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Newspaper inserts are those annoying things that fall out of your newspaper onto your lawn on Friday and Saturday mornings. They can also be viable marketing tools for your dental practice. In our capacity as dental marketing professionals, we have seen newspaper inserts outperform every other viable medium—except for direct mail—in some markets. In fact, our well-designed and strategically deployed inserts are successful in 62% of the US markets, making them a fairly low-risk, dependable form of marketing.
Inserts have a characteristic that no print ad will ever have—they can be geographically targeted! This means you can tell the newspaper to insert your ad only in certain zip codes or “zones” where they deliver the paper, so you waste less of your advertising budget in reaching people who are too far away from your practice area.
Newspaper inserts are also relatively inexpensive. Once they are designed, you are looking at 10 to 12 cents each to print and distribute one newspaper insert. That’s pretty cheap! You can literally drop tens of thousands of inserts on a local market without breaking the bank.
Newspaper inserts are not typically a promotion medium that you would use on a consistent, timed basis. You wouldn’t use inserts each month, every month to increase business over the long term. They are best used as a short-term, strategic supplement to your existing, longer-term strategies. Let’s say you already have an Internet presence and a direct mail campaign, and each is attracting new patients each month. In this case, newspaper inserts can give you a ‘boost,’ attracting a quantity of new patients in the short term.
Inserts are ideal for capitalizing on seasonal opportunities, too. One classic example is an insert distributed during the summer when the kids are off from school. If you don’t mind treating children, newspaper inserts in the summertime are a great way to take advantage of the seasonal opportunity. Moms know how crazy it gets in September when their kids start school again. If you tailor your ad to remind mom to make an appointment before school begins again, you are likely to see a flurry of appointments. This works especially well for pedo and pedo/ortho practices. If you talk to an orthodontist, most will tell you that they do the majority of their case starts during the month of September. That’s because the examinations were conducted during the summer, when it was convenient for mom to get the kids to the office.
- As with every external promotion, make darn sure you have a tracking number on those inserts so that you know EXACTLY how many inquiries your investment created.
Deploying your inserts on Tuesdays or Wednesdays create the best return rate for two reasons. First, inserts typically generate inquiries within 24 hours of delivery—if a dentist schedules inserts on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, there is minimal phone coverage to respond to these inquiries. Second, Fridays through Sundays are the days that other local advertisers prefer to insert their offerings into the same newspaper, which means YOUR insert is likely to get lost in the shuffle. On Tuesday or Wednesday, your insert is very likely to be the ONLY one, reducing your risk of dilution and poor returns.