In a world dominated by digital media, dental direct mail marketing is still the king when it comes to getting new patients. Mark and Howie explain in this episode of Dental Marketing Mastery.
Hello, and Welcome once again to the Dental Marketing Mastery series. This podcast is brought to you by DentalWebContent.com and New Patients Incorporated. I’m Howie Horrocks, the Founder of New Patients Incorporated, along with me once again, as my friend and partner and the President of New Patients Incorporated, Mark Dilatush.
Howie: Hello, Mark, how you doing?
Mark: Hey, Howie, how are you doing today?
Howie: I’m great. I’m great. What do you what do you want to talk about today?
Mark: Well, we’re, the series is moving forward, we briefly went through the three pillars of every solid marketing plan for every dental practice. They were internal promotion, the Internet, and some form of offline direct targeted promotion, which is our world means dental direct mail marketing.
Mark: Why don’t we talk…we talked about social media last time. Probably get into websites next time. Let’s talk about dental direct mail. The different forms of dental direct mail marketing, when to use each, how to use each and how to target each and most important, I guess I might as well start out with why they are so dang successful.
Howie: Right. Right.
Mark: I think there’s a trend in dentistry. Um, I think there’s a trend, at least by some belief that all new patients are, are garnered from the internet solely. I think about 10 years ago, that was probably 20% of dentists. And then over the years, about 100% of them believe that they’re going to go get all their new patients just from investing in the internet. And they will get some.
But the problem is, not the problem the reality is, is that every website property on the internet became successful through offline promotion. Right? eBay, Amazon, Google itself, Yahoo. The Dell guy, right. Web MD, I guarantee you never, you didn’t here about web MD by typing in some medical malady into Google. You saw web MD, and you found it because you saw it on TV, or you saw it in a magazine or you listen to it over, you heard the advertisement on the radio, and then you went there.
So, all other commerce in the world is a combination of online and offline. And if you go back to our three pillars of the perfect marketing plan for a dental office, you remember, we said internal internet and some form of targeted local, offline promotion. Now the key word there is targeted. And this will segue nicely into why dental why dental direct mail done properly is king, and why it will never be knocked off its throne. For all you Game of Thrones fans out there. Direct Mail is king, if done properly, because you can target direct mail better than any other promotion medium available. When I mean, when I say targeting, what that means is this, this is what it should mean, in your mind. “Save me money, reduce my risk.”
The more targeted your advertising is, the more it gets targeted over time, the lower your risk, and the lower your cost per new patient little bit. It just makes sense. Okay so, if you paid for radio advertising, for a radio station, let’s say the radio station was actually physically right next door, your office, let’s say it’s the best possible case scenario. And the radio was broadcasting in a perfect 25-mile circle. And your practice was right in the dead center of that enormous 25-mile circle. Well, the problem is, okay, nobody’s listening to this podcast has that scenario. Okay so, the second problem is, is nobody that there is the only way you can target through radio is geography. And listener profile.
Howie: Right. They don’t call it a broadcast for nothing
Mark: Right? It’s, it’s a classic carpet bomb. Okay. You know, you throw like 9 billion bombs out of an airplane and you just hope one or two hit whatever the building is that you’re looking for. That’s how we did it in the old days. That’s not how we do it now.
Now, how do we now we can put a bomb in the back pocket of anyone we want anywhere on the planet because of what because of proper targeting? Right? Less collateral damage, less cost less everything. Okay. Okay, let’s get the war analogy here. All right. Listen, I know, I know. Yeah. It wasn’t a great way for me to go. But hopefully the listeners get the idea.
Mark: Okay. Dental direct mail is king. It is the king of the Seven Kingdoms. And nobody’s going to knock it off its throne. Because you can’t target radio that way, you can’t target the print media that way, you can’t target for Google PPC. Forget it, you can’t toggle that talk target that at all, hardly. Facebook is getting close. But as it pertains to dentistry, you can’t come close.
When…if you want to send the message about the benefits of the dentistry, you provide the benefits of the conveniences and the technology, public relations assets. If you want to bundle all that up, and get that in the hands of the right people within a reasonable distance of your practice, who can afford your services to have a credit rating worthy enough to qualify for financing if they needed to get their dental services done. With a good quality marketing index rating, you can’t duplicate that targeting anywhere in any other medium other than direct mail. And what I just described is exactly the way we target our direct mail campaigns.
So if you happen to look at our advertising or log on to dental town, or maybe you’re on Facebook, and one of the forums on there about dentistry, and you listen and you hear people doctors talking about, I’ve been with them for five years, eight years, seven years and 14 years, 19 years. Okay. They’re not all in direct mail. But what do you think Howie? do you think 95% of them are in direct mail?
Howie: Yeah, I do.
Mark: Okay, we handle the other aspects of their marketing as well, we handle their internet, we handle all the other stuff, by about 95% of them are in direct mail. And one of the main reasons they’re still with us is because we’re still generating a good solid ROI. And the way we generate part of the way we generate that solid ROI is through the way we do dental direct mail marketing.
