Is Direct Mail Dead?

Human beings are social creatures and even though we are more connected than ever before, there is something to be said for striving to connect through more than a computer screen or TV; and direct mail is a great media for providing that connection. A connection that’s essential when it comes to retaining your patients.

Would it surprise you to know that more than 12 billion catalogs are mailed annually and investment in direct mail for advertising purposes rose by 5.8% from 2010 to 2011, which amounts to $48 billion in sales? If direct mail is dead, how do you account for the increase in mailings?

One reason that direct mail is doing so well is…trust. A leading target marketing firm found that 25% of consumers think that online information can’t be trusted; that means that 75% of people do not believe everything they read on the Internet. The same study found that 20% of consumers are more trusting of information received in the mail than by email. We all know that direct mail has a hard cost attached to it – unlike email, which is free to send – and that alone makes it more trustworthy than its web based counterpart. If you want to develop a lasting relationship between you and your patients, you’re better off stamping and mailing than you are hitting “send.”

People prefer physical mail at a very deep level, and this can be shown through how people process materials. When a photo is in someone’s hand (say, your monthly newsletter), the brain generates much more activity than if it was on the screen (meaning they might actually read it). The brain pays closer attention to the real-life materials and builds more visual and spatial connects than it does when looking at an email. Something as simple as the texture of the paper will make your direct mail more memorable and unique when compared to an email. As an added bonus, it’s impossible for your materials to end up in some spam filter or get lost in cyber space.

If that isn’t enough to convince you that direct mail is alive and well, let’s take a look at who uses direct-mail marketing. The world’s largest e-commerce event, Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition, sells its vendor spots as well as tickets to the event via a 32-page direct mail piece. Not a good enough reference for you? How about the fact that Google uses direct mail to sell its pay per click and Google Places advertising media? Now, if a company like Google, the world’s largest search engine has to supplement its marketing FOR its own marketing services with direct mail, shouldn’t you? Simply taking the time to put your marketing material in your patients’ mailboxes will not only boost your retention rates, but amp up your referral rates and effortlessly grow your practice!

 

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