“Direct Mail (Response) Marketing”
This marketing method has proven to be the
and most productive method for
recruitment of new
patients second only to the effectiveness of having
referral system in place.
No one should have to tell you that the flow of new patients joining your
medical practice is the life-blood of your medical practice. New patients
are the perpetual and only money source you have in private medical
Your focus on attracting new patients and maintaining
the loyalty of
your present patients are the only means
for you to afford to keep
your practice afloat, let alone to enable you to afford to meet all your
Regardless of your personal view about the
assimilation of money as a
primary goal and necessity of your medical practice, you really don’t have
another alternative if you intend to remain in private practice. So fix that
income factor in your mind right from the
Doing that is no more difficult than to try to explain
to your spouse
that you are not making enough income from your practice to keep your
medical office open. Believe
me, I’ve been there and done that.
The key is to learn to work “on” your practice, not “in”
Whatever happens to your practice and income depends on how well you can
work “on” your practice while practicing “in” your practice. The idea being
that you should spend enough time working on your practice to ensure that it
is managed in a profitable
manner and your decisions about what you do in
your practice are seasoned with diligence and
Stupidity is eliminated with knowledge. If you are caught
in a snare of
regretful decision-making, you must always remember that more of the right
knowledge is required to escape… you already know that… but you
that you can handle it yourself anyway… and
continue to lose.
Problems associated with marketing failure
The notion that marketing is just a matter of putting
a proposition or
offer in the face of enough people,
enough times, that the payoff will be
what you want to occur. This myth is perpetuated by those
Marketing to be effective regardless of the method
used requires the
You must have a product or service that is highly desirable, easily
obtained, and affordable to most people. Physicians sell their services.
They better be good or no one will pay
You must find, create, influence, and attract the kind of customers who
have the highest potential to be interested in what you are selling and most
likely to buy from you.
Finding a targeted patient for your practice
should be more than
a scattered research
process. Almost all medical patients already have
doctor, so it means that you either need to get
to those who don’t have a
doctor of your
category (people moving into town) or patients who are ready
to change to a different doctor for some reason.
You can go to a
in town that can define the exact patient you are looking for,
---earn over $60K per year
---own a boat or plane
---are male or female
---subscribe to certain magazines
---buy products like yours
race cars or are new in town
… and will furnish you a list of those people
along with their office or home address, phone
numbers, zip code, email address and more.
Cost varies from broker to broker but often will
cost you about $500 per 5,000 names you can
use only once.
No matter what method you use to reach
potential patients, it’s necessary to
communicate with them in a special way to let them know you are
available to provide them healthcare.
Patients may already be receiving such
letters, emails, etc. Whatever
you use to communicate, they must be persuaded to take some action. To
persuade patients, verbally or vocally, you must know how to do it. That
is normally managed by copywriters who know what to say and how to say
it to persuade a patient to take action on
You communicate with them because you want something from them. That is your
The offer you propose to a patient can be by phone,
online, newsletters, etc. Most patients hate a “cold call”
to them that
requires a response at that moment. Most people prefer to receive a letter
describing the benefits and advantages of your offer… then make a decision
to take action you
The offer you make to a potential patient
must be worth their time to
even consider. It means that not only does your offer have to
stand out from
the rest, but also must have a value that the patient wants or needs or in
the near future.
Any offer being made must provide as many means
as possible for the
potential patient to reach your office… phone #, email address,
fax #, or
return post card. The fewer ways for them to use, the lower the response
You should specify the one you prefer, but a
phone call to your office
is the best because they can be given the info they need to decide about
joining your practice and at the same time make the appointment. A phone
call to your office indicates a couple of important things…
potential patient has already decided what they want
to do, usually that is to join your practice. The
only reason they might not is how well the office
staffer handles the call… provided positive info,
doesn’t rush the call, is very friendly and helpful
no matter how chaotic it
is that day.
The opposite response to the caller is immediate loss of a
new patient. If the story spreads, maybe a loss of even more.
2. Most potential patients prior to calling you have already sought advice
from family, friends, and neighbors about what kind person you are with
your patients. It’s rarely about your medical skills or knowledge, but usually
about how you treat patients and whether you can be trusted...
a marker of your reputation.
For physicians the usual and most effective method for contacting a
potential new patient is either email or postal mail piece. Of the
email is the least effective because patients are less likely to open
and read the message even though emails are a free means of
Direct mail is more expensive, but much
more effective for drawing in new
patients. As a reminder, direct mail is anything you send to someone that
is carried through the U.S. Postal Service and lands in their mailbox.
It’s one thing to send out a message but a whole different issue getting the
addressee to open the mail and read it.
Most email is never opened or read because
the subject line they see on
the screen does not contain the elements that persuades them that
might be something important, usable, or of value to them in some way.
Unless you create a subject line that draws curiosity,
benefits, or is interpreted
to be important to the recipient, it won’t be
opened. People rarely go back to read an email they saved to read later.
Direct mail has similar characteristics. When you pull a
pile of mail
out of your mailbox, you know that you will sort through it over the
wastebasket and select the mail piece you are interested in opening. So what
interesting or you curious about each of those. Over 50 percent of
mail is neither opened
About 5 to 15% open rate is reasonable and expected. But
everyone who gets your offer to open and read
The more you do to make the envelope exciting, different from all the rest,
or somehow enticing the more chance you have to gain a new patient. When you
get around a 50% open rate
for your mail, you celebrate. Then you continue
to re-use a copy of that in all of your mail sent
out after that.
Just think about the mail and envelopes you select out of
your pile to
open and read and why you choose certain ones and not others. There
tricks to the trade that induce
recipients to open mail that are well known
among marketers. You have to discover them by reading information about
Advantages that direct mail has over email
Direct mail offers many more customizable options for the sender than
email offers. These options include
nearly all of the necessary things that
cause recipients to open the mail. Some common
almost everyone will open a piece of mail that has a lump of something
inside, even if
the rest of the information on the envelope is something
that would have led you to throw it away immediately otherwise.
