You know what matters for direct marketing success … the list, the offer, the creative, reach, and frequency … but we have to watch where and how we place our emphasis during development AND deployment in order to get the best results.
Creative development is an integral part of your marketing campaign. You already know that our newsletter format – after extensive testing against postcards and using same content and offers – drives 70% higher response than postcards, however the creative is just one piece of your marketing strategy development. Oftentimes, because it’s the “fun” part, we can get caught up in creative versus making sure that two other important decisions are made properly.
1. WHO … do you want to attract to your practice?
2. WHEN … do you need to market to them?
You may have a general idea of where you want to target new patients … a new neighborhood development or higher-end homes to the north of the practice. But having a general idea is just not good enough anymore. At Patient News, we generate the best results when we help our clients target core patient draw areas because we find like-minded consumers who are most likely to respond to your service offering. In most cases, there is significant market-share still available to your dental practice.
It makes sense. If there are 5,200 households within a mile of your practice and those households average 2.6 people each and your office has an active patient count of 2,250 (or 1000 households), then there is significant market share to be gained. However, Patient News takes it a step further to ensure that the demographics of the households (who are not currently your patients) match your ideal target patient. Plus to target your marketing dollars effectively, we look at where your competition is situated.
Who those folks are and their demographic profile will also impact creative development, but you must identify them clearly before worrying about creative.
Plan to get your marketing out there every month – at least! The significance of frequency over reach is only going to increase as the market becomes more competitive and consumers more aware and selective. One or three giant blasts to 20,000 households isn’t enough today – nor is it a good investment. Promoting aggressively – with the right combination of reach and FREQUENCY (to fit your budget) – is going to become the norm.
When looking for NEW patients, we must remember how slowly consumers react. Your target market, most often the female head-of-household, needs to know about your practice and services. Most adults today don’t realize how important dentistry is to their overall health – and they think it’s too expensive (even when they have insurance). Regular updates and healthcare information will assist them in making good decisions for their families – and that means choosing your practice. Getting your practice name, brand, and message into key homes monthly is required if you’re serious about “owning your backyard” and attracting a steady flow of quality new dental patients.
Promoting your practice to the core areas surrounding your dental office is not a mini-campaign, it’s not a test, and it’s not even a one-year program. You need to hit your target homes with a quality communication every month for as long as you plan to practice in your location. This will ensure your practice stands out in your community. You’ll become “the dentist” to whom consumers will refer. This is the only way that your practice will stand out from other dental practitioners (who many consumers believe all offer the same service). Targeted monthly mailings will also ensure that your practice income remains secure and your team’s jobs remain secure as the dental market continues to morph and change.
Your practice must be known by all of your prospective patients in order for you to continue to be successful. This will increase your rate of patient visits, referrals, and production. Monthly marketing to your identified target areas, in the right format with the right content and offers, will build brand recognition and secure your reputation as the quality provider in your area.
Talk to your Patient News representative to make sure that you have the best direct marketing strategy in place. This is an investment in your practice future and you want to invest based on proven results.