Direct mail has proven to be a remarkable investment for dental practitioners looking to promote their services. Viva Dental, an Indiana-based facility, consistently observed a 400% ROI on their postcard campaigns, with a 50% conversion rate of inbound calls for scheduling appointments.
Previously, we discussed the best practices for healthcare direct mail, and how you can use postcard marketing to increase your bottom line. In this article, we will delve deeper into what makes your dental postcards a success and also look at some examples that you can replicate for your brand.
1. Target Existing Customers
Almost to Pareto Law, 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your most loyal customers, which only emphasizes the importance of keeping your existing customers happy.
By targeting your highest-return customers, you can forge long-standing relationships with people who need little to no persuasion to continue doing business with you. Not to mention, it’s also cost-effective, because you don’t have to spend your time, money, and resources convincing them about your brand potential. All you need to do is give them a nudge every now and then to show that you value their patronage.
For example, many brands regularly check-in with their customers and share updates on upcoming events and offers. Consider the following postcard from Arch Dental of Huntington reminding existing customers to avail services (“dental exam, preventative care, and oral cancer screening”) that they have previously shown interest in.
By showing concern for the customer’s well-being, Arch Dental is positioning themselves as a brand that cares about the people and has their best interests at heart.
Absolute Dental’s postcard echoes a similar sentiment by encouraging the receivers to use their yearly dental benefits before expiration.
You can also go share company updates, and offer customer-only discounts.
2. Create a Sense of Urgency
How many times have you bookmarked an article or wishlist-ed a product, so you can come back later and finish what you started? You’re not alone! People often get stuck in the decision-making stage of the customer journey, wherein, they are actively interested in a brand but are yet to take the final plunge. As a result, your direct mail campaigns should break through the inertia of the “I’m still thinking about it!” mindset and compel people to act imminently.
Studies show that scarcity often leads to items being perceived as much more valuable. Limited-time events — discounts valid for a specific period or offers that are valid until the stock lasts — instill a fear-of-missing-out in customers that ultimately spring them into action.
You can also highlight what they will be missing out on by demonstrating the ROI of your services, and, how much money they can save by scheduling a dental appointment right away. For example, in the following postcard from Kissing Camels Family Dentistry, the establishment lists their key offerings on one side and closes with “You’re about to lose $1000!” on the other side to encourage prompt customer action.
3. Offer Seasonal Discounts
A National Retail Federation (NRF) survey found that people tend to make the most impulse-driven, high-value purchases during the winter holidays, and back-to-school season. By offering seasonal discounts during these notable times, you’re capitalizing on an opportune moment when most of your potential customers are already in the “buying mindset”.
You might be thinking — what’s the point in discounting your services during a busy period? Wouldn’t you generate more revenue by doing the opposite? The answer is simple: You’re competing against hundreds of other dental establishments for visibility, and customers are more likely to pick you if they are getting a better value for their money.
For example, apart from announcing that they’d be closed for Christmas, Blackburn Laboratories offers a generous discount to their returning customers.
On a similar note, Best dental reminds customers to use their dental benefits before the year ends by availing their December ‘holiday special’.
While creating a seasonal marketing plan for your direct mail dental postcards, start by identifying timely opportunities that are in-tune with your business. Christmas, Easter, Memorial Day Weekend, Fourth of July are some obvious choices. However, there’s also Dentist Day (March 6), World Smile Day (first Friday of October), and Flossing Day (November 27) — not the most popular of occasions, but relevant to your line of work. Depending on your target audience, you can add some fun ones in the mix, too, like National Taco Day, or International Coffee Day!
WMW!’s Industry Trends widget can come in handy if you’re building a seasonal marketing plan. You can track the monthly volume of direct mail promotional offers in your industry (health care, in this case) and adjust your plans accordingly.
4. Include QR Codes for an Interactive Experience
Although QR codes have been around since the 90s, they started gaining popularity after the rapid, worldwide adoption of the smartphone in the late ’00s. When scanned, the machine-readable, matrix barcode prompts customers to visit your website, add an appointment to your calendar, navigate to your facility’s location, and leave a review. They can even activate the call function on your phone or open a ready-made template email to schedule an appointment. Currently, QR codes appear to be one of the biggest direct mail trends for 2021.
