How do you reach out to your patients and former patients? Chances are you utilize some form of email marketing or newsletter for your practice, and hopefully, you’re active on social media. These are the best online strategies to continue to stay at the forefront of your patients’ minds. But what about offline marketing?

TV, radio, and magazine advertising are usually very expensive. Not only that, you’re not targeting your exact patient-base. You’re casting a general net and hoping that you “reel in” some clients. This strategy can work, but the point of this article is to discuss offline ways to connect with current and former patients. The best way to do this is through direct mail marketing.

So what exactly is direct mail marketing? It’s a form of advertising that allows your practice to directly communicate with patients by mailing them flyers, postcards, brochures or letters. The key is that there is some sort of “call to action.” It can be a discounted service or a free value add with the purchase of another service. Also, it’s a good idea to make it a limited offer. This encourages people to act more quickly on the offer.

Direct mail marketing can be very effective if you’re targeting the right people. Simply buying a list of mailing address and sending out a postcard to this list will get you very minimal results. However, if you target only patients who have visited the practice in the past you’ll see a much higher ROI.

The main goal of direct mail marketing is to ignite former patients and get them to call or email the practice. However, this isn’t the only benefit. Direct mail marketing is another “touch point,” or vertical for reaching out to former patients. There is an element of branding and visibility that your practice gets even if the recipient decides not to act.

Like email marketing, direct mail marketing is about maintaining and building a relationship with your former patients. The big differences is that direct mail marketing costs more than email marketing. You have to pay for the printing and shipping fees (along with the cost to design the direct mail), whereas email marketing usually requires a flat monthly fee. That being said, studies have shown that people are much more likely to discard or trash an email than immediately throw away a postcard. This is due to the enormous growth of email marketing and the emergence of spammers.

If you’re looking into doing direct mail marketing you’ll need to know your budget to design, print and ship the piece. You’ll need to then determine what service you’d like to offer and what you profit is off that service. At this point you can calculate how many people you’ll need to bring in from the campaign in order to break even and get a return. I would not recommend a campaign if your list is under 500, simply because this is too small of a sample size. At 500 patients, it’ll likely cost about $500 for printing, labeling and shipping for a standard size postcard.

In addition to direct mail marketing pieces that market specials or deals, consider sending thank you cards or birthday cards to your patients. I would treat this type of marketing differently because you shouldn’t be expecting an immediate return. This is strictly a relationship building and branding strategy. If your practice does not send thank you or birthday cards I strongly recommend it. Alternatively, I recommend investing in a direct mail marketing campaign as well. Just make sure you have a list of at least 500 patients and that you clearly plan out the logistics before you consider this investment.

If you have any questions about direct mail marketing and how it works then contact Turbo Social Media today, or call 877-673-7096 x2.