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Direct Mail Is NOT Dead: 5 Reasons It Still Works for Healthcare

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

woman reads mail from mailboxDirect mail is not dead.

At a time when email inboxes are overflowing, how else can you reach prospective patients in your area without overwhelming them?

In fact, a piece of healthcare-related mail can be a nice break from the screen, a physical reminder that a local specialist, practice, or hospital is here to offer care whenever you need it. We’ve got 5 fantastic reasons to mail to your community in today’s guide.

Healthcare mail guidelines to keep in mind

Obviously, in creating any advertisement for your business, you should heed the guidelines of your accrediting body. If your board prohibits certain phrases or offer types, avoid these and anything else that could put your reputation at risk.

Related: Don’t Let Your Copywriting Cost You

Beyond that, general guidelines for mail include knowing your audience, creating an appealing offer, and keeping your brand memorable. Once you’ve done this, there are so many reasons to get your brand in the hands of local patients.

1. There’s a lot less mail in inboxes today

Many people believe traditional mail advertising is nearly dead—in part because they’ve noticed the dwindling volume in their own mailboxes. But that’s a fact that actually works in your favor.

We’ve been recommending direct mail more and more to healthcare businesses in part because there is so much less of it. Mailboxes are no longer occupied by fliers from the newspaper (due to cutbacks) and there are fewer paper bills thanks to online billing.

People are typically far more overwhelmed by their email inboxes than the mailbox at home. Your piece of mail stands out—especially if you’ve got a great offer—and this is something we’ve been able to prove time and time again.

2. You can personalize and target mail to your audience

If you make an appealing offer and have qualified your target audience, you can expect a positive response. With direct mail, we can often drill down on qualified households before beginning a campaign. For example, you can specifically target households with women occupants who are 40+.

In addition, you’re able to personalize a piece of mail to improve the potential response. You may be able to get the first name of the resident you’re trying to target, but if not you can always use a last name, as in “Ms. Smith.”

3. Direct mail is a physical reminder of your healthcare business

We’ve seen some of the best long-term results from mailers that offer some sort of physical reminder recipients can save and retain until they need it.

For example, a mailer for an urgent care facility may include a magnet that stays on the refrigerator for weeks, months, or a year before someone has an urgent need and remembers the number on the fridge. Because we use unique tracking numbers in many of our direct mail campaigns, we can see that this happens often.

Even if you don’t include a magnet, any well-thought-out mailer is an excellent touchpoint with your brand. Holding a personalized postcard in your hand is a unique experience today. While digital ads are highly visual, interacting with a piece of mail is a tactile engagement that can improve brand recognition.

4. Direct mail works hand-in-hand with other marketing strategies

In many cases, direct mail can supplement your other forms of marketing—or vice versa. It’s not at all uncommon for our clients to hear things like, “I got your postcard in the mail, but I also hear your ads on the radio all the time.”

In general, the more touchpoints you have to an individual, the more chances you have to get that person as a new patient. Patients interact with your brand in many ways, and it's rarely a good idea to have one type of ad running. The key is to strategically allocate your budget so prospective patients hear the right message at the right time.

5. We’ve seen fantastic results from direct mail campaigns

Of course, you’re probably most concerned about one thing: results. We’ve seen some fantastic returns on investment from many of our direct mail campaigns.

But it all hinges on both strategy and creativity. We've seen the best results from campaigns that meet one or more of the following guidelines:

  1. Includes an offer with the word “free” (such as a free vein screening)
  2. Announces a new location
  3. Includes an object that takes up physical space in the home—like a magnet

In many of these cases we were able to track costs per inquiry of less than $200. Many of these inquiries are highly qualified and are extremely likely to become new patients.

So find the right offer, target your key demographics, measure your results, and work with the right healthcare marketing agency to see for yourself that direct mail is far from death's door.

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