Snail mail has kind of moved to the back of the line when it comes to contacting people. For that very reason, sometimes a letter is just the perfect outreach. I was speaking with a doctor the other day and he was using traditional mail to contact potential associates to explain the benefits and job offers he had available in his practice. He wanted some feedback on the quality of the actual letters. They were well done, but what I couldn’t see was how the letter was actually packaged. If you think about it, if the recipient doesn’t actually open it and read it, it doesn’t matter what the content says or how it’s structured, you missed an opportunity just by not paying attention to the details of packaging.
Whether it is patient reactivation, looking for staff, or just a marketing piece, traditional letters can pull well for the very reason that it is unusual to get a personal letter and because of that it stands out, gets opened, and if designed right, gets read. Another plus is that it doesn’t get lost in the hundreds of emails that we get every day. It is a tangible offer or request that can be acted upon now or kept for later action.
Here are 9 important steps to maximizing the packaging to quadruple your marketing results with traditional letters.
1. Make it an envelope that you might use to write a letter to a friend, not to a patient. I like envelopes that look like a large invitation, or personal correspondence to a friend.
2. Don’t place your practice name on the return address spot, just the address. People open mail over a trashcan and if it looks like a practice ad or junk mail, it gets tossed.
3. Have it hand addressed and write “Personal” on the outside.
4. Have “Address Correction Requested” typed just below where the stamp would go, so that you can update your database list. The post office is required to return the envelope with the new address if it is not deliverable to the address on the envelope. This is a great strategy for reactivation letters or legal notices being mailed to hard to find patients.
5. Make sure that the first sentence is a real trigger to drag them into reading more. Everyone will read that first sentence. Make sure it is a grabber.
6. I would try to limit it to one page. Remember that the purpose is to get them to respond, not answer every question. Multiple pages can be overwhelming and might lower your response rate.
7. Put a “PS” at the bottom and give them your personal cell number to call rather than the office if it is for an applicant for employment. Who does that? Make it seem like a personal outreach.
8. I have actually started the letter by saying: “Bob said you might be interested so _______________”. Everyone knows a Bob, Mike, or John. It will make it sound like someone they know has asked you to contact them.
9. Use a real stamp, not metered mail. While the cost is a little more, the response will go out the roof.
Mail, by its rarity today, can make the difference in response, and the quality of the applicant or action you are requesting the receiver to make. This is how you Summit.
Michael Abernathy, DDS
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