In this episode of Dental Marketing Mastery, we explore Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM®). We talk about its benefits, its drawbacks, which dentists it works best for, design elements, and more!

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Podcast Highlights

  • EDDM benefits and drawbacks
  • Distribution costs
  • Lower acquisition costs vs. return on revenue
  • Which dentists should use EDDM?
  • The pitfalls of postcards
  • Design elements
  • The “cheap” dentist in town
  • The mirage of geographic targeting
  • Correct mail campaigns
  • Revenue generated from mail
  • Messaging the RIGHT prospects
  • Household income vs. geographic targeting
  • EDDM tracking issues
  • Paying money to brand yourself incorrectly?
  • Putting yourself in the wrong competitive market

Podcast Transcription:

Hello, and welcome once again to the Dental Marketing Mastery series. This podcast is brought to you by 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, everybody. Welcome to our podcast. Happy New Year Mark.

Mark: Happy New Year Howie What is Happy New Year in Swahili? Do you know?

Howie: I’m not sure but it’s 2018.

Mark: Well, that was a trick question because I don’t know either.

Howie: Well, okay. Maybe we’ll do a podcast in Swahili next.

Mark: Yes. For all those Swahili dentists.

Howie: Today, we’re going to take a look at a subject that’s you know, hotly debated. Quite a bit, actually. Every Door Direct Mail.

Mark: Yeah, I mean, there’s, I mean, there’s just facts. There’s no debate.

Howie: Well, there’s facts that cannot be confronted.

Mark: Right? I mean, it’s kind of a feel good versus fact thing. Right? So, all right. So, for those who are uninitiated, there’s a thing out there called Every Door Direct Mail, the post office, it’s kind of the same thing that Canada has been doing for years. I guess maybe the US post office looked at Canada and Canada has basically the same thing, Every Door Direct Mail. But what it is, is you have to put as many of your postcards in little jeeps that the post office people use to fulfill every household that they stopped at, because they’re not gonna have any addresses on them.

So they’ll just pull them out of the EDDM pile and put them in with whatever other letters and advertisements are arriving at each household. So, there’s no, there’s no address on them. Right, there’s no mail list, right? It’s sort of like, you know, what it’s like, it’s like those coupons you get in the back of your grocery store receipt.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: You know, it’s, it’s kind of a tag along. Like, here’s your mail. And here’s this other thing.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: Which is not a knock. Because there is a big, there’s a huge perceived emphasis on the word perceived. benefit, which is decreased distribution costs. So, let’s, let’s say a stamp, or a first class, excuse me, not a first class. A bulk mail. letter, or mailer, costs 28 cents in postage, this thing will cost 18 cents. So, there’s a savings of 10 cents per piece. This is the singular positive. When it comes to Every Door Direct Mail. There are no others. People make up others. People desperately want to believe there’s others. Um, but there aren’t any. So, the real benefit to EDDM is 10 cents, cheaper postage

Howie: You know, and you really can’t blame people for doing that. Because who doesn’t want to lower their acquisition costs? You know, you spend X amount of dollars on acquiring a new patient, right? So, this EDDM comes along, and I mean, wow, it is so cheap. I’m gonna lower my cost. But there’s a hidden problem on the other side of that, right Mark?

Mark: Right, right. Well, I would be the first one to argue and I’ll argue until I can no longer argue that if our goal is to, if our goal is really to lower acquisition cost. Just go out and get yourself several packages of Kleenex napkins. And write free dentistry on them with your phone number and pay a helicopter pilot 100 bucks to fly over the neighborhood and drop them out.

Howie: Exactly.

Mark: Okay. You can lower your acquisition costs down to almost nothing. So, should your goal be to lower your actual acquisition cost? Or should the goal be for the return, the revenue too far outpace whatever the acquisition cost is. In other words, the acquisition cost is important, but only as a percentage of the receipts. The acquisition cost as a percentage of the revenues generated is really what’s important, not just the acquisition cost.

Howie: Right.

Mark: Because really, we can drop this acquisition cost down to the lowest possible denominator. Which is, don’t even take your car, just walk around and shake everybody’s hand and say, “Hi, I’m a dentist.” And that doesn’t cost you anything. Okay. But the reality is, is that no dentist is going to do that. Right.

So Alright, so now we’ve got it down to the pro. We make a pro and con list with EDDM, the pro is, it’s 10 cents cheaper for postage. That is not an insignificant number. So someone who is, let’s say, starting out, has a constricted marketing budget on someone who just bought a practice, and maybe they’re falling behind and some of their bills, and they have the last 2 or $3,000, they can’t do a whole years worth of mail. They just simply can’t. It’s just not there. But they need to do something. Right? Yep. That’s what EDDM is built for.

Howie: Yeah, keeping the lights on.

