Let's be direct, Direct Mail still works!

Some of you reading this might not be old enough to remember the golden age of direct mail at the turn of the century, when it seemed that every business and brand had something to send through your letterbox. And whilst direct mail certainly was (and is) effective, consumers got just a little bit fed up of seeing so much of it.The advance of digital communications, and a desire to reduce waste, saw marketers turn their attention to emails, texts and social media, and door drops fell out of favour. Shame, because direct mail still delivers some of the best Return on Investments (£14 for every £1 spend, according to PostGrid) and has good response rates (9% on average, according to the Data and Marketing Association).
Perhaps the best thing about direct mailing potential clients is that it is shown to drive action. So if your practice is new in town, dropping leaflets through doors will get you lots of awareness and get your practice ethos in front of lots of potential clients. And if you’re not new in town, many local pet owners will be, or may have only just got pets, or may be disillusioned with their current practice where they see a different vet every time – there will always be people looking for a change.
Data and Marketing Association research shows that after reading the direct mail that’s popped through their doors, a huge majority of consumers pick up their phones and tablets and do something:
  • 92% have been driven to online or digital activity
  • 87% have been influenced to make online purchases
  • 86% have connected with a business online
  • 54% have engaged in social media
  • 43% have downloaded something
Here at Onswitch we don’t do direct mail, so we have no skin in this particular game. What we do do, is help lovely practices like yours understand the importance of client communication that’s warm and understanding. Trust and loyalty are built when you get what your clients want, and you deliver it consistently well every time. When you think about it, veterinary care is actually mostly about people rather than animals. The best patient outcomes happen when we work with their owners to educate and share responsibility for their beloved pets’ wellbeing and happiness.
People choose which practice to register with, to frequent, to recommend. And they do so on the basis of the care that they receive. Surgical skills and proficiency are assumed to be the same everywhere, what differentiates you from the other practices in town is your team, your approach. And this is where direct mail can really bring your practice ethos to life.
Banging out leaflets that say the same as everyone else won’t work. Targeted mailings to households most likely to contain pets (so not high rise flats and rentals) within a ten-minute drivetime of your practice, will. These mailings should speak in the same language as your team, demonstrate the care and commitment that everyone at your practice is passionate about. Latest PFMA data finds that 31% of households have a dog and 26% have a cat, so one in three of every letterbox your communications go through will find a potential client.
Onswitch’s top tips for effective direct mail
  1. Know your audience – don’t blanket mail the whole city, target areas within a ten-minute drive where there are high proportions of families and owner-occupied housing
  2. Be clear with your message – use the same colours, fonts and logos as your practice branding, and talk about how you do things, not the fancy kit you have. Show potential clients what’s unique and special about you
  3. Combine direct mail drops with social media campaigns sharing the same messages and focus. So a door drop one month, with Facebook and Instagram activity the next, followed by a further door drop in month three is ideal
In today’s digital age it’s tempting to do everything online. But with fewer things dropping through our letterboxes, professionally-produced and managed mailings with sharp design and clear messaging are sure to stand out. Which means your practice stands out too.