Okay. We’re on to question number nine: I’ve tried direct mail marketing in the past and it did not produce the number of new patients that I wanted. Why was my direct mail not more successful?
Daniel Bobrow: I’d be less than honest if I said I haven’t heard this one before. I will also share that I’ve devoted entire days lecturing on this topic, so I’ll try to be as succinct as possible.
My first question would be: how many patients the doctor wanted or expected. In other words, were the expectations realistic? Often the doctor has not even thought about what constitutes a reasonable expectation. One statistic that is often bandied about is a 2% response rate. In dentistry marketing, this is just simply unrealistic. In rare instances we do see 2% , but it’s just not realistic to expect it.
The good news is: you don’t need anywhere near that kind of response rate to get a positive ROI.
And again, remember: what would you rather have? Two percent of 100, which is 2; or 1% of 10,000, which is 100? Point being, even if you could precisely pinpoint 200 of the Best Prospective Patients in your community and got a 2% response rate, you’d have 2 new patients. If you target 10,000 and get a .25% response rate, that’s 25 people calling your practice.
Another possibility aside from unrealistic expectations, which could account for an unacceptable result, is that some aspect of the tactical execution, for example, mailing design, target audience, mailing interval and frequency, graphic, or offer, or even errors in mailing, or a combination of these, could be responsible.
Dr. Frank Wolf: Right.
Daniel Bobrow: Without a thorough analysis of exactly what was done, I really couldn’t comment. I’d want to know: Who was your target? How accurate was your mailing list? How frequently did you target the same people? What was your offer? What medium did you use? Was it a postcard? A letter? Without those questions being answered, I just can’t, pardon the pun, address it.
There’s also, of course, the possibility that the program did work but, because of incomplete tracking, the practice may not have realized it. Effective tracking does not just happen by itself.
Dr. Frank Wolf: Right.
Daniel Bobrow: That’s why we’ve invested in specific tools to help ensure complete, accurate, and reliable tracking of our Client’s Response Rates, and proficiency at converting inquiries into solid patient appointments.
Dr. Frank Wolf: Let me say this about tracking. If you’re doing any marketing, and I would encourage every practitioner to market, regardless of how long they’ve been in practice, not having a tracking system to measure your marketing is just like practicing dentistry without X-ray equipment.
Daniel Bobrow: It’s like flying blind.
Dr. Frank Wolf: Totally flying blind. You have no clue as to what’s happening and it’s a big mistake, so please do tell us a little bit more about what tracking is, and how to implement it.
Daniel Bobrow: Sure. Somebody said once that 50% of all marketing is wasted, and the trick is knowing which 50%. Some marketing tactics are easier to track than others. First of all, again, part of our procedure and service is to provide a welcome packet to clients, in which is contained not only tracking sheets, that should be positioned at every telephone where the phone could be answered, or computer terminal where leads are generated by E-mail [since this writing, unique URLs, telephone tracking numbers and QR Codes have made tracking far simpler and more effective]. We also include verbiage on how to train the staff to handle the calls properly. You want to “process” as many people as you can, but when you’re talking to one person, that person has to feel like they’re the only person in the world to you.
Dr. Frank Wolf: No question.
Daniel Bobrow: Right. So we provide a tracking sheet. But other things that we recommend [and presently deliver to all ADM Clients] is a unique telephone number that we would only use on your direct mailing piece. We feel so strongly about that, we offer it at no additional cost for our clients. It’s proven to be a real eye opener for those clients who may not be convinced that the phone’s ringing because the phone can be ringing and if tracking is inadequate, as you said, it’s like flying blind. It’s unfortunate because then the practice doesn’t really know what the value is. The other thing that you can do is just every month print out the names and addresses of all new patients, provide us the addresses, and we’ll just match them up with the mailing list. If they match, it’s a strong likelihood that they came in because of the mailer. So there are ways to really get your reliability percentage up close to 100%.
Dr. Frank Wolf: I think it makes sense to track even internally derived new patients.
Daniel Bobrow: From all sources because you want to thank people. The point is that people feel if they say, “How did you hear about us?” that that’s an adequate method of tracking, and it often is not. People may say ‘Yellow Pages’ just because that’s the last place they saw you, as I mentioned earlier. Or, the Team themselves do not understand the value of tracking and so they’ll just rush through it or they’ll just write that down as the Source. They’re not deliberately doing something wrong: they just are very busy and don’t really see the importance of it.
Dr. Frank Wolf: Right.
Daniel Bobrow: The other vitally important point is that tracking calls also permits one to hear the conversations taking place between caller and team member, which is an invaluable tool for coaching team members to perfect The Art of First Impressions!
by Danny Bobrow