Mark: Keeping the lights on. Okay. Because here’s what it actually ends up doing. EDDM and the postage or the distribution costs 99.999% of the time, you get the lower cost on postcards, either 3.5 x 8 or 6.5 x 11 or whatever, doesn’t matter. Any size postcard, well, those postcards are not large enough to promote dentistry without using a price as a call to action. And if you look at these postcards, you will see that this is true. Every one of them, the dominant design element is whatever the deal is. And the deals can differ. No arguing that. But the ultimate goal is when they design a postcard is to go out and design a postcard and make the deal, the Starburst, the offer, maybe even multiple offers, maybe five or six give, you five or six things to choose from.

Howie: Yep,

Mark: A mail panel, a map, your name, your logo, your website URL, you know phone number. You don’t have much room, maybe a picture of a nice looking lady that’s smiling with the wind in her hair. Okay, that’s all you got. You don’t have a lot of room on a postcard so you can’t make a case. Based on the benefits of the dentistry you provide. Where your conveniences or your technologies or your public relations assets, you don’t have room. So, you end up using them to distribute a deal. When you distribute a deal you don’t necessarily want everyone in your entire market area to get this thing. You say “Why Mark? Why don’t I want everyone in a carrier route to get these?”

Howie: That’s a good question.

Mark: Because ultimately, you do not want to brand your practice as the cheap dental practice in town to the top half of the dental market. Those are the people you will eventually want once you’re done filling your capacity with the shoppers.

Howie: Right, and it’s very difficult to change your brand.

Mark: Oh my god.

Howie: If it’s already been established. If you if you brand yourself to the top half of the market as the cheap guy or the cheap gal, look out down the road when you want to seriously go after the top half of the dental market. Because they’ve already made up their mind about you. You’re the cheap guy. I don’t want the cheap guy.

Mark: Right. Now, you know, I know many dentists out there are saying well, you know I can target my EDDM mail. And Mark is saying no you can’t.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: It’s a complete Mirage. If you’ve ever watched the movies with you know the guy out in the desert, been out there for a week no water, no anything and he looks out over the horizon. And the radiant heat creates an image in their mind of palm trees, waterfall, McDonald’s with a drive through right. And the guy’s running across the desert, you know trying to get to this Mirage well the Mirage doesn’t exist and in actual real targeting the way you think it should be the way it is. Well the way it really should be. Is a Mirage with EDDM. So, let’s go through why it’s a mirage.

Howie: You know what, Mark? Yeah, this would be a good point, we break away and come back and then we’ll discuss the mirage.

Mark: You got it.

Howie: Got it. Okay, hang on. Don’t go anywhere. We’ll be right back.


Howie: Hey, Mark, I hear we’ve got the hottest product since electronic claim submissions. Is that true?

Mark: Howie, that is true. And let’s not keep it a secret.

Howie: Okay.

Mark: So that what we’re talking about everyone is online scheduling. It’s real-time online scheduling integration between your practice’s website, no matter who you got your website from, and your practice management software and it will absolutely 100% add more new patients add additional existing patient appointments to everyone’s scheduling system that’s listening to this podcast, we have, I think we have it’s I think it’s 98.8% compliance. Meaning 98.8% of the people ever installed are still using it and benefiting from it. This is not a fad, this is not a dream. This is not something that new patients will avoid. They love it. They love the convenience of being able to do this.

If you want to take a look at it, send us an email Howie and I or you can actually log on to New Patients Inc. and get this, you can actually schedule an appointment to see it right from our website. Imagine that. So do not hesitate. Take a look at this and get it integrated into your office, you will absolutely get more out of advertising, every advertising dollar you spend.

Howie: You’re just going to love it.

Howie: Okay, welcome back. Mirage business. Go ahead.

Mark: Alright, the Mirage business. Alright, so we’re talking about EDDM, and why, you can log on to their website. And I would encourage people to do that. And if you’re, if you’ve never done it, go look, you can actually log on and click through different zip codes and carrier routes within those zip codes, you can select them.

They’ll give you kind of macro economics, household income, you can target certain carrier routes, by certain, maybe even geography. Maybe you want to select the carrier routes closest to your office. Or maybe you run a zip code list out of your office practice management software. And you see that top, you only want to mail to the top three or four zip codes that show where the greatest number of patients come from. Okay, yeah, you can do that. You can do all those things.

Now, let me tell you what it means. Because you have to compare doing a mail campaign correctly to EDDM in order to get a true comparison. And then you have to look at the outcome. The revenue generated from the investment in order to really, really come up with a conclusion. So, let’s first look at the mirage of geographic targeting. Can you select an entire carrier route with EDDM? The answer is yes. Every household in that carrier route will get one of your pieces. If the person in the jeep grabs it with the mail they put in the mailbox, yes. Is the financial targeting correct? Technically, if the average income is $56,000, in a carrier route or a zip code, sure. But your piece is going to every household in that carrier route.

I want you to think about this. For every person earning a $1,000,000 a year 50 people have to earn $20,000 a year. So in that scenario, you delivered one to the right person and 20, were a complete waste of time. Excuse me, 50 were a complete waste of time. Okay. So you’re not really saving 10 cents per piece, you’re actually wasting $4 and 90 cents in that scenario. Okay. So let’s continue forward. This is not financial targeting. This is simply a zip code, a carrier route and a direct link to the US Census data, you are not targeting households that only make or have a household income over a certain threshold, you are absolutely paying to deliver your peace to every household in that carrier route no matter what their household income is, doesn’t matter.

