Promotional flyers and coupons are growing in usage, and have been increasingly popular with the public for more than a century. On the plus-side, done right, they often work well in the healthcare marketing mix, but it's easy to make mistakes. Here are some of the classic pitfalls to avoid and how to make the humble coupon into a revenue-producing annuity.
Q. Want to clear a room full of doctors quickly?
A. Tell them you are going to put their faces on coupons (or billboards).
To a large extent, they'd be right to leave the room. Coupons aren't right for everyone.
However, a secret few doctors will tell you is that coupons can work extremely well for retail, consumer direct services. What's more, we often advertise the business or service, not the doctor. But, we are getting ahead of ourselves.
Advertising Coupons and Flyers have been around since C.W. Post first included a penny-off voucher with Grape-nuts cereal, and a druggist used handwritten notes offering a free sample of his new product, Coca-Cola.
Safe to say...both products have done reasonably well in the hundred-plus years since. And the humble coupon—which is rarely handwritten these days—remains one of the most effective forms of direct response advertising.
Coupons and flyers (as well as many other forms of direct mail) are a serious option for some healthcare marketing plans. Valpak, Valassis, PennySaver, Clipper Magazine, and Money Mailer are among the familiar names. You can also run inserts in the local newspaper.
The cost is affordable, because printing and mailing is often shared among several advertisers. Most mailing service companies know how to closely target audience groups, usually by neighborhood or ZIP Code. Plus, it's easy to test, track and measure results.
What's more, coupons usage is up as consumers are increasingly concerned about value and well-considered spending.
While they aren't for everyone, coupons and flyers can be highly effective if used in smart ways. For example, sometimes we'll advise a plastic surgeon to open a small medi-spa, and then promote non-scary services via a coupon. The idea is not so much to generate revenue from medi-spa services, but build a low cost, long-term feeder for surgeries.
Thus, patients will take "baby steps" into the practice for something non-threatening like Botox, but while they are there ask about liposuction.
So coupons can work, but only if they're done right. The down-side is...it's easy to make mistakes. To help keep you out of trouble, here are some of the classic problems that traditionally transform coupons from marketing high-flyers into a muddled mess. (And what to do instead.)
The primary objective of direct response advertising is to get the attention of a defined and desired target audience, and to inspire an immediate response. It sounds easier than it is, and you're welcome to call us for help in planning and executing an external marketing effort.
Once you have isolated what works best, you may have designed an annuity which will continue to payoff for a long time.