Direct Mail

Increase Production Through Existing Patient Lists

Patient list targeting with direct mail can deliver highly effective response rates, and studies show that brand recall is 70% higher amongst audiences exposed to campaigns. This existing audience, who have established relationships with a practice, are the most receptive to promotions and dentists can easily leverage this high-value revenue resource at reasonable rates.

Why target existing patients?  

 Research shows that a practice patient list can deliver a likelihood of purchase up to 70% versus a 5%-20% probability of purchase from a new client. One of the most effective approaches used in marketing to existing patients is direct mail. Not only is it a proven strategy that is cost-effective, but one-to-one marketing:

  1. Reinforces relationships with patients and creates a sense of value.
  2. Less expensive than targeting new customers.
  3. Converts prospects in less time than it takes with new patients.
  4. Drives up to 29% Return On Investment (ROI) 
  5. Requires less resources to get results.
  6. Keeps out-going costs low. 
  7. Helps focus services on what the practice’s market needs and wants.
  8. Patients become brand ambassadors who organically promote good service.

How to get started

Direct mailers are up to 61% effective in target reach. For dentists to make the greatest production impact, practices can optimize an existing patient list with a reactivation, recall and reschedule direct mail campaign. Take a look at how to set-up and reactivate patients with direct mail.


Take a deep dive into the data at-hand and analyze the inactive patient histories to identify common reasons for not returning.


Group profiles into audiences for specific messaging.  Example: fillings, check-ups, cleanings, etc.


Messaging that’s personalized and specifically fulfills the unmet needs of patients makes the most impact.


Campaign effectiveness needs to be measured through a set of key performance insights, or KPIs, that can be used to measure the campaign, for example: website visits, calls answered, appointments scheduled, procedures completed.


Understanding what specific component of the mailer triggered conversion is important and provides insights into where the conversion is coming from. Plan to include a conversion tracking element like a code, URL or phone number.


Design two or more versions of the direct mailer to A/B test, this defines what works the best towards the objective and allows a practice to focus marketing efforts on the strongest converting metric.

Choose a format

What gets sent, whether its a letter, catalog or package, is the difference between an appointment or not. A DMA study showed that postcards have a 50.9% success rate.

Shop around for partners

Partner with a service to discuss print volume, processing, postage, shipping, testing, scheduling drops to targeted audiences, and analysis reports on penetration.

Track success

Set up tracking on a spreadsheet or get it automated and learn how effective each campaign is quarter-to-quarter or year-on-year.

When to reactivate a patient list

Reconnecting with current patients who have not visited a practice for check-ups in the last year is an untapped pool of instant revenue. Existing lists of patients require little persuasion given that they have experience of the practice, a relationship with the dentist and are likely familiar with the front desk and supporting staff. 

Patients that do not follow up with dental check-ins have various reasons for irregular visits. Most often, causes include time-based issues, family commitments, financial restraints or a change in insurance.

The most effective means to reach, reconnect and reactivate an existing patient list is to target patients through-out the year. The best results are derived from connecting with patients every 35 – 55 days targeting your existing patient list is recommended in order to stay top-of-mind and always present in your patient’s homes. Mailers that share email updates and newsletter content have the greatest retention success.

What to include in a recall campaign

One of the easiest methods of increasing production is to plan a recall campaign that reminds patients of services or check-ups. Personalizing a reminder is proven to be the most effective means to bring patients back to a practice. Messages that are appropriate and relevant, support preventative healthcare, help build relationships, and establish long-term commitment.

Serving the right message, at the right time is key, so including focused appointment or medical details has the best results for recall. For example, reminding patients who have previously enquired about procedures like fillings that the practice is currently scheduling those types of appointments and there is a discounted rate for existing patients.

Why rescheduling campaigns are the priority

One of the greatest values of a patient list is for follow-ups, reaching out to patients that may have avoided, forgotten or refused a necessary treatment. It’s not unusual for patients to leave a dental practice without rescheduling a follow-up. A patient list efficiently puts staff in direct contact with a patient to provide a reminder of pending treatment or check-ups.

Reconnection is especially valued to remind a patient of a scheduled appointment within a few days of seeing the dentist or hygienist. 

Get expert direct mail support

Conversion Whale successfully sends over 500k mail pieces each month with a success rate of more than 50%. Find out how to leverage an existing revenue channel with targeted direct mail campaigns and contact our experts.


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