MMM [Direct Mailers/Postcards] How to Design Direct Mail Campaigns That Hit the Bullseye

No items found.

Listen & Share

Show Notes

Are you looking to hit the ground running with powerful ground marketing strategies? Our ground marketing course offers a range of actionable steps utilizing local restaurants, gyms, corporate locations, and small businesses in your area! With step-by-step scripts, foolproof plans, and real-time video demonstrations, you'll master the art of effectively engaging with your local community to attract new patients effortlessly.

Click this link to join the community!

In this week's episode, we're back with the direct mail genius, Aaron Boone, to unveil even more secrets from our upcoming course on targeted and effective direct mail marketing. With another sneak peek into the heart of the course, Aaron is giving you valuable insights on targeting strategies, neighborhood selection, and leveraging patient data for precision in your direct mail campaigns. Join us as Aaron delves into the intricacies of overcoming geographical barriers, sequencing mailings for maximum impact, and the strategic benefits of zoning in on specific areas. Plus, we explore the world of specialized mailings, understanding their potential and navigating the limitations of purchasing specialized lists.

Whether you're a seasoned marketer or just starting, this episode promises to be a treasure trove of actionable strategies to elevate your direct mail game!

You can reach out to Aaron Boone here:



Free Direct Mail Analysis and Heat Map:

Mentions and Links:

Useful Terms:

  • EDDM - Every Door Direct Mail

If you want your questions answered on Monday Morning Marketing, ask me on these platforms:

My Newsletter:

The Dental Marketer Society Facebook Group:

Episode Transcript (Auto-Generated - Please Excuse Errors)

Aaron: Okay, guys, here we go. So I take direct mail and I break it up into a few different segments and what we're going to do on this course is we're going to talk through on this first course here, about how to target, where to target, which homes do you mail to? And in subsequent courses, we will go into the actual design itself, what offers work best, what messaging colors, Size of card, all those kind of things, and then eventually into the tracking and matchback audit, so you have 100 percent ROI in your direct mail.

But let's start with the first one. Where, what audience, who responds to direct mail, all of those good things. So, I'm sharing here on my screen some of our proprietary software. Yes, this is a behind the scene look, so you can kind of see some of the software that we've built. To be able to better target homes for our offices now as a quick frame of reference here as i've worked with offices all across the country One of my favorite things to look at is actual patient data now follow me on this There's grand openings that obviously don't have any patients So you don't know where people are going to come from But one of the easiest ways to get your arms around a practice right off the bat to know where to mail Is by looking at your existing patients?

Where do they mail? So I've built software, what I call a heat map, to be able to better target your hottest neighborhoods. Where I've found, over a hundred million plus cards I've mailed, where I've found my best results, I know it sounds really simple, but it's targeting the neighbors in the neighborhoods of your existing patients.

Where do they live? Being able to target their neighbors. Now, let's talk about this a little bit. So you see here on my screen, this is just a little demo account here. Uh, you look outside here and I kinda put some radius rings just to give you an idea. Now most people have heard, oh, you want to target your patients within three to five miles.

Now, there is some truth to that, actually a lot of truth, but here's the problem. When people do direct mail or even digital marketing, What they do is they draw a big circle around their office, just like you see here on my screen, and they mail to all those homes. The problem is, especially when you get into more densely populated areas, uh, suburban areas, there's a lot of homes, and it's going to cost you a lot of money to hit all those.

And the other problem is, many of them won't respond. There's certain areas that will not respond to your marketing. So, let me show you what I mean. When, when a typical office comes in and says, hey, I want to do direct mail, here's where they start with. Let's look how many homes are around. Well, here in my data, or in my software that I built, if you were to look at 10 miles around this practice, there's actually 276, 000 homes.

There's no way you're going to be able to afford that many cards. So some people say, Oh, well, what if I shrink it down to just five miles? Okay, well, uh, even shrinking it down, you're still dealing with maybe a hundred thousand homes or 50, 000 homes. But the problem is they don't come in a perfect circle.

Patients do not come in a perfect circle. So why do you market in a perfect circle? What I'm getting at is if you really look at where the, this office's patients are coming from. You're going to find some significant geographical barriers as you start looking at rivers, lakes, interstates. All of these things will impact how patients come to your practice.

It's really interesting. So I've done literally thousands of these heat maps. And what I mean is I have an office jump into their existing practice management software and you run a quick new patient report. Just addresses. And instead of guessing where to mail, so for example, when an office typically comes to me, they'll say, hey, alright, I, I want to mail to these, uh, this, these homes.

