In my previous post, I discussed how even though we are in an age of electronic media, direct mail can still be an extremely profitable way to acquire new patients for many healthcare specialties. One important factor is to use a reputable list compiler to provide you up-to-date data and utilize the many demographic selects that are available to target those most likely to be interested in your services.
This post will include the metrics typically associated with direct mail campaigns and how you can maximize your response rates and return-on-investment.
I would suggest not mailing the entire list all at once. This is especially true for a small practice. For example, if your email campaign intends to reach 10,000 people, break it up into approximately 2,500 per week. This enables you to book appointments more efficiently throughout the entire month from those that respond.
Understand that direct mail is a numbers game. The average response rate for a direct mail campaign to an outside list is 1%. If you mail 2,500 pieces, you’ll typically average about 25 responses. How many new patients you get will depend on your conversion rate from calls to your office into booked appointments. This may seem like very few, but let’s look at some numbers: If a 10,000 piece direct mail campaign costs $10,000, for example, a 1% response rate means that it will generate 100 calls. If you are successful in converting 50% or 50 calls into new patients and the average value of a new patient for your practice is $1,000, then your $10,000 campaign will generate $50,000 of revenue, giving you a 500% or 5:1 return-on-investment. Remember that every mail campaign varies and that every practice is different. The bottom line is that direct mail can be a very profitable marketing option.
Consider direct mail to your existing patients to get them to self-refer back for additional services, if that’s an opportunity for your practice. Response rates to existing patients tend to be much higher than 1% (often times 3-5% or more) because you are targeting people who already know and trust you and are therefore more likely to return for additional services.
Always have a strong “call-to-action” in you direct mail piece. Consider a free consultation or assessment as your call-to-action. Patients want information about their problems and their needs, so providing them the chance to get this information directly from you during a consultation is very appealing. You in turn, now have the opportunity to build your credibility with this potential patient and convince them that you are the best provider for the services they need. Even a written or e-mailed informational marketing piece can be a strong call-to-action. For example: Call today to receive the “10 Commandments for Successful Lasik Surgery Absolutely Free”. I tried this with a client once and the phone was ringing off the hook! Someone looking at potentially having Lasik surgery should certainly be interested in these “10 Commandments”, and by providing this for the prospective patients, my client provided them 10 valuable reasons to choose him.
Most importantly, don’t create your own direct mail piece. Leave it to an expert. The difference between success and failure for most mail campaigns may be a fraction of 1% in your direct response rate. Don’t leave this to chance; place yourself in the hands of a professional who has a proven track record of success.
If you would like assistance integrating direct mail into your practice or you would like help improving the effectiveness of your current direct mail call Rich at 561-477-6348.