A few tips for you, and a few words of caution…
There was a discussion recently in our private client forum on whether it’s worth doing leaflet drops in your local area.
In my experience, people usually only ask that question when they are low on bookings and short on ideas, and that’s when costly mistakes are made. Don’t get me wrong, direct mail is an important part of the marketing mix, but I rarely see it deployed strategically.
If you’re going to do it, the single biggest piece of advice I can give you is choose your audience carefully.
One of the reasons business owners struggle with direct mail is they are indiscriminate in whom they send the pieces too. More often than not, they’ll simply blast a geographical area with little regard to who actually lives there.
And sometimes it’s not obvious you’re targeting the wrong market. There’s a famous example of a carpet cleaning company that went bust after persistently targeting an area that they later discovered was mainly rental properties (tenants rarely pay to have their carpets cleaned)
Your best and most profitable audience is always going to be your existing patients. It’s very easy to think of reasons to write to them, such as a newsletter every month, special offers, birthdays (yours and theirs), anniversaries, holidays, etc.
As part of my series of Summer Marketing and Profit-Boosting Strategies, here are a few ideas to get you started:
1. Postcards – If you’re looking for an easy, cheap, quick way to keep in your patients’ minds, send them a postcard with a compelling offer. If you’re looking for an easy, cheap, quick way to bring in some serious additional revenue, spend a few hours writing 12 postcards – one for each month of the year.
2. Write to ten ‘lapsed’ patients – Clear one hour off your schedule and write a short letter to ten patients you haven’t seen for a while. Don’t try to sell them anything. Tell them you’re just writing to thank them for their custom and see how they are.
Expect them to be pleasantly surprised and maybe even stunned. Expect at least two of the ten to call and book a consultation with you (that figure may be as high as eight or nine)
3. Send your highest-spending patients an unexpected gift – Just because you can.
4. Write a one-page letter with an irresistible offer – It’s simple maths. If you look at how much it costs to mail a compelling offer to either your entire patient list, or at least your best patients – and compare that with the income it generates, it should nearly always be profitable.
Often the best approach is a simple, one-page letter. Make an offer that’s only for your patients and rewards them for their loyalty. For added zest, add a sprinkle of an email to the same people two or three days later to maximise response rates.
5. Ask yourself this question……What’s the one piece of knowledge or expertise you have that your patients would be most interested to know about right now? It could be some knowledge that saves them money, makes their life easier or maybe just makes them smile. Once you’ve decided, write a personal letter and send it to your favourite patients.
6. Referrals – Remember that the goldmine that exists in the relationship you have with your patients is not just about them re-booking with you. If each patient recommended you and brought in two new patients, you would probably never have to do any traditional marketing again.
So write a letter asking for referrals. Trust me, you’ll get some.
7. Birthdays – It can be a slight hassle setting up a way for your patients to tell you their birthdays. It’s probably a slight hassle to set up a little system to send them birthday cards. But it’s one of the nicest things you can do for your patients and it’s certainly one of the best ways to create extraordinary relationships with them.
8. Plan ahead – If you really ‘get’ the significance of what we’re looking at here and take action on these points, you’ll be way ahead of the competition. But if you really want to excel, create a one year plan that covers and implements how you’re going to communicate to your patients over the next year.
Whether it takes you a couple of hours or a week to do this, it will be one of the most profitable business activities you engage in this year. Ideally, create a one year plan that can roll on and duplicate itself every year.
Those tips represent the easiest way I know to grow both your business and your patient relationships using direct mail.
Let me know how you get on.
PS…perhaps you are great at coming up with ideas, but not at aligning all of them into a 12 month plan where everything you do strategically leads to one singular, elegant path that grows your patient base?
That’s what we do with all members of our Six Figure Breakthrough Programme.
We can help you map out that plan as we have for them.