This is 30, 000 homes. So a typical direct mail order would be three mailings of 10, 000 cards. Okay? So that's what this gray area represents. Looks pretty normal, right? It's kind of about a two and a half to three mile radius. The problem is, when I run their heat map, look where their patients are coming from.

So this particular office, had been mailing for years with very little to no results. Why? Because of these significant geographical barriers. So instead, I use this patient data and I'd create an area more like that, where patients are coming from. Don't fight geographical barriers, okay? Rule number one, you'll always be fighting them and you'll be really frustrated of why patients won't come to you from this perfect circle.

Okay, so for new practices, now you kind of have to use, uh, leverage of knowing, but here's a couple rules of thumb. Be conscientious of geographical barriers like rivers, lakes, interstates. Also, people tend to migrate towards cities. You can kind of see how all these patients come out here, but very few are willing to leave a city to come out to an office. so once we kind of look at the area here, I then break these up into digestible zones. So I recommend to have two or three zones of where you're mailing. So in this case, I took those 30, 000 homes and I broke them up into three groupings, or zones, or drops, however you want to call them. So mailing one would hit these 10, 000 homes in green, mailing two the next month in red, and the next month in blue.

Okay, so you have these different zones. Now, what kind results would you expect? Well, this is really interesting. I'm going to show you a screenshot of how I typically break it down and why I suggest mailing in this sequence. So, let me pull over here from my other screen here real quick. Kind of a quick little picture so you can kind of see what I mean.

But when I do these heat maps, proximity to practice is a huge criteria. Do not make the mistake that a lot of people make. They'll say, Oh, well I have a patient that drives 10 miles, 20 miles with direct mail. You do not want to chase onesies and twosies out here. You want to stick to your closest best homes.

Now, you can filter out neighborhoods based on income. if you don't accept state care, you can remove those lower income neighborhoods. but in general, uh, I like to remove, if you're not state care, I like to remove the lowest 10 to 20 percent of income levels. Boom. Take them out of the map and then we add the next best neighborhoods.

But results typically come like this. So here's an example of a heat map. So, think of it like rings, okay, a donut. So this first ring is going to be your number one ring. This is where you're always going to get your most patients at the highest rate. It's what I call your core area, let's say that represents about 10, 000 homes.

So people say, well, why don't you just mail to those areas? That's your best area. Now, it is an approach for certain offices. The problem is, If you're looking this at for a long term solution, if you just keep mailing to that first zone one right here in the middle in this ring, what's going to happen is you're going to get diminishing returns and over saturation.

So you want to be able to work it around. This next ring is your second best responding area. And then this outer ring is kind of hopeful, more risk, I guess I should say. Because you're getting further away from your practice. And now you've opened yourself up to more competition, greater distance to travel, and all those things matter for patient flow.

Okay? So, understand this. The reason why I like mailing in this sequence, with one, two, three, or just like this example here, is if you hit mailing one to all of these red homes, well, almost a third of them are in your A plus area, the other third is in your B, and C. So you're going to get a good combination of results from your best, second best, and third best.

Then month two, let's say, you go to your green, same thing. You're going to have some core area, a little bit of the necks, and then some stretch area. And same for the blue. So you can kind of get an idea of why I like that home. Now, if you're looking for a temporary, just quick fix, and you don't plan on doing this very long, maybe just one, two, three months, for sure, I would recommend hitting just a bullseye of those closest best homes. and then you could be done if you're looking for a long term solution. Sequencing is really important and it's something that I can kind of talk through. It's different for every office, but it's something to be conscientious from. The reason why I like three zones is it gives you a nice seasonal message.

So, for example, you could mail January, February, March, New Year's message to all of them. renewed benefits, tax returns, that kind of stuff. Then, well, you're going to get used to getting more new patients, and you're going to want to keep getting them, right? So, instead of not mailing, you come back to Zone 1, and you mail there, and now you're in April, May, June, July, August, September.

So, even if you mail every month of the year, you are only going to hit the same home once every quarter, and you have a new design and a new message when you hit them. So, It absolutely can continue without getting any diminishing returns. In fact, I have offices that have mailed literally every single month for years, and the results get better, if anything, rather than drop off.

Because what happens is you start to get, repetition. And you always hear the importance of repetition in marketing. Okay? Now, um, I also need to sell results. I want it to work. So the better sequencing you can put in place, the better results you're going to get. Sometimes if you just hit the same area, you'll get a big spike in the beginning, But then results start to drip off because you're getting over saturation or diminishing returns I recommend to always change the message as you come to the home.