Curiosity may have killed
the cat, but for people it
to open the mail.
a real stamp placed on the corner of the
envelope at a crooked angle means
that a person took the time to do it,
therefore it become a personal message, not a commercial one. When you
perceive it as personal you are more
likely to open it.
name and address…
it makes it
more personal than a typed or stamped address and creates the
feeling that it is a personal message,
include designs, logos, or colors…
makes one think of a holiday, birthday, or anniversary, all good emotions,
therefore, the mail should be opened. It differentiates the mail from others
that are plain white envelopes. Most people open these first.
hand-drawn messages, arrows, and
words that create urgency and increase
value, “only this once”, “price going up”, “only 4 left”, “lifetime value”,
“usable forever”, etc. Photos on envelopes
are not recommended. They use up space and don’t
help sell anything. The decoration or images on the stamps don’t help.
tends to make one believe that it contains more value, more information, and
more benefits. Often used to send certificates for
something simple with
your name on it.
Some leave it off, or put it on the back of the envelope because on
the front of
the envelope it instantly tells the recipient who
sent it and
you quickly dump it. Without a return address you may go ahead and open the
envelope just to find out who it’s from knowing you may read
it while you
have it open.
Occasionally only the street, city, zips are on
the front of the
envelope and no name mentioned. Most people don’t remember who is at what
address and end up opening the envelope to see
who sent it.
Although one can track both email and direct mail
and use the
statistics reported to judge the effectiveness of
your mail campaign and
make it even more effective,
direct mail has the advantage.
Email is usually
read and deleted or saved somewhere and never read later. Direct mail is a
piece of information you hold, feel, and touch and it connects with the mind
of the recipient better and continues in the conscious mind much longer.
Direct mail is apt to be saved in an easily visible
place and may be
left laying around in plain sight for days, all
the while catching the
person’s attention repeatedly.
Direct Mail marketing for Physicians
Most physicians in private medical practice today are
well aware that
they are practicing medicine in an environment where they either must learn
their practice to remain solvent in their business or be forced
into an environment of employee-ship.
Physicians all tend to be independent thinkers; independent
decision-makers, independent medical care providers, and sure as hell don’t
want to give that up.
Medical patients are beginning to recognize the
consequences of what
government control of healthcare
is causing in healthcare. Patients see the
dire effects that result from restricted fees, increased frustration, and
lack of availability of healthcare when physicians are
being forced into
methods of medical practice that complicate their own medical care.
These circumstances create even more serious
effects on medical
doctors personally than the media cares to explore. It’s like a large group
of people standing breathlessly quiet while watching an out-of-control
fire burn it to the ground and no one can do
That image remains in my mind because I watched
and felt that happen to
the home of a classmate of mine
in grade school when I was about 9 years
Our very small town in western Pennsylvania of about 300 people living in
relative poverty under the WWII defensive efforts, no fire
30 miles, volunteer firemen had to be called in from home
middle of the night, often too late to do anything about the fire, was how
we lived then. Thankfully, that night no one was injured.
Personal effects suffered by medical doctors that
result from a
constant and increasing demand on doctors
to comply are rarely discussed
outside of medical circles.
Their true disgust, disappointment, and
find a way to protect themselves and their practice from
political decisions being made today concerning healthcare is repressed
mentally. No one wants to give
up the ship that took so much to build.
So what can physicians do under these increasing demands?
The one thing that you can do for your own medical practice is learn
market it. By simply reading a
book or two on “direct marketing” that I
my website and you will pick up enough knowledge to do direct
marketing yourself. It would be far better to
delegate your most intelligent
and inspired employee to
do it all for you
if you have one of that
You will have to the same knowledge about
because it is the only way for you to be sure it
is being done properly,
efficiently, and profitably while
you oversee the employees assigned to do
If you are not of the temperament to do it all yourself
and have no employee that qualifies, then hire a person who
knowledgeable about marketing… pay
them well because it will
be worth it.
You will recognize
that by creating a method to measure
the success or
This is the best thing you can do
today to at least get started in
a marketing effort. Your income depends on
more new patients, so any effort
for getting more of them
is smart. Your mental barrier to suddenly learn
about and do marketing will quickly be removed once you are in the groove of
learning and doing it.
Remember, your best resource for new
patients are other
doctors who refer them to you. So having a robust system for obtaining more
referred patients from other doctors is critical to do. (See my article on
my site about how to set up an elite doctor referral system.)
In marketing the hardest thing to do is to be
patient about seeing big
marketing responses. It may take 3 to 6 months to see the good results from
efforts. You will need a setup to record
Find a “List” broker for direct mail---
Decide how much money you have that you
to use in marketing your practice
monthly. Stick to your
Pick, choose, and buy the list-- choose
focus on who you
patients. Then buy a list of
10,000 to use.
Expect to get 3 to 5
Record details of every response in a journal…
your PC or
on paper. Many call for information only but
often call back for an
appointment. By a potential patient
responding means you legally can
communicate with them
using the info they gave you personally. It
send them emails if you have
Send out another 10,000 direct mail packets
and different List of
ever 2 to 4 weeks
for the next year… put an
into each letter, like
openers, book marks, key
Use the USPS bulk mailing discounts.
Using postcards with your design and message
is another approach to
your list. Don’t
send these out if
you are going to use real
If you are short of money,
use postcards instead of letters.
If you have questions or need more help then
702-236-6337 --no charge for
the first call.
These are practical things to do that
help you for sure. Like
everything, it requires both money and your time to
do it properly.