered to a party, imprinted with words and photographs intended to evoke an emotional response from its recipient in order to get them to take the action indicated on the postcard, whether it be to make a phone call, visit a website, or, visit a store.” We’ve mailed every size and color – from the USPS’s minimum size to 11”x17” sheets of paper!
BEFORE YOU MAIL ANY POSTCARD:
What’s the purpose of your postcard? Sounds like an easy question, right? By ‘purpose,’ I mean, what do you expect or want the postcard to achieve? Do you want it to alert? Annoy? Generate a phone call? Drive to a website? If you need to increase sales and drive phone calls, the purpose of your postcard should be pretty clear. If you are interested in driving traffic to a website to increase your list, the point of the postcard should be clear, too.
Whatever the overall purpose is, keep it in mind and don’t wander when you start to write copy and create the layout. Stay on track. It sounds simple. But, if your intention is to drive a phone call to your office, why would you include your website to distract the potential caller? And, if you were intending to drive to a website, why put your phone number? Analyze every piece of copy.
It has to be intentional. Powerful. If it’s not moving the prospect in the direction you want (down the “greased chute”), then whack it. Take the copy off. It all has to sell. Your available real estate, even on my favorite, the 6” x 22” postcard (folded down to 6” x 11” finished size), is limited. In many cases for my own use to promote different businesses I have had, I have been able to get 4-pages of sales letter ON a 6” x 22” postcard.
Years ago, as the web started to become “the place” to drive people to sell ‘em something, I made an important discovery for my clients, that I believe, to this day, holds true: if you are driving phone calls to a live person, do not include your website on your postcard. It’s a mistake I see time and again.
You see, we’d find that instead of phone calls coming into the office where they could be converted to appointments, the client’s website would have a staggering amount of hits; the public was curious to know what was on their site. Sure, a few called, but not nearly enough, and, we began to see our results begin to drop.
And, what’s worse, it took our clients from selling in a vacuum in direct mail, to selling in an environment where prospects can start surfing for not only other like clients but other things. Not cool. Not good for response.
Here’s why so many still make this mistake today: We’ve been taught that the rule is you give your prospects as many ways to respond to you as possible. Phone, fax, email, website, Fed Ex, return envelope, whatever. However, when it comes to postcards, this rule can and should be clearly examined with a clean slate – without past biases of attempting to generate response.
ClearPath Society Members have access to literally dozens of proven postcard concepts and designs that have been mailed in my own dental office and hundreds of others all over the U.S. To learn more, visit ClearPathSociety.com
Generating high numbers of new patients in any market is a challenge. Add in a tough economy, add to that, an economy that has negative job growth, and, an MSA (metropolitan statistical area) with -8.26% population growth, and you just add to the level of difficulty.
The icing on this cake: about 900 dentists in the MSA (Buffalo, Kenmore, etc.). So it’s stiff competition, too.
About 45 days ago, a ClearPath Society Member and private client in Kenmore, NY, asked me to create a direct mail piece to increase their new patient flow. New patient numbers had dropped and they were looking for a boost for this 3-doctor practice.
Their first drop of 5,000 postcards yielded 29 unique calls to their office. New patient numbers have not quite been finalized, but this response rate should provide a solid return on investment.
Here’s a chart showing the calls, length of, etc.:
The next drop of 5,000 postcards hit Monday, July 11th. So far, the second drop of 5,000 postcards has already drummed up another 17 unique calls. Here’s the report for this month:
To learn more about customized direct mail to generate new patients, just contact my office – (503) 339-6000.
I’m reminded, all too vividly this morning, about the importance of “PLACE” in direct mail.
To be clear, I’m not talking about “Don’s Place,” down the street, where you go have a cool refreshing libation.
For my work here, PLACE is can be considered geography. Or, to be more precise, where your practice is located in relationship to where your patients come from.
Your PLACE in their world (prospective and current pts), is as important as message, market and media.
Geographically speaking, there are reasons why your patients end up choosing you. In fact, in a recent DVD I watched, presented by Howie Horrocks, a gent I greatly respect for his long-term PLACE in dental marketing and promotion (he’s been at it a few years longer than I, but few, if any, can compare to his, or to my experience set, for sure), suggested, based on results from a study he commissioned, that LOCATION (PLACE) was the number one factor for patients choosing dentists.
Is that ALL patients?
But, it is the for the vast majority of patients. (Marketing for the minority of the patients is expensive and far more difficult. Do that when you’ve money to burn and hope enough to spare.)
So, PLACE, or where you are in relationship to where your prospects are, matters greatly.
In trolling for patients via direct mail, PLACE, to me, is defined as the “list” you rent to mail your direct mail piece/campaign.
There is no other single factor in direct mail, that is more important than the list.
You can have the best marketing piece in the world (like mine), you can have perfect timing (like right after January 1st), you can have the most amazing FREE offer ever, but if PLACE isn’t correct, your mailing piece is doomed, results non-existent.
You’ll feel as though you’ve shoved your money down a rat hole, never to see it again.
Truly, this is the #1 most important piece to the direct mail puzzle. This red-headed step child is certainly one you’ll want to pay careful attention to.
If PLACE and PROPERTY strategy are concepts of interest to you, I’d suggest my friend Stephen Roulac’s comprehensive and exhaustive research and his book at Amazon.com. You can get it here:
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:
MR. TRACY JONES
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:
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.