Eye Clinic Boosts Direct Mail With Online Creative

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An eye clinic and surgery center is targeting prospective patients better through direct mail and print ads using an online ad creation service for doctors and dentists.

The Mann Eye Institute and Laser Center, which has six offices throughout the Texas Gulf Coast, has used PatientBuilder.com, a service offered by Medical Consulting Group, Springfield, MO, for six months. PatientBuilder.com segments templates for brochures, direct mail postcards, print ads, newsletters, posters and other materials for medical offices by practice, including ophthalmology, optometry, plastic surgery, dermatology and dental.

For ophthalmology offices, for example, PatientBuilder.com has a template with the latest information on LASIK vision correction, cataract correction and other topics. Doctors' offices customize materials to their locations and services.

"A lot of ophthalmology practices have offices in smaller towns. Different locations require a different marketing tool," said Joan Wahlman, marketing director at Mann Eye Institute.

The company uses PatientBuilder to target prospects by ZIP code or type of service that may interest the prospect, she said.

"I can pick one of my offices and target a ZIP code ... or cataract patients ... ," she said. "It will sort for me and let me know how many potential patients are in that ZIP code."

Once a customer list is chosen, the marketer can select from various messages and designs to create a postcard. PatientBuilder develops the postcard and mails it for clinics.

Mann Eye Institute has saved $5,000 to $10,000 on direct mail campaigns, print ads and posters since it signed up last fall, mostly on ad time and development, which would have included hiring a graphic designer, Wahlman said. And because of savings on staff time, she can run more direct mail campaigns.

In the past, Wahlman said, she simply mailed a letter from new doctors to prospective clients because it was easier than designing a postcard according to proper mailing specifications.

"There is more and more of a focus on direct mail, but it hasn't been as popular because of the time to put together a campaign," she said.

Christine Blank covers online marketing and advertising, including e-mail marketing and paid search, for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters

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