How to Use Direct Mail to Increase Your Dental Marketing Success (and Bottom Line)

Today’s world of Dental Marketing can be challenging.

Every time you turn your head, there’s some new “social hype networking Face-gram-insta-snap… app” that you are required to master or “miss out on acquiring new dental patients”.

First of all, none of this is true.

So calm down, and let’s talk about what WILL work for your dental marketing campaign.

In this article, we’re going to break down the power of using a medium most dentists and medical practices tend to forget or use incorrectly.

The marketing we’re referring to is the “not-so-trendy” but “oh-so-VERY-effective” Direct Mail campaign (with a sexy twist).


FACT: Dental Marketing Direct Mail is NOT Dead.

In fact, dentist mailing campaigns are very much alive and well.

And for most dental marketers, it’s their best kept secret.


Because direct mail is often overshadowed by the trendy and vibrant advent of “social media/digital marketing“.


Now, social media marketing components do have their place in your marketing mechanism.

But to fully engage your leads and convert them into dental patients, you must leverage ALL of the right mechanisms into one cohesive marketing machine.

The most EFFECTIVE way to do this is with direct mail.

Let me show you how…


Dentist Marketing Direct Mail Breakdown

Watch the video below and read the step-by-step breakdown to learn how your dental practice can significantly increase it’s bottom line with a simple and cost effective direct mail campaign solution.

(video source: ROI Case Study – Why Direct Mail is still king)

The Truth About “Return On Investment” (ROI)

ROI is really just “money math”. You’ve got to know your numbers to know what your return on investment is or will be.

Let’s do this together by breaking down a successful dental practice post card marketing campaign.


The $12,000 ROI Case Study

A very successful dental client sent out 3,000 postcards.

post card dental car partients example

These post carts cost her $0.50 cents a piece.

So, in total: ($0.50/ post cards) + (3,000 post cards) = a $1,500 investment.

02 ROI_for_post_card_dental_practice_new_patient_direct_mail_marketing copy

That’s $1,500 for the total investment of sending these dental marketing post cards out via direct mail.


Out of the 3,000 post cards, the client received 100 phone call responses from this single direct mail campaign.

03- 100 phone calls received for dental practice post card case study new patients direct mail copy


What is a “Successful” Direct Mail Response Rate?

You might be thinking to yourself… “Okay, so what? 20 responses from 3,000 mailers? Is that good or bad?”

Well, it all depends on what your ROI is in the long run.

Let’s see how it breaks down…

Converting Responses into Customers

In this case study, the 100 “potential patient” responses called our client’s dental office.

20 of these respondents scheduled an appointment and ended up walking into the office as a result of the direct mail marketing post card.

04 dental practice direct mail campaign- 20 appointment roi return on investment thru a post card


Of those 20 responses, 10 of them purchased the special offer mentioned in the dental marketing mail piece!


Money Results From the Dental Practice Direct Mail Campaign

What does “10 new customers” mean to this dental office?

The value of a single customer purchase for this dental practice is $1,200.

So, 10 new customers made this dental practice $12,000 from a single direct mailing campaign.

12000 return on investment for dental practice with direct mail marketing for post card atlanta georgia case study



In other words… our client was able to make a tiny $ 1,500 investment in a direct mail post card campaign and turn it into $12,000 OF NEW BUSINESS!


Analyzing Your Return on Investment (ROI)

Now that you understand the amount made, let’s break down the TRUE cost of this campaign and the cost of goods sold to establish the FINAL RETURN ON INVESTMENT for this dental practice using direct mail marketing.

The cost of goods sold (COGS) for this dental package is 40% of $1,200.
Said another way; the cost to deliver the procedure is $480 per customer.


This leaves the dental practice with a 60% profit margin. (i.e. $720 per new customer.)

($1,200) Gross Profits per customer
– ($480) COGS
$720 Profit per Customer


And if we take our $720 profit per patient and multiply it by 10 new patients…
We get a Profit of $7,200!

Now, let’s take that $7,200 and subtract the initial direct mail investment of $1,500.

($7200) Profit 
– ($1,500) Direct Mail Investment




In other words, this dental office successfully made $3.50 for every $1 they invested on their direct mail post card marketing campaign!




You don’t have to be a math whiz to know how amazing these results are for your dental practice.


Lifetime Value of a Dental Patient

This doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the lifetime value that the dental practice can make over and over from these 10 new those patients.

Plus the added benefit of “word of mouth” referrals.

All from one simple and cost effective direct mail dental marketing campaign.


Now Ask Yourself This Question:

“How much money are you going to spend to get people to walk through the front doors of your practice?”

We have only talked about a 3:1 ROI.

But remember, the return on investment continues after they walk through the front doors.

And don’t forget that we still have 80 other people who raised their hand and called to inquire about more information from the post card!

