Marketing a Dental Practice: Mailers 101

Dental practices see mixed results when they mail flyers advertising their services to local neighborhoods. No one wants to add to the pile of junk mail that their patients throw away, and that fear may keep you from investing in a mailing list and sending your flyer out. However, some practices see great results using mailers, but the reason they work is that these practices stick to certain principles that make their mailer successful in attracting new patients. Here are some principles to keep in mind if you are considering using a mailer as part of your marketing mix:

1.) Texture: Leaf through at the “junk mail” you get every day in the mailbox with your fingers (physical mail from a physical mailbox, not email). What do you feel? Glossy catalogs? Newsprint paper coupons? Standard weight paper flyers? Pay attention to the textures of paper you get in the mail and send your mailer on a type of paper or in a film cover that stands out from the usual mix when you touch it. Avoid the glossy finish you can just imagine a Bed, Bath, and Beyond mailer in. Avoid the standard printing paper that you might get a wedding invitation or local event invite in. Make your flyer stand out before the patient even looks at it—grab new patients’ attention by the hand! And be sure you tailor the paper you choose to the mail that goes out in your area! Maybe glossy paper dominates the junk mail scene in your mailbox, so you reach for cardstock. Whatever paper you choose, avoid matching anything else that you get in the mail too closely. Maybe you are thinking that there aren’t that many different paper types available, but this is not true. Just go on Amazon and see that you can mix up the content of cotton in your paper, the gloss level, the grit. Explore for yourself or talk about it through your publishing company if you are using an agency to print your mailers.

2.) Size and Shape: Again, avoid the sizes and shapes that are sticking out in your area. Unique shapes are another way to stand out both from a visual standpoint and a sensory one. Avoid post card size or 8.5/11 size, unless no one else in the neighborhood is doing that. Make your flyer longer and skinnier than most, thicker or stouter, whatever it takes to be different from the coupons, leaflets, brochures, and other mailers you are getting locally.

3.) Images: One successful dental marketing company uses retro images on their mailers to draw the attention of their audience—pictures of people printed in black and white that look like they came straight out of the 1950’s. This type of image sticks out as a blast from the past. Images that do NOT stand out include stock photos, clip art, or shapes. As with our tips on texture and size, choose images that grab the attention of your audience.

4.) Fonts: While we are discussing the subject of optimizing your mailer visually, we also encourage you to choose fonts that you don’t see every day, maybe that you downloaded from the internet or had a graphic artist draw. Comic Sans, Papyrus, Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri, and nearly all the standard Microsoft Office Fonts should be avoided unless you haven’t seen them recently. The problem with Microsoft Office fonts is that they have become cliché with overuse and will cause your audience to ignore the content of your flyer for lack of originality.

5.) Content: This is what you hire a copy writer for, unless you think you can do it in-house. Great copy will convert, and monetize your audience from onlookers to new patients like nothing else. All other tactics play the supporting role of attracting the attention of the people on your mailing list. The content of your flyer will actually keep their attention and convert your mailing list into appointments. Have a message that excites, informs, and holds the attention of your audience. If you blow your audience with a flyer that is fun to look at and fun to read, you’ve gained patient trust without even meeting the person (and without them being a patient yet…). If you can’t hire a copy writer and don’t feel confident writing the message yourself, look for examples you can pattern your mailer from examples online and in your own mailbox. Our advice is to avoid passive voice, use engaging verbs, and maybe even include some humor.

6.) Extra Advice: Mailers are not meant to be one-and-done. Your mailer ought to change periodically to avoid redundancy. Use your mailer to demonstrate that your practice is alive and adaptive, not stagnant and content with the status-quo. Use various tactics, find what works best, and keep your marketing mix alive with new approaches. Maybe that means new graphics or a new central message, or maybe that means dropping the mailers all together and putting more emphasis on digital marketing. Whatever draws the members of your community that you hope to treat, focus your efforts and attention on that. One doctor in the Midwest said Twitter and Facebook gained few new patient leads, but mailers and public events did. Not all areas are the same, so depending on the demographic you serve, tailor your marketing to them.

Platinum Recall is a patient retention and reactivation service that offers dental accounting and bookkeeping, a full-service dental laboratory, a 24/7 dental call center, and Platinum Stats, a state of the art digital tool that reflects the progress and state of your practice daily, revealing the effectiveness of your business operations. At Platinum Recall, our goal is to help you reach your goals as a dentist, by making the business aspect of your practice easier. Call today (800) 900-2012 to learn more or sign up here for a free demo.

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