Now geographic targeting is even, it’s a little more complicated to explain. But there are other limitations with EDDM and can you can only send 5000 pieces. And if you can only send 5000 pieces or however many you want to send, you can certainly send 4000 if you want, or 3000 or 2000, or 1000.

The problem is, here’s the problem. If you don’t send exactly the number of households in a given carrier route, you never know which households they’re going to deliver them to. There’s no address on your piece. Okay, so you are at the whim of the driver of that postal vehicle of when they want to turn around and pull that from their pile and put that in with everyone’s mail. It could be right next door to your office, it could be four and a half miles away. As long as it’s in the carrier route you selected, you have no geographic targeting whatsoever. Okay.

So now, plus 10 cents less postage. What’s the trade off? Okay, now the trade off isn’t even in the lack of targeting. That’s part of it. But the biggest trade off is actually what Howie mentioned before, which was branding yourself as the cheap dentist in your town, because you only use postcards with EDDM, and you only put offers on your postcards, because that’s really all that will fit on them. So, because to you, they’re cheap. you distribute them, distribute them, distribute them.

And because of the lack of targeting, you distribute them to 100% of the households in those carrier routes. Well, we’re telling you that 48% of those households should never see that deal from you, because they’re not going to choose you. And honestly, what they’re doing is they’re branding you in a negative light. You are paying money to purposely brand yourself away from the exact market you will end up wanting at some point in your career.

Howie: Right, what you’re also doing is putting yourself in direct competition with chains.

Mark: There’s a whole other reason.

Howie: Who have way more money in their marketing budget than you do.

Mark: Then you ever will.

Howie: And why would you want to compete with that? I don’t know.

Mark: Yeah, well. Okay. So now, everybody that listens to either my podcasts or Howie’s words or I don’t know. We just did this over the weekend, somebody on dental forum posted something about EDDM as the second coming of you know, whatever. Anyway, every time I go through this, people go away thinking we don’t like EDDM, that’s not true. EDDM is responsible for getting more dentists involved doing their own marketing than I can. Maybe since Google AdWords, right.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: I mean, there’s more dentists now doing some kind of advertising than ever before. And we truly believe that EDDM had an awful lot to do with that. We’re actually EDM lovers. Okay. So, don’t think that we don’t like EDDM because we do.

It’s actually a funnel for new clients for us. All right. But just understand what it is and what it’s not. That’s where we get emotional about EDDM. When a dentist says, “No, I can only, no, no, no, I can make sure my mail or only goes to well, you know, six houses out of 10 on a certain street and you know, people with incomes of over $50,000 it says so right here on the on the EDDM website.” No, that’s not what you’re reading. What you’re reading is an average. Okay? “No, I can control geography, I just click on the carrier route.”

Well, if you have exactly the number of recipients as mailers, then I can agree with you. If you don’t, you have no idea where your mailers are going within that carrier route, there’s no witness. Even the driver doesn’t even know when they’re going to reach backward and grab one of your mailers to stick it in with the rest of the pile for each location. So let’s all understand what EDDM is. EDDM is a great tool for you to use if your budget is so constricted, and if your situation is to the point where you really have worked your way out of all other choices. You really don’t have any other choice other than EDDM then EDDM is a great way for you to get started.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: Okay, that’s an awesome way for you to get started

Howie: Kind of like an emergency lifeline in a marketing sense,

Mark: There you go. Perfect an emergency direct mail lifeline. That would be perfect. Once you get out of that, once you’re not in that lifeline anymore, then just understand what it is and what the potential damage, ultimately to the practice this may cause and the costs associated with dragging yourself out of this perceived cheap dentist in town consumer perception that you’re paying to build. If you’re going to be the cheap dentist in town do so temporarily. Don’t do it endlessly. Because I had dentists that, you know, didn’t really attack what I was saying.

But you know, obviously drank the Kool Aid, you know, on EDDM. And here’s the bottom line, the bigger costs are hidden. It’s why they’re difficult to describe. When you use EDDM and you promote deals to get the phone to ring, those patients are shoppers, you’re going to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince and princesses. So, there’s increased opportunity cost. If you pre-appoint them for their next recare. Well, I can guarantee you your compliance is going down six months from now, if they were shopping this time, guess what they’re going to do next time? Right?

Howie: Yeah. It’s also the difference between quantity and quality of successful capture of a quantity can make a dentist happy unless those patients are really not the kind of patients you really want to be working on. And then it turns into a disaster.

Mark: Right. So that’s the true cost. So,when we talk about the cost, we’re not saying that 10 cents doesn’t matter. There is a 10 cent difference. What we’re saying is, come on, let’s be real, let’s, let’s understand what it is and what it’s not, and when to use it and when not to use it. We’re not saying don’t use it. We’re saying be aware of when and when not to.

Howie: All right. Well, thank you all for listening once again and Mark and I look forward to being back in front of your ears shortly. Goodbye now.

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