MMM [Direct Mailers/Postcards] Direct Mail Redemption: Strategies That Actually Work for Your Practice

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In this week's Monday Morning Marketing episode, I'm joined by former NFL player turned dental direct mail expert, Aaron Boone! Aaron has over 12 years pioneering new technology and methods for improving direct mail response exclusively in the dental industry. He and his team have mailed and tracked the results of over 100 million mailings for offices all across the country. In this episode, he shares the current state of direct mail in the dental industry and his secrets to minimize risk and maximize results. If you want to grow your practice and are currently doing direct mail, have done it in the past or are even considering doing direct mail in the future, this is a must watch episode filled with GREAT advice and strategy for any office.

Dive into this episode for Aaron's best tips and tricks you may be missing with direct mail!

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Episode Transcript (Auto-Generated - Please Excuse Errors)

Michael: Hey Aaron. So talk to us about direct mailers. How can we utilize this or what advice, suggestions or methods can you give us that will actually help us attract new patients with this? What is the current state of it?

Aaron: Great. Well, no, thanks for having me on and to address this. So, my name is Aaron Boone.

I'm founder of MVP Mailhouse and this is all I do all day, every day is direct mail for dental practices. So if you're going to ask someone what the current state of direct mail is, uh, good thing asking me, I don't do websites. I don't do digital marketing. I do direct mail for dentists all across the country.

So, you know, it is interesting that you said that. What is the current state? You know, if anyone has ever asked. Hey, how's direct mail do for your office? You're going to get some mixed results, right? Some people are going to say good. Some people are going to say not good. it's actually one of my favorite questions when offices reach out to me.

I ask him, have you ever done direct mail? Yes or no? Yes. Uh, yeah, but I'm not sure how well it did or it didn't work for me. One of my next favorite questions is, what didn't work? What part of it? And for direct mail to work, you kind of need to break it down. That's like me asking, hey, uh, that root canal you did didn't work.

Well, what part of it? There's so many prep phases and finish phases and all that stuff, right? So with direct mail, you know, there's there's a lot of different components of it And I know I don't have great lighting and different things like that But if you can control the variables just like if you're doing a root canal Just like if you're placing a crown you're going to have best results and best long term results so if I were to break them down, I guess to kind of answer that question to control the variables Number one is the design What are you sending out there?

Number two, the areas that you target and when you target them and how you target them, how often, et cetera. There's a science behind all of this. Um, and there's a lot of data that we've tracked over the years, hundreds of millions of cards for dentists, and we've tracked every call. And that's the, the third component is how you're tracking.

Are you putting phone numbers on? Are you actually doing an audit on the back end where you match who came in and really knowing which ones came from the postcard? Okay, and then the fourth phase is making adjustments, refinement, because what works for your office might not work for your friend the next town over or the next state over or across the country.

Okay, so I guess that's how it kind of, and I'm happy to break down and dive into any one of those different variables, if any of them resonate with you. Yeah, yeah,

Michael: because I feel like, um, correct me if I'm wrong, or maybe whenever we want to decide to do direct mailers, we're like, we get excited, we do the design and everything, and then we put in a huge, Amount right pricing wise and then you said you got a pivot right continue to pivot and make adjustments So would you recommend hey test the waters out first and then continue to make pivots or is it more like now?

Give it all you got on the first round and then well, that's

Aaron: a good question. so yes I like to take it in stride. I'm a pretty conservative person. I grew up on a goat farm, I'm not just going to go buy a Rolls Royce just because I got some money in my pocket, right?

I'm going to take things conservatively and find what I like, what works. Okay. So, what most print companies do and even in the dental. Face there's marketing companies that are really good at websites really good at digital ads They offer direct mail, but that's not what their bread and butter is.

It's not what they do So I think there's a lot of bad information out in the industry about direct mail So number one don't fall for the pre printing what I mean is instead of printing a hundred thousand cards planning for the whole year take it in stride only print this month See what works be able to make adjustments What happened you wouldn't believe how many people called me when kovat happened and they're like I already printed a whole year's worth of cards I can't change my message.

Well, and that's the other issue with results Is you want to be current with your card right now? We want to use a use it or lose it message. That's what works because it's end of year expiring benefits In January, February, you want to remind people, Hey, new year, new you, new benefits, tax return time, beat the summer rush back to school.

When you get a card in the mail, you want it to be current for now. I call it seasonality and dentistry. so that people are getting the message at the right time for that year or what are their situations? Because right now the top drivers the top people they're going to call are people with benefits that haven't used them this year dental benefits and because cash as you go into december cash is getting a little tighter people are worrying about christmas and all the other things But if you're going to lose your insurance benefits Dude, I got to call these people.

And that's why you see use it or lose it in the industry so much. So right now, definitely seasonality and dentistry is important offers are another interesting angle to drive response, to increase response. So for example, if you have no dental insurance. And all I'm advertising is specials for insurance people.

