MMM [Direct Mailers/Postcards] How to Showcase Your Brand and Draw in the Perfect Patients with Postcards!

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In this week's Monday Morning Marketing episode, we're thrilled to welcome back Aaron Boone, the marketing maestro from MVP Mailhouse. Today, Aaron is pulling back the curtain on an upcoming course segment, offering an exclusive sneak peek into the world of direct mail tips and strategies. Join us as we delve into the art of showcasing your brand effectively through postcards, exploring the secrets to attracting precisely the patients you desire. Aaron shares insights on selecting the best images, crafting compelling offers, and optimizing headers for maximum impact in your location. Wondering which postcard style delivers the best bang for your buck? Aaron breaks it down. Plus, he sheds light on the importance of tracking the average new patient value over the first year and reveals ingenious ways to create urgency without a firm expiration date on your offers.

Listen today for a glimpse into our upcoming course and lesson on elevating your outreach game!

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Episode Transcript (Auto-Generated - Please Excuse Errors)

Aaron: Hello. Hello. Thanks for joining me for another course. So, all right, this one is pretty excited and it's a common question that comes up a lot. Once again, my name is Aaron Boone with MVP Mailhouse. And today, for this particular segment, we are going to talk about designs. What works, what doesn't, what even down to the size of card.

Let's talk through a number of things. These are common questions that a lot of people have. And then, um, kind of the elephant in the room, I think, when it comes to direct mail. A lot of people think, like, they have to give away the farm, so to speak, in offers. So, we're going to talk about offers, what works, what doesn't, and uh, let's go from there.

So, here on our website, I'm just going to go in, just so you guys have some visuals, you don't have to just stare at me, you can look at a few different designs. There's a few elements of every design that we want to focus on. So, granted, what I put here on the website are definitely more of our generic stuff.

And then from here, we customize each one of our designs. I think that is the first thing, right there. Is, you need to be able to, hopefully you guys have already worked your brand. Like, what is your message? Are you a low priced leader? Which is okay if you are, Or are you a high end boutique place doing Botox and other things?

I think it's really important to identify, your strengths are. So my number one suggestion for your direct mail piece, when you design it, is play to your strengths. I know it sounds really simple, but play to your strengths and your design. and as I kind of talk through that, I'm going to say there's different ways to illustrate that.

So I've done, I've tracked all different types of mailings. You know, millions of mailings across the country. From trifold, bigger brochures where you really get into some big case type dentistry. to small little handout cards that are mailed. to large oversized postcards. Here's what I recommend. I have found over, over my time, now it can vary by area for sure in my case, but I feel the best bang for your buck is a 6 inch by 11 inch postcard.

That's what I recommend. Why? Well, a couple reasons. When you get the mail, here's a standard envelope that you would typically get, right? In the mailbox, there's bills, there's other things. Well, the nice thing about this size is it's just a little bit longer. So it stands out in the mailbox. It doesn't get lost in the shuffle.

That's the downside of a smaller card. that could get lost behind the bills and get thrown away. Totally invisible. So if you go with a bigger oversized postcard five and a half by eight and a half is also a really common, you can do it a little cheaper because you can print more of them in a, in a typical print run.

Um, but even if you do a trifle, just make sure it's a little bigger than the standard envelope. So that's why I like anything five inches and beyond and width and in length. I typically recommend that it's either a little shorter than a standard envelope, or preferred, even longer. So I hope that makes sense, so it kind of stands out.

Okay? Alright, so, once you have decided on the size, now it's what is the message. Okay? Now you see a very vanilla card here, but there's actually some important elements that we're seeing on this right off the bat. Okay? Of elements that I try to look for and that I want to incorporate. So this is a good, I guess, template to start with.

Not to mail, but to start with and improve. So number one, I always like a clear, bold headline, um, message right at the top. Some sort of, um, header right to the point that gets the customer, the potential patient, right into the mindset, okay, this is for dentistry.

Okay, I think that's important. The next is a really great image. Alright, too often you might do a card with, bad imagery. I prefer actual, office photos, so if you have some cool pictures of the docs, or of the team, that's what I recommend to put on the card. Now, if you don't have those, remember what I say, play to your strengths.

So, if you don't have a good looking office, well, don't put it on the card, right? the staff isn't maybe as photogenic, well maybe don't use that angle. So play to your strengths, whatever it is, as far as the imagery goes. But big, solid images. Let me pull over another here onto the screen here where you don't have to just stare at me.

