Why your advertising fails, Part 3

June 1, 2006
In the first two parts of this ongoing series, we discussed identifying your market and the product or service best suited to that market.

In the first two parts of this ongoing series, we discussed identifying your market and the product or service best suited to that market. There are many different media with which we can reach prospective patients. For example, radio, television, Internet, fax, voice blasting, and direct mail to name but a few.

Direct mail is one of the most traditional, long-standing tried and tested methods to reach a target market. It is still highly effective today and should be part of every dentist’s marketing arsenal, as well as a part of ongoing new-patient acquisition strategies.

Getting your mail opened

No matter what you put inside the envelope, how carefully you have chosen your list, or which product or service you have decided to market, if the envelope doesn’t get opened, your ad has a zero chance of success.

“A”-pile mail: A-pile mail is a term used by Gary Halbert, one of the world’s top five direct response copywriters. He used this term to describe the pieces of mail that we “move to the top of the pile,” i.e., those that get opened that moment! The rest gets relegated to a junk pile on our desks that eventually gets thrown out unopened. It is the savvy marketer’s mission to be certain every piece of mail at least gets opened. Give your marketing a fighting chance!

There are many different ways to ensure your mail gets opened. For brevity, I will share one simply, yet 100 percent effective strategy here.

The Sneak-Up

The Sneak-Up uses a “blind” envelope. The blind envelope doesn’t give recipients the opportunity to figure out who sent the mailing. If they suspect the mailing was sent by a dentist with whom they have no relationship, the vast majority of recipients will correctly assume the letter is a solicitation and immediately dispose of it - unopened - in the trash.

The Sneak-Up does not afford them that chance. The simplest way to sneak up and ensure your letter is opened is to use a white No. 10 envelope with a “live” first-class stamp. Hand address the recipient’s mailing address and your return address. In the return address, do not mention that it is from a doctor or dentist nor any company or practice name. In my case, we would either use “Tom Orent” (note the absence of “Dr.”) or we might use the name of my office manager, Mary Smith, 377 Union Ave., Framingham, MA 01702.


In this brief article, you have just been handed one of the most powerful and effective techniques in marketing. If you have followed this series to date, you now have a keen advantage and understanding of how to identify to whom you should mail, what services you should offer, and now how to get your direct mail marketing piece opened.

Stay tuned next month for more on how to double your new patient flow!

Dr. Tom Orent, the “Gems Guy,” is a founding member and past president of the New England Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. His “1000 Gems Seminars” span five countries and 48 states. He is the author of five books and hundreds of articles on practice management, TMJ, and “Extreme Customer Service.” To receive three free issues of his “Independent Dentist,” “Mastermind of the Month” CDs, and other special offers available for 21 days after this article appears in Dental Economics®, go to www.GemsInsidersCircle.com, and type “DentalEcon” in the yellow “Special Code” box at the top. You may also call (888) 880-4367 and ask for the “Free GIC Silver Test Drive.”

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