It's less of a motivator, but if I, cause you think cash. So when you get an offer, when you see these offers for 49, 99, examine x rays, stuff like that, that resonates with cash people because it's an incentive to come in kind of a deal. It doesn't make them a bad patient. it eliminates the barrier of entry to get them to come in.

However, if examine x ray, if I have insurance, I just think that's like kind of free. 99 exam extra means nothing to me But if you give me free whitening or if you give me a free toothbrush That's where those offers drive insurance people versus cash people. Okay Now i'm not saying you have to have a crazy offer You want to sell yourself and what's most important is make your card authentic.

We recommend real pictures Not stock photography, real pictures of you and your team. Another thing I'll say real quick is play to your strengths. Our designers design these cards. We want to find your strengths. If you don't have a good looking office, don't put it on your card. if you look scary, maybe don't put your face on the card, right?

But I don't know how to say that politely, but I'm saying play to your strengths. Right if you're discount if you're low in like as far as pricing lead with that. That's okay If you're a high end boutique lead with that that's gonna resonate With the right people, right? You're not going to get everyone.

You don't need everyone. You just need to Consistently grow your practice so anyway That's what i'd say about the designs and the variables and then The last part of it that I think a lot of people make the mistake of is they don't track it So when you pre print cards You don't know if someone called from your january mailing or july mailing because it's exactly the same Right, you just know when they call so every time we mail when we do a january mailing Versus February to the north versus March to the south.

We use a new phone tracking number on it. So we know exactly, even if someone calls six months from now, you'll know it was from your January mailing, not your current September mail. Does that make sense? So you're able to track individual areas and designs. And by response to see what's working best. And then, like you said, once you find what's working, okay, now you can hit the gas pedal more conservatively smarter, because you know that every time you mail this design to this area or whatever it might be, you're getting back.

Eight times your money, six times your money, whatever it is. And then it's a lot easier too to put your money down right? If you know it's working. Mm-Hmm. , you know, it's like, I don't know, you, you go to the casino yelling, I got a system. No one really has a system at the casino or at the slot machine. But yeah, you're more confident to put some money in because there's always some risk in marketing.

I'm not gonna deny that there's always some risk. Mm-Hmm. . But if that risk is minimal, it makes it a lot easier to be confident and put more money into it.

Michael: Yeah. No, a hundred percent. And so. With pricing on that, does it become more, expensive, I guess, if it's like, Hey, let's do it, month by month or seasonal by seasonal instead of like, Hey, let's just buy for the year.

I get a bulk price and it's cheaper. Yeah.

Aaron: So, know, that's a tricky question and I would say it depends on the office. So I have, I don't recommend pre printing. I do have a few offices that want to, because you really only save a couple pennies. The real expense in direct mail is postage. I don't make a dime off it.

You don't make a dime, but that's who we need to deliver. And postage rates have gone up four times in the last two years. Like they have gone up. So it makes direct mail more, a little more expensive, a couple pennies more. But here's how I recommend to analyze marketing. And if you read marketing books and sales books and things like that to grow your practice.

You need more patients, right? You're going to have attrition no matter what as much as you love your patients and take care of them You're going to lose some they move They their insurance changes. They don't like you whatever happens you lose patients every month Too many offices are not filling in those patients plus some every month and that's probably if someone's watching this They're probably wondering how they can get more right?

How do you grow? So it comes down to investment And the thing I love about offices, dentists especially, that have already worked their practice for a few years is you've worked through a lot of kinks. Now, I work with a lot of startups, but that bread and butter office that has been there 2, 3, 5, 8 years, now you've got things dialed in, those are the ones that should be pushing the gas pedal.

Because, here's the thing, you're better now at case acceptance, you're more experienced. Your your whole team is better when a patient comes in. They're going to like you better They're going to stay longer because you're better So invest in that, you know people are we're willing to put money into a stock market and some random stock of people that you Have no idea if they're even going to do a good job with the company But dentists have a hard time putting money in themselves.

I'm going to bring more patients to me And we as a team are going to take care of these people and they will make us money because then they're going to refer Their friends their family. So the going rate right now for direct mail Uh is I mean a regular stamp is all the way up to what 65 cents. I think right now We're able to do everything design it print it mail it Listen to every call you get grade how well you're still Staff handles the calls give you feedback and an exact ROI when we match the data with your practice management software.

You're going to know dollar for dollar, good or bad, what you get with MVP. And that's what our, our, our offices love. But we do all of that for closer to 50 cents. depending on your quantity per cart, everything, postage, tracking, print, everything. So, can it be expensive? Well, sure. Anything can be expensive.

But what I would suggest you look at is not necessarily the expense, but what you get back. Okay. If you spent a dollar and got back 2, well, that's good. But what if you spent 2 and got back 5 or 6? Is it the expense or is it the gain? Is it the ROI? So and and that's different for every practice So one of my favorite questions is that I always recommend is define success What is your success?

Are you just trying to get the word out there that you're there? Are you trying to get more patients? Are you trying to get more production? So define success and then we can work towards Achieving that so that that office will want to renew again and again and again Because for me and them it's a win win when we continue our partnership, right?