So it's always current So this is kind of a funny card they did specifically around the holidays or in during the winter But then in spring you want a spring card back to school card So keep your designs and i'll talk about that in the next segment. But in short This is what is basically like a carrier route method.

So if you're doing EDDM, I personally don't like EDDM, although it saves a couple pennies in postage, you're limited in what you can do. So for example, with the postage I use, I can hit these green homes, and I can actually take out your patients. So your patients don't get the mail, but all of their neighbors do.

Hopefully that makes sense. It's really important, especially if you're running an aggressive offer. You don't want your existing patients to get this if you're running an aggressive offer. Well, the postage that I use, I can take those out. So, anyway, you, EDDM people out there, you're do it yourselfers, hopefully this can help you.

Um, I also like to track each mailing individually with its own tracking phone number. So I know exactly how well, how well January does here compared to February compared to March. So anyway, that is kind of an initial approach. Now, there's a lot of things behind these scenes that we can dive into and you should also.

You don't have to just blank it. If you want a more specialized mailing to specific neighborhoods, well, there is, you know, my software makes it really easy. I can dive right in here. I have these built right into actual postage routes. so for example, if I have your, uh, your heat map here, I can literally tell this office exactly where their highest market share is.

They have 79 households, 119 patients in that little zone right there. 106, 000 in production. So, I've built some really cool tools that help you actually dive into this. where I can literally mail to just your highest producing neighborhood, okay? I can also target just new mover areas. So there's a lot of variables you can do nowadays with direct mail.

So, gone are the days, the old days, where you used to have to mail to the entire zip code or entire city. You can literally get pretty granule diving right into these hottest neighborhoods. Now, one thing here before I wrap up this segment. Oftentimes, like a pediatric practice or an orthodontic office will ask me, Hey Aaron, can I buy a list and only mail to homes with a 2 to 8 year old, let's say.

Oh, and by the way, I want to make sure that home has an average income of 80, 000 or more. Sounds good, you guys have heard that, right? Oh, let's only mail to homes with kids. Sounds great for pediatric practice. Here's the problem, and I've tracked tons of these mailings. Yes, there are such lists. The problem is they're never that accurate.

Follow me on this. When was the last time someone knocked on your door and said, Hey, Dr. Smith, do you have a four year old living here? And by the way, how much money do you make? Right? It doesn't happen. Okay, now there are lists out there. There's actually a creepy amount of data out there about all of us and about our homes and our neighborhoods.

But when I buy that list, one, it costs more money than mailing to a neighborhood as a whole. Two, increased postage. Because now instead of mailing to these colors like you see, Imagine if you were just mailing to those drops. Let's say these pin drops are, just homes on that list. They have a, a four-year-old or five-year-old or whatever.

So the problem is these lists just aren't that accurate and you get a lot of return mail too. anyway, hopefully that helps. So there's a specialized list mailing where you only mail to, let's say, 5, 000 homes with a certain criteria.

Like I said, you're typically going to expand about 12 to 15 cents more. The problem is when I track it, meaning listening to every recording, tracking the results, I rarely get better results. I found it better because it's less postage, closer to target a neighborhood as a whole. rather than, uh, individual homes.

Okay? But a lot of that depends on where this is. Now, occasionally I will recommend a specialized mailing. Let's say I get this patient list that you're seeing right here and there's no rhyme or reason of where patients are coming from. They're kind of scattered all over. I typically see that for specialty practices.

If that's the case, then yes, I would recommend exploring a specialty list. Finding a list of only homes that have a 60 year old person or older if you're targeting a certain demographic or only homes with these children that we talked about. Most cases, nine times out of 10 when you do a heat map, it is going to be very telling of where you should target.

I've done these heat maps for, practices all across the country for, from DSOs to small, uh, groups. And you're going to find it really interesting where they're coming from. So, anyway, I hope that helps kind of put together a plan. Happy to answer, expand a little more on different questions. Multi zones is the way to go because you can rotate areas and you can consistently get new patients every month.

Rather than just a band aid fix. Keep it growing and keep those patients coming in. Be selective. You can target certain routes, carrier routes, or neighborhoods, however you want to look at it. But target the best ones. Remember the geographical barriers of entry as a recap. Okay, thanks. I hope this was helpful, and I look forward to talking to you on the next segment.

Thank you.