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<<Have had some luck with direct mail. A good, easy-tracking way is recency, frequency and monetary. Using your own client data, only send to those who have frequented your establishment in the last say 6mos/year, have visited at least 5 times, and spent x # dollars. Your response rate will go up to 7-10%.>>

Many thanks for your reply. I should explain that I'm a dentist, so my direct mail stuff is intended mainly to introduce my office to those who aren't yet my patients.

The sort of inhouse marketing that you refer to has to be a little bit different. One one level, I try to keep in touch with patients who, say, missed or cancelled appointments but didn't reschedule....this is a medico-legal obligation as much as anything else. I'm sure some enterprising lawyer could make a case for "abandonment" if I fail to make myself truly obnoxious in my efforts to chase patients with uncompleted work...even if it's their choice. However, I do like to make myself fairly high profile...on the principle that, if I ignore the customer, someone else'll be there to snap them up. I mail newsletters 3 times a year and also mail a birthday greetings newsletter.....a "what happened on the day you were born" type of thing. Loads of other stuff too...usually marketing ideas from other "industries" which are nicely adaptable...."Congrats. you made it" cards to people who complete large treatment plans...."Bravery" certificates to kids who did well with difficult appointments. I laminate these on the assumption that a lot of them get displayed on refridgerators by proud moms.

This is something I never even dreamed I'd be doing when I applied to dental school, but I find now that I have a lot of fun being a businesswoman and have found that the more you improve your skills in one area, it reflects itself in another.

Vivienne
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