But kind of an example here is a big, solid headline up here. You know, right to the caring for our community smiles. Whatever your, your tagline is. Okay, always include, highlight, and then the image that we talked about. A logo, phone number, and then also, I like to have something specific for the time.

Notice on this one, New Year, New Smile, Benefits Renewed, End of Year Benefits, Use it or Lose it. Notice it's not the feature of the card, it's an FYI. The feature of the card is you, your branding, your name, your logo. Okay? Other elements to look for, I typically like to have offers, we'll talk about those in a minute.

On the back, this is a pretty standard type design, where you have offers, you have services. Always big bold phone numbers,  address,

Aaron: and I like to have a map on the back also. Picture of the doc or practice, if applicable, um, and, reviews. And reviews are really important too. So, the next thing is, here's a question that I get a lot about, um, cards.

You know, let's say you want more implant cases. Okay? Sounds great. Implants are, are great. They're valuable. But, here's the problem. If you only target implants, what about the home that gets a card and needs three crowns? You don't want to lose that. So, I like to incorporate multiple angles.

Don't be too specific just for that big case. Now, there are such things for sure. I've done implant specific mailings. Um, no doubt about it. But in general, I like to keep it a little broader. So I'm capturing more, people that might need crowns, might need Invisalign, might need implants, a little bit of everything because you never know what's going to resonate, what's going to jump.

Um, if you're doing a grand opening, always make sure you really highlight the grand opening on the card. I think it works really well. Here's an example here. Grand opening, this is for an orthodontic practice, that was new. Have some personality to it. Kind of like I'm into this is, this is one of our offices that just always kind of does silly designs or thoughts and it works really well for them.

So, anyway the next step is, is let's get into some of these offers. Why do you always see some of these offers and what do they mean? Well, let's talk about it. It's different by specialty, but in general, my rule of thumb, I'm just trying to find you a, a quick example Okay, so for this one, you guys have seen the 49, 59, 99, 149, whatever it is.

Sometimes you'll include just the exam and x rays, and sometimes you'll include the cleaning. Now there's a couple things you can learn from this. So this is designed to target cash patients. Alright? My rule of thumb is this. I like multiple offers. And those that are wondering about offers, offers work.

Okay? I've tracked 100 million cards, 100%, they work. And it doesn't mean, and this is a misconception in marketing, that offers are a bad thing. Okay? We all like deals, right? put yourself in the consumer. They need a dentist. They could go to this office, or this office. You all accept their insurance.

What stands out? Well, sometimes it's just a little perk to push them over the edge. They like your card, it resonates, the picture, maybe the staff picture resonate with them, but you're also giving them free whitening after paid exam x ray cleaning. So, I recommend to have an offer for cash patients, an offer for insurance patients, um, and a big case offer.

In general. So what does that mean? An Invisalign offer or an implant offer? Free implant consultation. Okay? Because the value of that is so high, it's worth you taking a chance. And maybe having a little bit of a loss later on some time. The other thing is this and I think this is lost a lot of times. is your average new patient worth over the first year? Think about that. The average new patient value, I typically see around 1, 000. So 750 to 1, 250 over the first year. They come in, 6 month visit, 12 month visit, around 1, 000. Now what if they need 3 crowns here, but this person never comes back? You know, you have kind of this lot of patients that are coming in.

But the average, if you think of that, the average person's worth about 1, 000. So and that's just in the first year. So if it costs you 50, 100 discount to get them in that first time, and then they like you and they keep coming back again and again and again, plus they refer their friends and family, that 50 that you gave up front is long forgotten.

That free whitening tray is long forgotten in two years from now when that has turned into 20, 000 from that patient, from their family, and a couple co workers they referred to you. So don't be scared of offers. Now, I will say this. If you're not great at case acceptance, or you're not good at retention, my rule of thumb is this.

The more confident you are in those, the more confident you are in retention, the more aggressive you should be in your offer. Follow me. If you can get them in the door, you know they're going to stick and they're going to stay, be more aggressive on the front end. If not, then there needs to be more skin in the game.

Maybe instead of a, you know, 99 exam x rays, maybe it's 249. Maybe it's 149. but cash offers are typically ones that have dollar amounts around them. Insurance offers are typically the number one insurance offer in the country. It's nothing new. You guys have all heard it, but it's actually free whitening, right?

Because it's something extra that after they come in and pay for their exam and x ray, then you're going to give them a free whitening trade or a, you know, I prefer like, um, rather than using chair time, getting even like some take home tray, take home kits. That's a really easy alternative, to that.

