In this week's Monday Morning Marketing episode, we're joined by Shawn Rowbotham from DentalMarketing.net to explore how to effectively use direct mailers and postcards to attract new patients to your practice. Get ready for some eye-opening insights as we delve into surprising research that reveals how even younger generations are increasingly drawn to the power of direct mail. Discover why a pristine 5-star rating might not be the perfect fit for your practice, and learn how to strategically bolster your online presence to up the impact of your direct mail marketing efforts. Plus, we'll dissect the crucial "how" behind prospective patients' search for dental practices and reveal actionable strategies to capitalize on this evolving landscape.
Tune into this episode with Shawn for the best up-to-date practices on direct mail marketing!
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Michael: Hey, Sean. So talk to us about direct mailers and postcards. How can we utilize this or what advice suggestions or methods can you give us that will help actually attract new patients through direct mailers and postcards?
Shawn: Well, I think one of the things that, you'd want to start with is that people often have a tendency to think that.
they can just mail postcards and, uh, get something in the mail, and then the patients are just gonna come in droves, and the phone's gonna ring off the hook. it doesn't work quite like that. It's, uh, probably, in many ways, similar to... Dentistry and when a patient actually, provides like a really simple, explanation of what they, you know, think that you're going to do for them.
And you, on the other hand, know that there's a million little steps that have to go exactly right, or things don't work out well. For instance, if may say that they need a root canal. And so they're saying, okay, so you're just going to, you know, put a new, new tooth on top of that, you know, a crown on top of that, and it'll be all set in.
And though that's accurate, you know, as a dentist, that there's a million other steps that actually occur and they have to be done very precisely and very accurately, or that's not going to work out very well at all. And unfortunately, direct mail is the same way. And a lot of people think that all I need to do is go ahead and, you know, make up a pretty card and send it in the mail and things are gonna go great.
There's a lot more to it than that, especially nowadays. the other thing that I think is, uh, which I'll share with you a little bit more about that, but I think the other thing that's really valuable for people to appreciate and understand is that, a lot of people look at direct mail and they think of it as kind of a really old methodology.
They think, you know, some people are even think like, uh. who even does direct mail still? Who, who still mails postcards for goodness sake? In a world of digital and, you know, email and, uh, you know, text marketing and every other kind of digital marketing and such, the challenge is, is digital marketing has become so popular that it has overwhelmed everyone.
Every one of us get All kinds of, you know, solicited unsolicited texts. We get all kinds of emails. We, you know, pay no attention to, and ironically enough, the people who are most efficient at getting through that and spend the least amount of time focused on them is the younger generations, so they're really adept at.
completely ignoring, you know, digital advertising by and large, but at least getting through it very, very quickly. So it gets very, very little attention. And so, ironically enough, they also tend to be the strongest market. And the studies show that they respond stronger to direct mail than the people who you would typically expect that grew up with direct mail, the older generation.
So, ironically, it works even better for them. and the other thing that is happened in direct mail is the fact that because. Digital marketing, social media, and all that have become so prolific that now, the, old, older, you know, direct mail type thing is looked upon as kind of more of a novelty.
There's not nearly as much competition in the mailboxes there used to be back in the day. If you remember, you know, especially for those of you who are older, you used to get tons of direct mail. I used to get catalogs. You used to get all kinds of stuff, uh, flyers, postcards galore. Now. We don't get that we get a little bit of mail.
You know, we don't get nearly what we used to because of that. Frankly, there's a lot more attention given to the mail that we get, which enhances the results that you tend to get on direct mail. Unfortunately, at the same time that there are benefits in that there's less competition. There are a lot of things that make it tougher to get direct mail to work properly.
So right now, you really have to make sure that you're leveraging a lot of the best practices that in our day and age right now have a big impact on the results that you're going to get. And a lot of those techniques and best practices dovetail with digital. There's been studies done as well that show that when you do digital in conjunction with direct mail, it increases both by about 65%.
On average, in terms of their response. So it's a huge, huge impact. So it's really crucial that you take advantage of that. The other thing that is really, really important to appreciate. Is that before you ever even consider something like direct mail, you need to make sure that your digital presence your online presence is strong.
