Middle-aged woman smiling.

Several recent surveys revealed that despite all the hullabaloo surrounding the supposed growth of online and digital marketing channels in lieu of traditional formats, consumers respond better to old-school marketing efforts like direct mail. Additionally, they prefer seeing advertising material in print rather than on a computer screen or on their mobile phones. Armed with this information on consumer habits, dentists should continue to embark on dental practice marketing campaigns that place a heavy emphasis on direct mail pieces such as dental postcards and patient newsletters.

According to AdAge, a recent survey from the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) revealed that consumers responded substantially more frequently to direct mail pieces than they did to digital channels. The report revealed that, with an average response rate of around 3.4 percent, direct mail is 10 to 30 times more effective in creating customer connections than email. Email marketing typically displayed response rates of around 0.12 percent, which pales in comparison to direct mail. Well-crafted dental brochures are more likely to lead to a conversion of a new customer or the retention of an existing customer. This is even more apt to succeed when combined with targeted mailing lists and strategically planned campaigns.

"The future of direct mail lies in that [data], but the quality of the response for direct mail also indicates that direct mail is not disappearing," Yory Wurmser, director of marketing and media insights at the DMA, told the news source. "It's not the situation you had with newspaper advertising where it just fell off a cliff. It's probably stabilizing instead of continuing a steep decline."

Another recent survey revealed that not only did consumers respond better to direct mail over digital channels, but in fact they actually preferred to be marketed to through these traditional channels. The study, Click Here: The State of Online Advertising, revealed that consumers generally disliked online advertising, with 71 percent citing the channel as annoying. Another 51 percent termed online advertising distracting, 46 percent claimed that it was all over the place, while 38 percent deemed it to be too invasive. With such negative reactions to online advertising, dental practices can take advantage by marketing through the preferred traditional channels such as direct mail and patient newsletters. A thoughtful direct mail campaign has tremendous potential in converting new patients, particularly when compared with using digital marketing channels.