There are many creative ways of exploiting the broad functionalities of QR codes. For example, Shore Smiles Dental has found a fun, interactive way to speed up the customer decision-making process and encourage people to invest in Invisalign. You can scan the QR code on the back of their dental postcard to see what you will look like with Invisalign.
Postcards often don’t have enough space for all the information you want to share like offer details, dental benefits, or terms of service. QR codes, without taking up a lot of real estate, can easily guide the customers to specific landing pages on your website.
5. Add Maps
What’s the first thing you do when you’re in a new, unfamiliar city? Open Google Maps to explore the landmarks around you, and get directions for the places you’re interested in checking out. Without a clear sense of direction, you are less likely to venture outside — after all, you wouldn’t want to risk getting lost or spending the afternoon asking people where to go. The lesson here is simple: Make it easy for customers to find you, and they will.
If you’re looking to increase the footfall to your establishment, maps can serve as a great marketing accessory for your direct mail campaigns. In addition to turn-by-turn driving instructions, maps showcase the fastest/shortest routes to your dental facility. If you have multiple locations, you can list the maps to each one, so customers have the option to choose what works best for them.
Consider the following examples from Great Falls Dentistry and Mondovi Dental that use maps in their dental postcards to simplify directions for their potential patients.
With the advent (and subsequent popularity!) of variable printing, you can create high-quality, personalized maps that are unique to each customer address. They highlight the route from the customer’s home right to your facility, display nearby store locations, share the lowest-traffic options, and draw attention to other points of interest (like participating retailers of a loyalty program).
6. Redirect People from Dental Postcards to Your Social Media
Today, 90% of businesses use platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to connect with their audience and build hype around ongoing promotional campaigns. As a result, more and more customers are relying on social media to make an informed purchasing decision — in fact, almost 67% of them consider social media to be their preferred touchpoint for customer service.
For example, let’s take a look at the postcard from Smith Sterling Laboratories. The call-to-action (CTA) to “follow us on your favorite social media” is a nice, casual way of inviting customers to engage with the business on platforms other than direct mail.
Remember, it’s important to mention your complete username/handle, as opposed to non-clickable links or icons, to ensure people are at the right place. In Family Dentistry’s case, the CTA doesn’t work as expected because the customer will have to go online, search for the facility’s social media handles, and spend time sorting through other business pages similar to theirs. Instead, it’s easier to pull out your phone, search for the social media username/handle and find the page you’re looking for.
7. Take an Adaptive Approach to Messaging
Intelligent brands are always ready to pivot and adapt their marketing strategy based on industry trends, and customer response.
For example, the COVID19 pandemic has completely changed the consumer landscape and forced brands to drastically alter their messaging, buyer personas, and product strategy. Check out the following dental postcards that Bright Now! Dental shared before and after COVID19.
Although they seem to be running the same offer on braces and dental services, the second one has a disclaimer (highlighted in red for maximum visibility) addressing the obvious safety concerns that people have in recent times. By taking an ethical, empathetic approach to communication, Bright Now! Dental comes across as a brand that cares about its customers’ well-being and is ready to go the extra mile to ensure everyone has a safe dental visit.
How to Search for Dental Postcards Ideas on Who’s Mailing What!
Who’s Mailing What! has more than 3600 dental postcard examples across four healthcare subcategories — hospitals & healthcare, medical practice, pharmaceuticals, wellness & fitness. Let’s take a look at how you can use Who’s Mailing What! filters to search for dental postcards that are proven to work:
- Click on Search → Use the Industry filter to find the healthcare subcategory that’s relevant to you, or browse through them all.
- You can further narrow down your search by using filters to sort location, format type, business model, or controls. Since we’re looking for dental postcards, selecting Postcards under Format Type should work!
Planning a direct mail campaign for your company? See what your competitors are doing!
Try our free Look Up tool to find the best-forming mail pieces from the Who’s Mailing What! repository for inspiration. Sort your search results by keyword, company, or industry to experience a simplified version of our application.
When done right, direct mail can be a profitable marketing investment, especially, if you’re looking for consistent, long-term growth. Not to mention, the cost-effectiveness of dental postcards, compared to its digital counterparts, gives you the opportunity to redirect your funds to other acquisition channels and business avenues.
We hope the above pointers and dental postcard examples help you streamline your direct mail marketing efforts and narrow down visual elements that best suit your campaign needs.
We’ve attached the image carousel for you to look through some of the best dental direct mail samples one more time and get inspired.