Nowadays, admit it and think about it, the fact of the matter is, most patients are going to pick a dentist not to dissimilarly than the way they're going to pick the restaurant. They're going to go to tonight. They're going to go online and they're going to put in. Best Mexican restaurant, if they're looking for a restaurant, it's going to pop up and Google my business, the top three, you know, results, as well as a couple of potential ads that people have paid for.
It's going to show them on a map. It's going to show more, you know, if they want to. And a lot of the times they're never even going to click that button. They're going to pick one of those. And most of the time, you have to ask yourself too, when was the last time that you chose a sponsored ad restaurant over an organic ad?
It almost never happens. Me, I'm not sure it's ever happened. So you want to keep that in mind. And that's not to say that using Google ads and PPC isn't effective. It certainly can be. But you just want to keep the realities of the medium at the top of your mind when you're considering what you're trying to accomplish.
so if they go ahead and they don't see you in the top three and you're lucky enough to have them click on show more, you have to ask yourself, where are you listed? How far are they going to go down the list before they find you? And when they do find you, what star rating does your practice have?
And how does that compare to all the people above you? And then Even more importantly, they're both really important as you can imagine, but even more importantly is how many reviews do you have? ironically enough too, most people would assume that five star rating is the best rating. It isn't. When you have a five star rating, people assume you're lying.
They assume that somehow you're working the system, and there's been a whole lot of studies done on this. So actually, believe it or not, the very, very best rating is 4. 9. That's actually what you want. Five star. I wouldn't try to get it down to 4. 9, but just keep in mind that if you're not at five star, it's not bad.
Now, if you start falling into 4. 7 and below, then it is bad and you're going to have challenges there because chances are your competition is. Ahead of you, if that's the case, there's a darn good chance. They're going to select them instead of you. So I tell people even when they call us and want to do postcards.
The first thing that we do is an analysis on their online presence. And there's 6 primary points that we review. And if they aren't in a good situation with those on with the online presence, then frankly, we tell them we need to work on that first and get that in place, or at least if they're close, we can be on track to get that in place before card set homes because otherwise they're frankly going to be paying the advertising bill for their competition.
Because what ends up happening is now I send out a postcard, it gets into the homes, the people are interested, they're like, yeah, my last experience with my dentist wasn't so great, you know, my tooth hurts, whatever it is that motivates them to call. They then go ahead, go online, and they check out your practice, and now all of a sudden you're competing with everybody else around you.
And if you don't look like a good, solid choice. You don't have to be number one, but you have to look like a good choice. And if you don't, there's a very high probability that they're going to call someone else. Just like you would do the same thing if you were picking a good Mexican restaurant. It's no different.
You might look at an ad from somebody, it's great, but you see that these others are rated twice the reviews and they're rated higher, where are you going to go? You know, that's what happens.
Michael: No, that's true. That's true. So then all this kind of falls into the best practices for having direct mailers and postcards to be effective.
Shawn: It does. And the challenge is, is this, is unfortunately, and I'm not trying to, you know, cast stones at anyone, but unfortunately, there's a million people out there that are happy to mail a postcard for you. So, you have to really pay attention to who you choose as a partner to help you with that. If they're not paying attention to these things, they're not asking about them, they're not talking to you about them beforehand.
You likely should be choosing someone else, because just getting a postcard in the mail is not the recipe for success. There's a lot of variables that are going to have a big impact, and if they're not paying attention to these most basic type things at the beginning, they're not going to be paying attention to a lot of the other things that are really important as well.
So one of the things that I would share, with your audience, and I don't do this to, you know, even sell them on our, you know, on our service, but we've put together an intensely valuable resource, which we keep, uh, you know, current and active, uh, and updated all the time. Um, as a matter of fact, we even put the date it was last updated on this comparative analysis of all the top companies out there that people choose.
Or, uh, direct mail for dentists because you can spend a tremendous amount of time trying to figure out who's the best and most of the time what most dentists do is throw up their hands after talking to a few people and just say, you know, Hey man, I just got to get this done. And, you know, so then they just find themselves going with whoever gave them the best sales pitch.
