How Well Does Direct Mail Work For Dental Practices?

A female patient sitting in a dental chair

At every marketing consultation, we are asked how well direct mail works for dental practices. Practice owners especially want to know what type of return to expect on their direct mail campaigns.

Unfortunately, the answer to this question isn’t easily answered. It’s difficult to nail down an exact response rate from a direct mail campaign. You are more likely to get a range of numbers based on previous client campaigns than an exact number.

For example, dental direct mail response rates can range from 1/4 % to more than 3%.

The reason for such a wide range is that too many variables impact marketing response rates. Below are 11 variables that can affect your practice’s direct mail marketing response rates.

  • How well-established is your practice?
  • What are your average review ratings on sites like Google?
  • Do you accept most insurance?
  • Do you offer an in-house dental plan?
  • Do you provide financing for out-of-pocket expenses?
  • Where are you located?
  • How much competition do you have?
  • Do you use the latest technology and procedures?
  • How much marketing have you done in the past?
  • Are you planning on targeting your prospects multiple times with your direct mail?
  • Do you have a solid call to action you plan on using?

As you can see, with so many variables impacting potential response rates, no one can tell you precisely what you will get.

With that in mind, it is essential you understand and differentiate between response rates and ROI (Return On Investment).

Most marketing companies talk about marketing results in terms of response rates or the number of recipients responding and contacting you. Your ROI (Return On Investment) looks at how much revenue was generated from the direct mail in the form of new patients.

Response rates are used on the front end because it’s a much better performance indicator of your direct mail marketing campaign. Your ROI is also important but cannot be determined until you acquire the new patients and can determine how much revenue each has generated.

Your challenge is accurately tracking your practice’s direct mail marketing response rates, which can be very difficult. Think about this scenario, a new prospective patient receives a direct mail piece and calls your practice to inquire about becoming a new patient.

If, for some reason, you can’t schedule this new patient in a time frame that was acceptable to them, you don’t accept their insurance, or your front office staff didn’t handle the call properly, etc., and that prospective patient calling does not convert to a new patient appointment, you will likely never have known that the mailer worked in these instances.

Further, call tracking will not capture this with accuracy as many new prospective patients who receive your direct mail will go to Google or your website to learn more about your practice and call from the number online, in turn losing your ability to track the call.

So, what should you do?

Utilizing match-back reporting is the very best tool to use. This is done by matching your new patient’s address to the mailing file used to send out your direct mail marketing. Although not a full report of responses, matching provides you with the most insight by showing you all the new patients you acquired who also received your direct mail marketing.

Tracking is a challenge for many reasons and always will be. With that said, your focus should be on thoroughly vetting and selecting the best direct mail partner you can find who will set your direct mail campaigns up for success. We understand that choosing the right direct mail partner isn’t easy. The key is to know all the right questions to ask. To help you in this process and to learn how to strategically select the best direct mail partner, check out the article How to Choose the Right Direct Mail Marketing Partner for Your Dental Practice…Click to read more in a new tab….

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About the Author

Headshot of Josh Davis

Josh Davis is a sales professional, marketer, and direct mail marketing expert.

He provides high-level sales and marketing expertise to help businesses grow with direct mail. With more than 12 years of experience in the industry, he understands the needs of small businesses, franchise networks, and corporate entities.

Josh is the Chief Revenue Officer for Mail Shark, a national direct marketing company and one of Inc. 5000’s fastest-growing companies nine years in a row.

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