Only 20 walked through the front door. Those other 80 people are still fair game.

So how do you entice them to become patients?


The Secret Art of “The Follow-up”

The dental practice in our case study took it a step further.

They sent a follow up direct mail campaign.

Which means they sent out a 2nd post card to all of the 80 people who inquired, but did not book any appointments.

They did this to increase the customer’s touch points with the dental practice and therefore stay “top-of-mind”.

branding touch point matrix for dental marketing practice direct mail marketing

In this follow-up, the dental practice added a clever tactic of stating “FINAL OFFER” on the post card.

By using this “FINAL OFFER” approach, the dental office received 50% more responses from the 80 that didn’t walk through the front door the first time!


Because these people were already interested, they just hadn’t taken action.

From this case study, it’s clear that ROI is an ONGOING MEASUREMENT.

Used effectively, it has the power to triple or quadruple your marketing dollars in less than 30 days.

Can you think of ANY other business investment that can multiply your money in less time?


But…What About Social Media Marketing/Advertising?

Ah, yes… back to that stubborn elephant in the room…

Here’s the ugly little truth about social media marketing/ PPC advertising:

That “targeted online marketing” that everyone seems to worship may be slightly cheaper at face value…
(i.e.- pay per click leads/ Facebook wall video streams, promoted Tweets, etc.)

However, 3 factors make this medium a double edged sword.

Here are the 3 things to watch out for with social media ads:

  1. Your “quality” of Cold Online Leads Can be Random and Dangerous
    You might attract the type of patients you REALLY don’t want. The ones who are never satisfied, only come for the discount, and expect you to move mountains for them, their friends, and their family members.
  2. Wasted Marketing Dollars
    Usually from random people clicking on your ads by accident and never taking action on your offer.
    (Your competitors could also click on your ads too just to drain your PPC budget. We’ve seen it happen…)
  3. Over-stimulation From Other Advertisements
    You’ve experienced this yourself when looking for a good deal on flights, hotels, a gift on Amazon, etc.
    When prospects are overwhelmed, they usually experience “decision fatigue”. If this occurs, your message ends up never reaching their conscious awareness. And they may (subconsciously) resent you for it.

These 3 reasons (among many others) make online advertising dollars potentially less effective for your dental marketing patient acquisition.


Okay, BUT… What If I HAVE TO Use Social Medial Marketing…

If you MUST use social media marketing, there’s a little known trick to do it effectively.

Here’s the trick:
Start your ENTIRE campaign with a direct mail campaign FIRST.


What?! Why?

Because using direct mail BEFORE launching an online marketing campaign will let you zero in on your target customer like a marketing sniper rifle that ONLY YOU HAVE ACCESS TO.

This gives your dental practice absolute leverage… because 99% of your industry (and direct competitors) are NOT doing this.

In every industry we’ve worked with, the most successful companies are using both methods of marketing to DOMINATE their competition.

Here’s How it Works:

If you start using direct mail as the “hand raising” process, you can systematically guide these mail leads to visit your website and collect more information.

This allows you to “screen” your prospect and make sure they are TRULY QUALIFIED to do business with your dental practice.

From there, you can launch your online ads and use the power of “retargeting” to show these ads ONLY to the prospects who visited your website through your direct mail campaign.

“Integrated Marketing”

The process we just described (combining “direct mail” + “social medial ads”) is called Integrated Marketing“.

Here’s what the Integrated Marketing process looks like:

  1. Send out a targeted mailer (using MailWorks or your favorite direct mail house).
  2. Get interested prospects to visit your website with a special website address on the mailer (P-URL).
  3. Capture their information on your website
  4. Follow up with the qualified leads you capture online (via phone or email)
  5. Measure your website’s analytics (demographics, age group, market segments)
  6. Use digital marketing/social media “retargeting” to continue advertising ONLY to the people who visit your website from the direct mail campaign
  7. Send ongoing direct mail pieces to those qualified leads that gave their information on your site but DID NOT buy


That’s the basic framework for a successful online marketing campaign.


dental marketing direct mail social media and integrated marketing map for communcating with dental prospect customers


Using this Integrated Marketing approach ensures that you don’t waste tons of money on random/ crappy online clicks to your website or bad patients booking appointments to your dental office.


Your Next Actions

So, now that you know what to do and what NOT do in your dental marketing…

HOW can you start taking advantage of direct mail?

For starters, you could visit the MailWorks Contact page (that’s us!) to get a 100% free direct mail custom quote.

You don’t HAVE to hire us, but if you do pursue direct mail or integrated marketing, just make sure the company you choose to work with has experience in your industry.

Make sure to ask them for “examples of previous successful campaigns” or a list of “case studies” like the one we talked about in this post.


Got Marketing Questions for Your Dental Practice?

Feel free to leave a comment below. We’re always here to help out!