Cheap postcards get high-end patients

By Richard Geller

October 10, 2008 -- Editor's note: Richard Geller's column, Marketing Madness, appears regularly on the advice and opinion page, Second Opinion.

Here are the five secrets of successful postcard direct mail:

  1. Make a strong offer. I've written about this before -- a strong offer is essential. It is doubly essential for postcards. Sedation, implants, or "$65 cleaning, exam, and x-rays" carry the day here as offers. If you dare, make it a special offer to receive an exclusive CD or exclusive free report -- this will build your house list and pay off three or four times better than a direct offer.

  2. Put a photograph of a pretty woman on each side of the postcard. This boosts response. Doesn't have to be a big photo. And make sure there is a caption of some kind under the photo.

  3. Write copy. Don't be afraid of writing a lot of copy. The copy should be like a sales letter, "Dear Friend," and can discuss the offer ... and brag and include testimonials and answer questions about the offer.

  4. Include a "special code" large and clear, so you can track the offer and the list.

  5. Test two different layouts each time you mail. Two different offers, maybe. Or two different headlines. Testing along with the "special code" will let you test lists, headlines, and offers.

You can mail postcards up to 6 x 9 inches for the cost of a first class mail stamp.

They stick out a little compared to a #10 envelope -- the postcard is bigger than most envelopes -- and they get a bit beat up in the mail. When the postal people stick their rubber bands around a bundle of mail, the postcard sticks out so it gets chewed up by the rubber band.

But no biggie.

You can get them four color on both sides, which I recommend. You generally pay for four color anyway so why not go for that?

In smallish quantities, it can cost:

  • 25¢ or so for addressing, printing, and sorting
  • 42¢ for postage
  • 10¢ per name for the list

Figure on 80¢ per postcard -- addressed, printed, and delivered.

The advantage of postcards is that if you do them right, the consumer will look at them and respond. Your prospective patient doesn't need to open the postcard.

Postcards beat almost anything else if you use them properly. And meanwhile, I hope you visit and get my free, acclaimed book on case acceptance and dental marketing, plus my e-mails with tips and ideas.

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 © 2008


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