August 27, 2010
Secrets to a Successful Direct Mail Program for Patients
Updated November 10, 2014 -
Today’s patients want more than a great doctor. They are looking for a phenomenal staff that goes above and beyond their expectations. They also want a website to visit that will educate them on exactly what they need to learn.
Additionally, they need communication from you on a regular basis. Don’t worry about bothering your patients or inconveniencing them with an email or postcard every so often. It’s just the opposite, in fact; they don't want you to forget about them!
Here are some ways to create and manage a successful direct mail campaign for patients.
A Toasty, Warm Market = Instant Growth
Your patients that have already come in for a consultation or for a procedure are called your “warm market”. In other words, they probably have an affinity for you and some degree of trust has been built with them.
These are the people you will have the best response from and who won't mind hearing from you. This list can also include those who have attended events you have held in the office (assuming you got everyone's mailing address).
Ideally, you’ll want to communicate with these folks on a continuous basis. For example, an actual patient who had their last follow-up appointment should be called again two weeks afterwards to ask them how they’re feeling and see if they have any concerns or questions.
This small gesture will go a long way towards getting referrals from them as well as considering you for their next procedure. And don't forget to send patients birthday cards with special offers good for their entire birthday month!
What Comes After a Patient's Procedure?
After checking in with your patients after their final appointment, you should send them a monthly direct mail piece (and emails if they have given you permission) to invite them back for a special offer or discount that is only valid for existing patients.
You may even want to create a beauty club or membership program that your patients are automatically enrolled in. This affiliation should make them eligible for special pricing not offered to anyone else. This type of special treatment brings your patients back into your office and will pay off immensely.
Referral Rewards for Your Patients
You should also implement a referral rewards program for all patients, whether or not they went forward with a procedure. Why? Because they may have loved you and thought the world of your staff but they simply couldn't afford the procedure. Why not ask them for referrals?
On every direct mail piece you send out, be sure to let them know what they will receive if they refer a friend or family member to you. You can accomplish this by having some tangible gifts on-hand when they come in such as a set of organic bath products or an aromatherapy kit so they can see your thank you gift.
These tokens of appreciation will give patients the incentive to refer people to you. Some doctors choose to offer a special discount toward a future procedure instead of a physical gift and that’s a great way to bring people in, too...especially in this economy.
Direct Mail and Emails Should Be Consistent
Your direct mail pieces should follow the same format and topics as your email newsletter each month, but with a more "get-to-the-point" focus. For example, you’ll want to ask them a few qualifying questions at the top of the piece such as “Summer is right around the corner. Does the idea of a bikini send you screaming in horror?”
Be funny and include a picture of a woman screaming in horror. Then below that, tell them what kind of a special you’re offering and provide a deadline to respond.
This type of piece makes the patient think about their worst fears while injecting a healthy dose of humor as well. The deadline will cause them to act as soon as possible and that's simply smart practice marketing!
The Message on the Direct Mail Piece
Always put something on the card like “Bring this card in for 20% off any (name the procedure) performed before (put a deadline date here). Call us today to schedule your free consultation.” Not only will it cause the patient to save your card, but you’ve also created an urgency for them to set an appointment.
By implementing these guidelines to your direct mail campaigns, your patients will be running to your office for procedures all year long!
Need professionally designed and implemented direct mail campaigns? We're here to help with zip code-based and demographics-driven pieces that achieve superior results. Call us today at (951) 665.8360.
Kim is the owner of EggStream Marketing: www.eggstreammarketing.com
She lives in Corona, CA and enjoys educating medical practices in the U.S. as a full time marketing consultant with EggStream Marketing.