That means they're making money the office and that means we're doing a good job Serving them. So that's kind of our goals is we're very transparent We have a scoreboard a dashboard where you know, exactly we don't hide results. I don't call you up and say hey How's the postcards doing? I call you up and say, Hey doc, great news.

So far, you've already had 17 calls and 14 appointments schedule. Oh, really? I didn't know that. we're providing real info for real results. And I think that's the missing piece that a lot of people don't have in their direct mail, and you can do this on your own. If you do your own direct mail, great.

More power to you, but control the variables. That would be my overall message from this control, the variables, best design, best homes. I'll help you decide which homes and show you that based on where your prank shits are coming from and stuff like that. Track it. And then most important, measure your ROI.

And if it's there and you're defining success and, and making the money that you want to get or achieving the results. And keep doing it. Invest in yourself saying. Invest in your office and it grows. So anyway, sorry. That was a lot of talking.

Michael: No, no, no. That's good. That's good. And I like that.

I like how you say you bring out a good point. Dentists have a hard time investing in themselves. Um, but it is good to kind of get that clarification. You know what I mean? To do it. because I feel like a lot of the times that's what happens. We decide to ask in either a forum, a Facebook group or something.

Does direct mail works and people are like, nah, trash don't right now. And this is where we're like, yeah, great. It works. Wonderful. Right. And so I feel like you either come out of that more confused or more like validated on my

Aaron: own emotion. Yeah. It's so true. And my argument to that is if you ask the same question, Hey, do digital ads work?

You're going to get the same response because for some office it works awesome. And for the next, it doesn't. And that's what's important. I think for each office is understanding what works for you And just because it's direct mail or just because it's a digital or a facebook ad if it's done poorly You lower your chances of success regardless of it.

It's So, I might argue that the new junk mail is not direct mail, but actually digital ads. Think of how many digital ads you get on your screen, how many emails you get daily, and the mailbox, it's still there. And it's something that tangible that each one of these homeowners around your practice is going to get and going to be introduced to you.

So, I think there's a play for all marketing aspects. I think the challenge for Dennis is to find out what works for them and do more of it. And without properly testing there's some really bad advice that you can take out there because just like you said if you go to These forums well that office that just said it sucks Is in downtown Manhattan and is a totally different population than yours in Savannah, Georgia, wherever your practice is right in the suburbs of this area.

So, I think that's the other thing to factor into is don't take blanket statements. I do think that it is important to take advice and I love that. That's what I, one of the things I love about the dental community the support that's there, but sometimes that support and advice. isn't always, warranted or maybe isn't quite apples to apples when they did that root canal, well, it may be a totally different scenario.

You know, I was giving you that example of, well, the root canal didn't work. Well, what part? Well, what if they're doing a totally different tooth or a totally different patient that has different types of gum disease or whatever it might be, I'm not a dentist, but you see what I'm saying? You can't compare apples to apples.

And, um, I think what's important is finding out what works for your practice. And we do a free, uh, complimentary analysis of your area, even I can pretty much grade your area. Kind of like you remember that TV show, break my ride or hit my ride or something. So literally when an office comes to me, I can put their practice in my mapping software and I can predict how well they will do with direct mapping.

And that's pretty powerful. Now there's some cool tools and technology that have evolved over the years. It's not the eighties and nineties direct mail anymore, where you mail to the whole zip code and a whole state, I can literally target your hottest neighborhoods. I can take out your patients so they don't get it, but their neighbors do.

Like, there's some cool things that have happened in direct mail, kind of like you do on, on digital. You can target a certain group or a certain, you know, on, on Facebook, these, these kind of, specific target markets. Do that and direct them out. things are capable are a possibility now that they weren't 10, 20 years ago.


Michael: Okay. Awesome. Aaron, 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?

Aaron: Well, I would suggest just going to mvpmailhouse. com go into our website. Um, you can fill out a free contact us form.

Yeah, everything is free. No, we're not high pressure sales guys, anything like that. Like I love it's almost like a free exam and x ray. Okay, let me look into your mouth. Let me look around your practice at the homes and I'll tell you what's going on in there. And if direct mail can be a viable source, I'll also even pin drop out your patients so you can see exactly where they're coming from.

And find these hottest neighborhoods. It's kind of an X ray of your, of your area to see where you're growing. And that's really the secret is finding where people come from now, because their neighbors are typically their best, the best next patients, similar demographics, you know, you do a lot of, grassroots marketing and things like that.

It makes sense, right? You're not going to go knock way on the other side of town. Where no one comes from because you're going to get lower results find your hotbeds And embrace them and continue to grow in those Anyway, yeah, go to our website check it out fill out that contact us form or info at mvp mail house Dot com right in the notes that you heard about us here.

I got a little special for anyone. we'd be happy to kind of give them that free exam and x ray that second opinion Even if you're doing direct mail right now Let me give you a free second opinion of where you should be mailing and what you are doing right now

Michael: Awesome, man.

So that's going to be in the show notes below and thank you for being with me on this monday morning marketing episode