So, if you’re sitting out there thinking, I’m going to put 100% of my marketing dollar into the internet, just take half of it and flush it down the toilet. because that’ll save you a lot of time and a lot of effort and a lot of Greek. That’s not the way Web MD did it, it’s not the way Amazon did it, it’s not the way Dell, nobody even Google doesn’t. Google still spends money offline.
Howie: I get Google a direct mail pieces all the time.
Mark: All right, there isn’t a person on the planet that doesn’t know who Google is. But they still promote offline, right? So, the bottom line to today’s podcast is if you’re going to choose an offline promotion strategy near your office, it has to be direct mail, it has to be dental direct mail, because it’s the only medium you can target this way. Dental, good solid dental patients require that targeting, because if you carpet bomb, your costs are, you know are well could be prohibitive. Right? If you if you mail that thing to everyone that exists in your local market, then basically you’ve raised your cost 50 to 60% and you didn’t need to. If you targeted it properly, you can send twice as much for the same amount of money, but to the right people.
So now the different methods. There are three basic direct mail types, postcards, what we call trifolds or quadfolds, you can call them brochure types, they look like brochures, and magazines. Each one has its place, each one will generate a very predictable statistical result. And I’ll go through each now. If you mail a postcard, or if you even design a postcard to be mailed to your local community, you have to use some kind of an aggressive financial incentive. If you’ve listened to us at all, anywhere, read any of our books, listen to us in any seminar, done any business with us ever, then, you know, that’s not our first choice to you, for you. However, we do understand that there are some circumstances where it can’t be avoided, you have to use a price incentive to generate phone calls, in some circumstances.
Howie: And if I might interject here, that’s, that can also lead to an flux of a lot of calls right away. They’re not going to be necessarily high quality calls, but the phone will ring. And that’s basically because you don’t have a lot of room on a postcard to talk about anything else except some deals. Right?
Mark: Exactly, exactly.
Howie: It’s, it’s like Mark said, it’s not our first choice for our clients. But sometimes it’s necessary depending on the situation that they’re in. Maybe they’re a start up.
Howie: And they need something like that,
Mark: or they need a boost of volume of new patients in a short period of time.
Howie: Right? They just took on a new associate.
Mark: Right. There’s lots of situations where you would temporarily use them. But around the country, you see dentists relying on them continually
Howie: Year after year after year.
Mark: Right. You know, here’s the problem. Okay, the problem is that then I’m sure they don’t know this. But somewhere between months 29 and 33, in an average market with an average dentist with an average scope of everything average, the dentist who’s doing that on a continual basis will start to see a decline. Well, they may not start to see it, but they’ll start to pay for the decline.
So, they’re going to pay and pay and pay as the bell curve goes on the downside, and it will exactly that month, in exactly those months in an average market with an average dentist with an average scope and an average everything.
If you continually use postcards and deals to the bottom half of the dental market, sooner or later, you’re going to start running out of targets. And as you run out of viable targets, because not every mom remember, go back to the previous podcast way back in this series where we said half the moms will choose a healthcare provider based on price in half long, you use postcards to go after the half that will choose based on a pricing center, you use the trifles the brochure types to go after the moms who won’t choose a healthcare provider based primarily on price. Okay, you can do both simultaneously. But you have to target the audience appropriately. And you never cross those streams. It’s like Ghostbusters.
Remember, they fired up their little ghost of weapons and they said don’t cross the streams. Okay? This is absolutely true when you’re doing dental office marketing to the middle half, and promotion to the top simultaneously for a dental client. You don’t send the brochure type, to the moms who are most likely going to choose someone based on a price incentive, all you have to send that mom is a postcard.
So, then we get to the third option, which is which the magazines that we that we produce. And they’re pretty much only going to the top 10, maybe top 20% of the local market. And they’re really only used when a dentist comes to us and says you know what? I’m 50, 55, whatever, 60 years old, the general nuts and bolts, bread and butter side of my practices kicking along really well. And I’ve still got a good 10 years in me, and I want to enjoy it. And I want to do more fun dentistry. I want to do more implants, more sleep apnea, more Invisalign, more, six months smiles more. Whatever, whatever the doctor likes doing the most.
Normally, in that scenario, we will well let me back up, we will never just do magazines, the doctor has to be doing something else to keep the bread and butter flow going. Ok. So, the magazines are used to augment to drive incredibly high value new patients into a practice. That’s where you would use the eight-page magazines. In that case, you have a cover and a back, and you have six pages in the middle. And each one of those pages is devoted to one of the cool pieces of dentistry that you prefer.