And unfortunately, the sales pitch rarely connects with the best provided, you know, provided service that's going to get you the best results. And so it's really worth your time But we understand that doctors don't have the time to do it or even their uh, you know practice administrator or office manager So consequently we put this together and we maintain it so that they can take a look at it So if you go to like dentalmarketing.
net and you go to the pricing page Frankly, most people that do what we do don't even have a pricing page because they won't tell you pricing until they've talked to you we actually it's the first thing we talk about and we put it right there in front of everyone And by the way, this isn't, you know, a stacking the debt.
We did the same thing that you would have done. We went online and we put best dental postcard companies. It's not high tech from that standpoint, we get the list of who the people are that they're most prominent and that's, who's on the list. And you can look on there and you can see all the, uh, you know, people that people are using and how they compare with each other, which saves you a tremendous amount of time.
We found over doing this for 15 years. That, uh, there are a long list of a number of things that are crucially important to get you the best results. And so consequently, those are the things that we rate all those companies on. So you can see how they compare with all those variables that we found, how that, you know, impact on your ROI.
We also feel like it's super, super important that you pay attention to ROI, return on investment. Frankly, I don't care whether you do digital, social postcards, The receipt on the back of the grocery, you know, receipt you get, whatever you do, it doesn't matter. You shouldn't be doing anything if you're not tracking the ROI.
If you're not, you just can't tell where your money is best spent. And inevitably it's likely going to be spent poorly. not going to get you the results you're looking for.
Michael: I know at the beginning, you kind of mentioned something about the younger generation. Can you give us like a real quick, what's the age on that?
Like, is it 19 to like... 30 that are now looking at postcards or that you've witnessed the data shows.
Shawn: Yeah, anybody who's on their own, frankly, so, you know, the Millennials, Generation X, the different, you know, whatever the, you know, the different, these different generations, all those younger generations that most people think of intuitively, they think, oh, well, these people don't pay any attention to direct mail.
You know, it's the older crowd that does, and. What the studies have borne out is that's actually just not accurate. Ironically enough, because they didn't grow up with it. It's a novelty to them. And so they love actually getting direct mail. They spend more time with it. They pay more attention to it.
They respond stronger to it. They, choose, uh, you know, More often they're choose someone they've gotten direct mail from over somebody that has, they've gotten, you know, digital from, and they tend to believe it more, it's more believable to them as well in terms of the credibility factor for whomever they received it from.
So all those things come into play. And at the end of the day, you end up with a really strong response. Now, in our particular business, a lot of people are eager to get regular new patients. However, there is a tremendous amount of emphasis on practices that want to get, more higher dollar cases, you know, specialty cases, things like all on X or full arch or implants, you know, cosmetic, uh, veneers, you know, ortho, a lot of these kinds of cases, even sleep, stuff like that.
And so those types of cases are often, you know, more focused on the older generation and of course, direct mail is, you know, tried and true there as well. and, you know, I can go into, and I don't know if you have specific questions that you'd like me to cover in relation to direct mail or in terms of actionable things I can share to those online presence metrics that we pay attention to if that's helpful.
But what do you think would be most helpful to your audience?
Michael: Yeah, no, right now this has been super helpful what you, uh, let us know everything that we have to have into place first, right, before we decide to do direct mailers. Um, and then from that point on, we can kind of continue with it, right? targeting the right thing, but making sure we, we determine it.
Shawn: And the thing is, is those, the, those kinds of things that are crucial for direct mail, they're not unique to direct mail. It really doesn't matter what you're doing. Whatever you're doing, you need to make sure that you have a strong online presence because anything that you do is going to be hand in glove with your online presence.
So it's just a crucial foundational step that needs to occur first.
Michael: Yeah, awesome, Sean. I appreciate your time. And if anyone has further questions, you can definitely find them on the Dental Marketer Society Facebook group, or where can they reach out to you directly?
Shawn: Um, well, they can go right to our website, like we're mentioning, the dentalmarketing.
net. That provides a lot of insight and answers a lot of questions. And of course, they can contact us. They can, you know, frankly, contact me directly. we're extremely transparent, extremely open and eager to help whomever. Frankly, whether you work with us or not, and I'm, give people my, you know, direct line.
They can reach me, you know, my number actually 435 503 1725. You can call me pretty much anytime. Unfortunately, I eat, drink, and sleep this stuff.
Michael: All right, Sean, I appreciate your time, man. And thank you for being with me on this Monday morning marketing episode.
Shawn: Thank you so much.