This particular example here is free new patient exam and x ray. Now notice it doesn't pay for cleaning, but it gets people in the door, gets you looking in their mouth, helps you build that rapport, and then you turn them into great long term patients. Okay? Just because someone is calling about a deal does not mean they're just a price shopper.

They genuinely need a dentist. When was the last time you just called a tire shop just to haggle pricing, but you didn't need tires, right? You don't do that. So you're not going to call and haggle with the dental office If you don't actually need dentistry, so I think that's a misconception is people are calling because they actually need a dentist it's the staff's job to get it away from the price and more about the value And the need and the health and we'll talk about that in a later segment when we talk about front desk training So, all right in general though, so for the design offers work.

Don't be scared to use them Remember seasonality in your messaging. As you do this like I said new year end of year that type of stuff Grand opening really feature that grand opening be bold imagery. Remember demographics. Keep that in mind, okay, of who you're targeting. Are you targeting the Hispanic population?

Are you targeting, other demographics or income levels or things? Be conscientious of that. If you use stock photography, imagery you should work, or use, should reflect your patient base. because that's who you're targeting. And for some offices, I might, it might vary. As I mail to zone one, up to the north of the practice, maybe it's more Hispanic, maybe it's black more to the south, it's Asian or white on another area.

You can rotate that imagery in your designs. So, it resonates a little more. But I love big staff photos. I like, um, strong messaging for the time of the year when it is. It'll help people move quicker. One last comment here before we wrap up this one. Expirations. So that's another question people ask me. there's two parts of this. One is should you put at the bottom of your offer? Free whitening expires three, three, 2022, you know, six weeks out or a month out. My recommendation is no. Now you want to create urgency, so what I recommend is typically put something like expires in four weeks, expires in six weeks, okay?

That will create some urgency, but it doesn't have a deadline date because what happens as I track these calls, people get the card, they put it on their fridge. Cause they're not ready to call now. They pull it down in a couple months and if they see a hard date, the shelf life's less. You're less likely to call if it has a firm expiration date.

Oh, it's already expired. But if it says in four weeks or six weeks, they start the way, huh? I wonder if that's still valid so we literally hear on recordings all the time. Hey, I have this postcard I've had on my fridge for a few months Are you guys still accepting new patients and are you honoring your free whitening offer and guess what you should teach your front desk?

Oh, yes. Absolutely. We are with who do I have the pleasure of speaking with thanks for calling and turning that into an appointment It is worth that front end that twenty thirty dollar whitening kit To have this patient who's going to bring you possibly thousands of dollars tens of thousands of dollars with their network of family and friends If you can earn their business, okay, so on the designs be bold be bright.

I like bright fresh colors I like if you're gonna use stock photography use fun pictures Okay that stand out of their mail of bills and other things that you get in your mailbox What's

Aaron: gonna resonate because we are all in this space in the dental space, you know, sometimes we'll say well do people look at their direct mail, well, the answer is yes. That's why people keep mailing because they're making money. If you're in an area where you're getting direct mail from competitors, well, guess what? They're not doing it because they're losing money. It must be working for them or they wouldn't keep doing it, right?

So it means you're in a responsive area. I will say there are certain parts of the country that respond better than others for sure. If I have a little more risk, I would say it's more in inner city areas, high rise apartment complexes, those kind of areas. But if your practice is outside of major, major beltway, um, into suburban single family areas, rural areas, all of those do really well.

Certain States will respond better than other States. But regardless, even if the dentist across the street is doing direct mail to don't be scared. Just come up with your own message and find what is resonating in your area because not even if there's, you can't eliminate competition, right? There's competition all over, but you need to stand out when they see your car, okay?

And it happens all the time. Create a design that resonates and stands out and represents you. Play to your strengths, don't be scared of offers, and always use a tracking number on it. And I'll talk about that in our next segment of how to better track your mail. But anyway, hopefully that was helpful in some of uh, these things.

Now remember, certain states have certain guidelines. If you put offers on, for example, in some states, like Florida, you need to put the code to the procedure, and also, the value. Some states you're required to put the value. So if you put free whitening, regular price. 99. Normally, 3. 27, whatever it is.

So those are the only other restrictions you really need to think about. Anyway, hope this was helpful and I hope you're creating great designs out there and test them, try different things and see what works best. And when you find that sweet spot, continue to push that. All right. Thanks so much. we'll talk to you soon.