3 Reasons Why Your Direct Mail Campaigns Aren't Working

3 Reasons Why Your Direct Mail Campaigns Aren't Working

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When was the last time you received a direct mail ad in your mailbox? What did you do with the postcard? Chances are you did one of three things:

  1. You threw it away immediately
  2. You hung it up on your refrigerator thinking you’d call that number one day (spoiler alert - you still haven’t called)
  3. You made an appointment immediately (and maybe even claimed a special offer)

Most people tend to go with option 1 when they receive a direct mail ad in their mailbox. And I know 9 times out of 10, you do the same. Your own behavior towards direct mail ads might even have you thinking that it’s not a marketing strategy that actually works.

You might have even convinced yourself that direct mail campaigns aren’t worth your time, money, and energy because they don’t work. If you’re throwing the postcards you receive in the trash, people are likely to do the same to yours, right?

What if I told you that direct mail campaigns are actually a highly engaging and cost-effective method of marketing your practice and growing your patient numbers exponentially in the long run?

Don’t believe me? Let’s examine the 3 reasons why your direct mail campaigns aren’t working and what to do about it.

3 Reasons Why Your Direct Mail Campaigns Aren’t Working (and What to Do About It)

Did you know that there are countless dental practices that solely rely on direct mail marketing to continuously attract new patients to their practice? This is because direct mail marketing is a highly effective strategy when it’s done right.

But if you’re not seeing the kinds of results that you are hoping for, you’re doing something wrong. Here are 3 reasons why your direct mail campaigns aren’t working, starting with…

  1. You’re Not Strategic About Your Targeting

Unfortunately, your direct mail campaigns won’t work if you are sending them out to everyone (and everywhere). In case you haven’t heard, there’s an old marketing adage that says “when you speak to everyone, you speak to no one.” The same applies to your direct mail campaigns.

When you send your postcards and direct mailers to a wide audience, it’s more than likely they’ll end up in the trash.

The solution: use a heatmap to get a clear sight of your target audience.

Heatmaps are data visualization tools that help you gain a better understanding of your target audience’s behavior. Using a heatmap can help you target your ideal audience where they are by identifying their migratory patterns (whether they’re moving toward or away from cities and certain areas), which will then help you locate your target audience’s hotbeds. 

This is a crucial component to the success of your direct mail campaign so you know your mailers are arriving in the right mailboxes.

  1. You’re Unaware of the Variables Within Your Control

The practices that don’t see success with direct mail campaigns are most likely unaware of the variables that are within their control. And when these variables aren’t carefully and strategically handled, your campaign will be directionless - making it harder for you to see results.

The solution: Think about every variable that goes into your direct mail campaign and make intentional decisions about them (aka be in control of the variables)!

Despite what you might think, direct mail campaigns involve so much more than just sending a simple postcard. Some variables that you must be aware of in order to carry out a successful campaign include:

  • The size, design, and shape of your mailer/postcard
  • The homes you’re sending it to (remember your heatmap?)
  • The time in which you’re planning to send your mailer/postcard (will it arrive on a Monday? What about holidays?)

These are just a few variables within your control that will greatly impact the success of your campaign. So before you plan on creating a postcard, take a step back, brainstorm, and make educated and intentional decisions about each of these variables before creating and sending your mailers out.

  1. You’re Rejecting the Idea of an Offer

Many practice owners push back on the idea of a promotion or offer. They think, “I’m already spending X amount of money on this direct mail campaign, why would I offer a discount when I’m uncertain of the campaign’s return.” 

Here’s the thing - offers WORK! Whether you like it or not.

The solution: Come up with an offer that appeals to your target audience.

Finding the right offer for your dental practice and your ideal clients is key in this case. For example, offering a free invisalign tray or implant consultation is a great option for big case dentistry. 

Another instance of this would be if you’ve recently dropped PPO and insurances from your dental practice. In this case, your patients will likely pay out of pocket. So offering a cash offer, such as discounted fees on services, will be highly enticing to your target audience.

But if your practice accepts insurances (and your patients have them), an incentivizing offer would be a cosmetic service such as teeth whitening.

You might be thinking, “Michael, that’s great and all. But what if I end up losing money by offering these promotions?”

Here’s the truth - according to Aaron Boone of MVP Mailhouse (who has executed countless successful direct mail campaigns) if only one out of 10,000 recipients of your postcard respond to your offer, you could generate enough income to cover the expenses of your direct mail campaign.

And if you need a little help formulating the best offer for your campaign, Aaron suggests checking in (and getting real) about your retention rates. Your offer should be as aggressive as the level of confidence you have in retaining a patient.

The Benefits of a Successful Direct Mailer Campaign

When done correctly, a direct mail campaign is an excellent way to bring in new patients without breaking the bank. Here are some numbers that’ll put things in perspective (and prove my point):

Generally, the average new patient to your dental practice will spend anywhere from $750-$1250 in their first year alone. Say you send out 10,000 postcards and only 10 people respond (meaning the majority of your postcards end up in the trash).

Even though that sounds scary, the 10 that ended up converting will easily make you at least $10,000.

And here’s the secret that no one tells you about direct mail marketing - it generates word of mouth marketing between the recipient of your postcard/mailer and their own personal network.

So if you’re willing to follow the right steps, direct mail marketing is a fruitful marketing tactic that will generate results long after your campaign is done. And our brand new course is here to guide you every step of the way so that you can enjoy the fruits of your first successful direct mail campaign. 


Contact us today to start crushing it with ground marketing.