Direct Mail: an Effective Prescription for Physician Marketing

by Maggie Neff, Senior Managing Editor - Thursday, July 18, 2013

A recent American Medical News article says direct mail still works for marketing docs—but only if the campaign is informative, highly targeted and visually compelling.

Email and direct mail campaigns are both useful assets in the healthcare marketer’s toolbox; however, each involves very different return-on-investment (ROI) metrics.

While email campaigns require little expense beyond the cost of the mailing list, deploying them doesn’t mean their recipients will open, let alone respond to, them. Direct-mail marketing entails printing and mailing costs that can vary based on scope; however, in most cases using this vehicle to deliver your message virtually guarantees contact with your target audience.

According to the results of a 2012 Direct Marketing Association survey cited by the AMN article, direct mail elicits a 4.4 percent consumer response rate, compared with a 0.12 percent response rate for email. So despite higher costs than email, studies show direct mail is more effective—and potentially more profitable.

How can you derive the most benefit from a direct mail campaign? The article states that crafting your strategy, knowing your audience, selecting the proper message, and being creative—among other best practices—contribute to campaign success.

To get the most from your direct mail investment, keep these ideas in mind:

Know thyself! Pinpoint areas in which your practice lacks patient volume and determine the potential for growth. Create strategic goals based on your practice’s weaknesses and strengths.

Research, research, research. What segments of the population that aren’t utilizing a particular service are most likely to (1) have the need and/or the desire for it and (2) be most likely to obtain it? What type of patient does medical staff find most advantageous—both financially and personally? These types of questions will help you focus the scope of your campaign and achieve a greater ROI.

What’s your story, Morning Glory? According to the AMN article, direct mail should be used as “a way to introduce patients to a physician or practice—or as a ‘call to action’ to alert potential patients to a seminar, new service, screening or promotion.”

“Gogh” the extra mile. To put it simply, make it pretty. If your direct mail piece lacks visual appeal, it's likely headed straight from mailbox to trash can. Engage the recipient by serving your message up on an attractive platter.

Read the full American Medical News article for more insightful tips.

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