Do you prefer to spend your time doing? Might be implants might be Implant Supported dentures, it might be cosmetic dentures, it could be sleep apnea could be I don’t know how it could be anything right. Yeah, smile makeovers. Sure. smile makeovers, anything right? So, you, and then we create a page for each and produce it and send it out. Now these don’t get you large volumes of responses. However, the average revenue per patient on these is enormous. These people are ready to buy. These are the people, who appear don’t answer your phone, they call you back. These are the people who walk in and say to the doctor, hi, Doctor, I’m interested in x. They tell you what they’re interested in, because you showed them what they should be interested in.
So those are the three levels of dental direct mail. Direct Mail is the king and will continue to be the king and nothing is going to knock it off its perch. As far as the best local offline promotion to choose. Expectations should be if you use direct mail via postcard, your expectation should be that you must use some call to action of some price incentive or multiple price incentives to get the phone to ring. If the phone rings and the patients come in, they will be a lower quality. But they will be a higher volume. So, there’s an offset there’s a pro and a con there, you will get more calls initial.
If you to use the brochure, type trifles quad folds. And you promote, let’s say to the top 40% of your local market, you’ll get fewer phone calls and then the postcards got. But your average revenue per patient will be three or four times higher in the first year. 11 times greater over the lifetime of the patient.
And if you use magazines, in conjunction with other offline promotion, the call volume on the magazines is relatively low. Most people that do those campaigns, they’re concerned about the call volume, but then they then they realize then they realize, holy cow, these people are coming in for 2030 $40,000 worth of work. I don’t really need a whole bunch of these, you know, so? Yeah, yeah, really, these are unbelievable new patients. I mean, doctors, they don’t even really believe it anymore.
Howie: You know, it’s like, you can say, well, gee, I only got 14 phone calls from the last magazine mailing you guys did for me. Okay, 14 of super qualified people, who actually call you and if they couldn’t reach you, they call you back.
Howie: That’s a high quality patient there. Yeah.
Mark: Yeah. Or they called and said, “Yeah, I’d like to make my appointment for my dental implants, please.”
Mark: You know, even have to talk to them about it. You don’t have to talk them into it. They’re already talked into it. Right? All you have to do is answer the phone and say yes. So ya know, ao there anyway. So as far as direct mail is concerned, those are the three levels, you use, you think of the three levels as tools. One’s a screwdriver, one’s a hammer, and the other one’s a, I don’t know, a shelf.
So depending on the situation, depending on where you are in your practice, depending on what you need to get done, you pull one of these tools out and you use it, if you need a high volume of patients, just to fill holes in a schedule, you might try postcards for a period of time. Once you get to your capacity or near your capacity, you might say, you know what, I’m going to go to the brochure type, get a few fewer new patients, but great new patients. And then once you get to that point, 50-55 years old, and you want to do more cool stuff, more big case type stuff, you might say, you know what, I’m going to do the triples, and I’m going to do the magazines to get myself some more, you know, some bigger cases.
The bottom line is, is if you deploy those, depending upon where you are in your practice, along with good internal promotion and a good internet strategy. And 90% of the people dentists listening to this podcast will never have to go outside of those three things ever. They will have to go to print ads, Radio TV, they will have to take these wild risks. No, nothing. Nothing we are talking about. is risky. Really. I mean, it’s the risk actually is not doing. Yeah, exactly. So how we have anything else to anything else to add?
Howie: Yeah, yeah. Just a little bit. I mean, it’s tempting to, for dentists to go, “Oh, well, nobody reads junk mail anymore and they are just thrown away.” And I just want to address this quickly. Yeah, that’s true. But the percentage of those small of people who will open it and look at it, and then we’ll respond, although a very small percentage is enough to be wildly profitable for you. You only need a few good cases, for every mailing and you remade your money right there. The rest is gravy and the rest is referrals from these people. And the rest is more work from these people later on. And that’s a gift that just keeps on giving.
So, it isn’t about junk mail. It’s about we don’t care about those people who don’t open them, and we don’t want them anyway. Right? Once you do open it, and who will respond. And there’s a pile of good patients just sitting there. You know, using dental direct mail,
Mark: Right. The big pile of patients who are just sitting there are patients who are getting postcards with deals from all your competitors every day. And they’re the moms who won’t choose a health care provider based on those postcards and those deals. So, those moms are just sitting there waiting for someone to come talk to them on their level.
Mark: There just waiting for similar for a dentist to say or to communicate? Well, I’m not going to lead with a deal. I’m going to lead with the benefits of the dentistry and the technology and the conveniences and the public relations assets. I haven’t maybe I’m close to your house and maybe, you know, I might participate with Delta. Right, then mother’s moms are going to choose you based on that. So, the moms in your market who are being Raj, endlessly buy deals is not necessarily a bad thing for the dentist who says Aha, what if I don’t communicate deals? What if I communicate the benefits of dentistry and I targeted properly? And I do it on a consistent basis. I’ll be the one who gets those moms. Exactly. So that’s it. That’s dental direct mail.
Howie: Okay, well, thank you, Mark. It’s good to be with you again. We will. We’ll see you all out in the audience again soon.