You’ve decided to market your dental practice with postcards. Congratulations!
But don’t celebrate yet. Your work is not done.
Selecting this successful format is the first step toward devising a direct mail campaign that works for you and your patients.
Don’t waste your money by choosing postcard designs and copy at random and mailing them without a second thought.
Instead, create a strategy to spend money smartly on audiences that will value your messages. Consider these factors to develop your strategy:
1. What’s your goal?
Have a goal in mind before you work on any other part of your postcard strategy. Maybe it’s creating awareness of your practice or providing helpful knowledge about dental hygiene. Maybe it’s attracting new patients before the start of a new school year. Or, you want to win business from a competitor by offering a special price on one of your services.
Whatever you decide, your plan will have to include the right tools to accomplish it.
2. Who’s your audience?
Sometimes, the answer is “everyone.” If you run a saturation campaign, you’ll mail the same postcard promoting your practice to everyone in a specific area or zip code.
More often, “everyone” is not your customer. Some people might not be in the market for your dental services. And even if they are, they might not respond to a generic postcard.
Think about your ideal patients.
Do you have only one type? Do you have several?
If you want to attract different categories of patients, reach out to them with postcards using headlines, images, and offers that are appropriate for each specific segment.
Based on what you know about your potential patients from your house and rented lists, target their needs and wants. You’ll know, or be able to figure out, which dental services are important to them.
For example, if your audience is primarily families with children, this little bit of information can dictate how you market your services.
Do you provide flexible office hours? Is your office a fun environment that can keep kids occupied while Mom or Dad is getting a checkup? If so, put all of that on your postcards.
You might not need to change a thing about your practice. This concerns only what you talk about, as well as the images you show and the offers you make, on your postcard. When your postcard is relevant to potential patients, it engages them and vastly increases the odds of a response.
3. What’s your budget?
Knowing how much money you can afford to spend on printing, processing, and postage is vital.
For every postcard campaign, you’ll have to balance your budget against reach – your target audience (see above) – as well as your mailing frequency (see below). You have a wide range of options. As you monitor your response, you might want to adjust your tactics to get the most for your money.
4. What’s your schedule?
While a postcard campaign is economical and efficient to run, you still have to coordinate many moving parts. Again, depending on your overall goal, your target audience, and your available budget, you should set up a timeline for deliverables like design, approvals, printing, and delivery to USPS.
Remember the marketing “Rule of 7:” A prospect needs to see or hear an advertiser’s message seven times before acting. In your case, a potential dental patient might not notice your postcard right away. Don’t worry! Frequent mailings – even those with different messages or offers – are more likely to appeal when mailed to the right audience.
Which factor is most important in forming the strategy that will help your dental postcard be successful?
There is no right answer. As we’ve seen, your audience, budget, and schedule have advantages that need to be weighed carefully against each other.
Once you’ve run your campaigns and tracked your responses, you’ll know which strategies succeed. Your next challenge: Repeat your success!