Q: I’ve been sending out a postcard and it worked great for the first few months, but now response is dwindling. What should I do?
It’s a widely known concept in marketing that you often need to reach a person multiple times (with a promotional piece, ad, etc.) before they’ll notice and respond.
This is why it is more effective to mail to a smaller list multiple times rather a larger list once.
This effect is also observable with slogans. After hearing “Geico can save you 15% in 15 minutes” a gazillion times, it sticks in your head. And the next time you’re looking to switch auto insurance, you’ll probably remember it.
Hearing this concept of reaching an audience multiple times, people sometimes confuse this to mean they should send the exact same promotional piece over and over again. Then they keep beating it like a dead horse until there’s absolutely no response from it.
Now, I’m not saying you can only send a postcard or run an ad once and then trash it forever. Certainly if it gets a good response, you should absolutely use it again in the future.
But mix it up a little bit!
Create a few different postcards/mailers/newsletters, etc. and rotate through them.
This serves two purposes:
- You don’t bore the audience as much. Think about it—if you’ve received the exact same postcard a few weeks ago… and a few weeks before that… aren’t you going to lose interest? You start to think, “I’ve already seen this,” and ignore it. It doesn’t catch your eye anymore.
- People are different. They respond to different things. Even if you’re targeting a certain demographic and you’ve surveyed them well, these are still unique individuals who will respond to different things. Some are older or younger, edgier or more conservative, happier or sadder. Heck, the same person would probably respond to completely different things in the same day depending on how their mood changes.
(Related: The Ingredients of a Successful Postcard)
So I always recommend creating three or four different mailers, all with a different photo and different headline.
Don’t just re-word the same headline slightly—use an entirely different concept! Be bold. Grab attention. Try something off-the-wall. Get creative.
Do keep some consistency between all of the pieces, though. As with Geico’s memorable slogan, you need some repetitiveness in order to stick in someone’s mind. The audience should know immediately that all four mailings are from your office.
So keep something consistent in all your marketing efforts that’s easily recognizable. This could be:
- A distinctive logo
- A slogan
- Color scheme
- Visual style in your designs
- A similar message somewhere in the piece
- A special offer
Once you have three or four individual pieces, you can label them “A” “B” “C” and “D.”
The first month, send postcard “A” to the entire list. The second month, send a newsletter (we’ll call this mailer “B”), and so on till you’ve sent them all.
Track the number of responses (e.g. phone calls) you get from them closely. By the time you’ve sent all four versions once or twice, you’ll get an idea of which ones are working well and which ones aren’t.
If you got fifty phone calls from version “A” but only three from version “B”—guess what, “B” is going in the garbage next time. You’ve got to make a new version “B” to include in your next rotation.
Eventually the response rate on “A” will start to fade, too, and then it’s time to update that one, too.
Rotating through mailings like this allows you to keep sending the ones that are productive for you, while also keeping it fresh for the audience. And most importantly: it enables you to track your results better and become more efficient with your marketing.
Q: How often should I post on Facebook? And what should the posts be about?
Social media is built on a feeling of realness. It imitates a real life friendship. It feels like you’re getting an actual glimpse into someone’s real life—their interests, opinions, activities, news, etc.
This makes it a great opportunity for your practice to show your human side and seem “real” to the public. Nobody likes a faceless corporation.
So you’re Facebook page shouldn’t come across as a highly constructed, glossy, fake advertising piece.
That’s not to say that you can’t ever post special offers or promotional type things (in fact, you absolutely should), but you should also post from the heart and show some of the real goings-on about the office.
Here are some things you can post on Facebook:
- Photos of the staff and the office.
- News about the office.
- Special events or interesting things happening at the office.
- Genuinely interesting dental related topics—particularly surprising or attention-grabbing ones.
- Any charity work or community events you or your practice are involved with.
- Your real views, opinions, or things you would like to share (warning: I’d recommend as a dentist that you stay away from controversial topics – i.e. politics, religion, etc. Why? They have no bearing on your relationship with patients as their dentist! If you want to post like this, keep it to your personal Facebook page.
- Links or photos of things you find to be interesting, newsworthy, or funny. It’s best if these posts relate to dentistry, but it really could be about anything.
- Posts from your blog (you should have a blog as a part of your practice’s website, which I cover in my article about improving your web presence).
- Patient education. Provide a link to a piece of educational material for patients, and give it an interesting title that’ll grab someone’s attention.
- Special offers and incentives for people to come into your office. After all, you want your social media efforts to pay off by attracting new patients—so give them a reason to contact you and schedule an appointment!
And to answer your first question, there’s really no limit to how often you can post on Facebook!
It’s not like emails (which will annoy people if you’ve send them every day). Facebook spreads out posts fairly evenly.
This means you can post several times a day if you want (although that would be a little unnecessary).
More reasonable would be once a day. This is the sweet spot I would recommend if you really want to get the most out of Facebook.
I suppose the bare minimum would be once a week. If you let more than a week go by between your posts, it looks like you’re not really there.