By Sally McKenzie, contributing writer

July 31, 2018 -- When it comes to marketing mediums, direct mail is pretty old-school. These days, most marketers would much rather focus their time and efforts on the flashier digital and social media opportunities, and they have all but forgotten about the benefits of direct mail.

Sally McKenzie
Sally McKenzie, CEO of McKenzie Management.

It's true that digital marketing represents an easy way to reach a targeted audience. But it's not always the most effective way. There's a lot of clutter in the digital world, making it difficult to know just how effective digital campaigns really are.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying you should ditch your digital marketing efforts. That wouldn't do your practice any good. But what I am saying is maybe it's time to consider adding direct mail back into the mix. Direct mail is a proven method that will get you results, especially if you take the time to create professional materials that patients can't help but notice.

5 reasons

Direct mail marketing offers a variety of benefits for your practice. If you're not using it, here's why you should be.

1. It will set your practice apart

While people used to get inundated with direct mail pieces, that really isn't the case today. Most business owners prefer to focus on the digital space and don't even have direct mail campaigns on their radar. This represents a great opportunity for your practice. If you're the only dentist in your community sending out mail, you'll definitely stand out.

Keep in mind that for direct mail marketing to work, you have to create materials that really showcase your practice and the services you provide. Generic postcards simply aren't going to cut it. You want your materials to prompt patients to make an appointment, not end up in the circular file.

2. Patients enjoy receiving mail

“Direct mail marketing offers a variety of benefits for your practice.”

While it's true no one appreciates finding junk mail in their mailbox, everyone loves getting mail that offers a clear benefit. Professional educational materials (which is what you're going to send) do that.

Patients who are looking for a new dental home or who are interested in particular services will appreciate the information, and if they like what they see, they might even call to schedule an appointment.

3. You'll see improvement in your digital efforts

When you combine direct mail with your digital campaigns, you'll see an overall improvement in your marketing efforts. To make the most of both mediums, I suggest you create a promotion that links your direct mail and digital marketing campaigns together. For example, add URLs to your mailings that direct people to a special offer they can only find on your website.

4. It gets a better response than email

Surprised? Let's look at some numbers. The Direct Marketing Association reported an email response rate of .12% compared with a direct mail response rate of 4.4%, according to the article "DMA: Direct mail response rates beat digital."

5. Direct mail lasts

Social media platforms like Facebook make it easy to reach a large, targeted audience, but your message isn't front and center for very long. Potential patients might scroll right past it as they're scanning their newsfeed.

When patients receive direct mail, they actually touch it and interact with it. They can keep it and put it off to the side until they're ready to call the practice. They'll remember the message and can even refer back to it, making them more likely to act.

The right strategy for your practice

If you want to grow your patient base, investing in a continual, targeted marketing campaign is one of the best ways to do it. Direct mail, while not as popular as it once was, represents a great way for you to communicate your message. Some, like marketing company Enthusem, even insist it's more effective than many of the digital channels and that it will maximize the return on your investment, so many business owners have come to rely on it.

While it might be tempting to leave direct mail out of your marketing plan to save a little money, think about all the benefits it can offer your practice. When you sit down with a professional company to develop your marketing plan, be sure to discuss how you can add direct mail to your efforts. You'll end up with a much stronger campaign that will help your practice attract and keep more patients, boosting your bottom line.

Sally McKenzie is the CEO of McKenzie Management, a full-service dental practice management company. Contact her directly at 877-777-6151 or at

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

Copyright © 2018

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