The Most Common Reasons a Doctor/Practice Wants to Change a Card. Over time, we have cataloged four main reasons why we get a request to change a postcard design. And because none of them are based on sound direct marketing principles we’d like to explain what we’ve learned over the years.
- Boredom is the most common reason a practice submits a change request. Their reasoning is that they are tired of seeing the same card over the months or years that they’ve been mailing. They typically say something along the lines of, “We want something fresh.” or “We’ve been mailing the same card for a long time, We’d like to change things up.”
- We got a new doctor and want to highlight him/her. An internal change happens and the practice wants to “tell the world.” As exciting as this is to your office the reader doesn’t care unless you can give them a reason to care.
- We got a new marketing coordinator and she doesn’t like the direction we’ve been going in. We’d like to change up the design completely. Direct marketing is a science and this request should be carefully examined before a decision is made to change what has been working already.
- We want to get noticed. We often hear that the practice wants their logo to be at the top of a postcard, “The first thing you see!” This type of marketing is called branding and branding has a different objective than direct mail. The objective of branding is top of mind recognition. Branding works best if you are planning on mailing regularly, over a multiple-year period, say for 3, 5, 10+ years. The objective of direct mail is to get phone calls now based on proven strategies. Mixing the two strategies isn’t the best spend of your money as you now are sending a mixed message in the mail.
Direct Marketing is a Science.
We don’t base our mailings on our “personal feelings” and hope they work. We apply scientifically proven direct marketing strategies and test their validity against the mailing lists, the practice and our staff have decided fits best with the expected demographics near each practice.
Testing is required. We then mail the postcards to each list and compare the results. From there, we begin testing different elements to improve on the response from the last area or campaign. For example, we’ve learned several things from mailing millions of cards each month.
- We know that response rates are best when mailing to a never before mailed to area. For most new practices this will be their “Grand Opening” card. For existing practices mailing, for the first time, it would be their first several series of mailings.
- We know that after the initial mailings and the newness of a postcard wanes, the calls settle into an average based on the appropriateness of the card’s content and the demographic mailed to. Once this period is realized this is where we start testing best practices to improve the control established by these previous mailings. (more on testing below) The results from the mailings in this window allow us to test individual element to improve response rates.
- We know that changing a card’s design for change’s sake is not a strategy or a good use of your money. We recommend testing elements on a card to determine which elements are most effective. Before you make a change, ask yourself, “Will this change help get more calls or not?”
- We know that on average, five times as many people read the headline as read the rest of a card. It follows that if you don’t sell your services in your headline, you have wasted 80% of your marketing expenses for that mailing. As a result, we don’t recommend leading with a logo. We also recommend including a caption under every photo that tells a compelling story.
- We know that “Sarah” asks only one question when looking at a postcard, “What’s in it for me?” If we do not address her and her needs we can expect a minimum response rate. As a result, we recommend basing all content &/or changes on sound marketing best practices.
- We know professional photography helps establish a practice’s professional perception and mediocre to poor quality amateur photography changes the customer’s perception of your practice and typically results in a price-driven customer vs. a quality of service customer. As a result, we recommend hiring the best photographer you can find in your area.
- We know that the more credibility elements you can incorporate on a card the higher the level of trust you have and the less resistance there will be to making a phone call. As a result, we recommend you adhere to our credibility guidelines as closely as possible to obtain optimal results.
- We know that your uniqueness is vital to your direct mails success. The clearer you can show and describe your practices uniqueness the better your response rate will be. The clearest way to do this is via a story. Describe a scenario that people will want to become a part of.
- We know that the fewer direct mail strategies you adhere to, the less response rate you will have. Carefully weigh any changes you make to the best practice standards we test.
- Lastly, and most importantly, we know that if we don’t balance every element placed on a postcard against the standard, “Will this help Sarah make the call?” any other standard will bring fewer calls.
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