The Direct Mail Pros of by Kyle Patton, Associate editor

What does do?
Aaron R. Boone: In a nutshell, we are orthodontic marketing experts who deliver new patients to practices across the country. We use the most advanced, targeted, results-based direct mail program in the industry, with guaranteed results.

In fact, our goal—and your expectation—should be a minimum return of two to six times your investment on every mailing campaign.

We partner with you in creating, deploying, tracking and scoring targeted, direct-mailing campaigns that will accelerate the growth of your practice and ensure you get the best return on your investment. In addition, we help increase your visibility, distinguish your brand and niche, penetrate and dominate your immediate market area, and even expand your overall patient reach.

Our process has been perfected through the successful delivery of tens of millions of postcards and by analyzing hundreds of thousands of new patient calls to practices across North America.

How did get its start?
Boone: I guess the best answer would be that it evolved over time, based on data and results. There is a saying in sports: "Stats don't lie." The stats were telling us that our program works exceptionally well for orthodontic practices.

Let me explain. Over the last five years, our sister company has successfully partnered with thousands of orthodontic, dental and pediatric offices across the country. As we mailed and then tracked the results of tens of millions of mailed postcards, the results for our orthodontic offices were off the charts.

Because of our unique ability to track and refine results, we continued to hone our program based on the response these offices were receiving. It quickly became apparent that we needed a company that was exclusively dedicated to orthodontists, because the industry, practice, and target patient are unlike any of the others.

As time went on, we developed a system that incorporates all of that experience and technology that were working so well, while also adding advancements specifically for orthodontists. Hence,! There's nothing like it and nothing that delivers anything close to the combined benefit of new patients and value to a practice in the industry today.

What is your passion in orthodontics?
Boone: Helping people. We want to be involved in something that allows people to truly love who they are and what they represent. Orthodontists are all about that! We figure that the way to help the most people is to help those who work on the front lines in orthodontics. We love people who are smart enough and gutsy enough to run their own business. We are about helping orthodontists thrive as they pursue their practices' goals and objectives. We have so much respect for the hard work and commitment they have to their practices, families, employees and, especially, their patients. Our passion has driven us to create and provide the best marketing program available for orthodontists.

Our CEO, Rocky Fischer, and I have been friends for more than a decade. We would often talk about how we felt it was ridiculous that there was so little accountability in the sales and marketing world. I felt that there was likely more money wasted in sales and marketing than in virtually any other industry. Rocky decided to do something about it and developed a marketing program that was completely accountable, as well as incredibly effective. It's so successful that it is guaranteed to at least double a doctor's investment. Over the last five years it's done that 95.7 percent of the time. On average, it delivers a 644 percent return on investment (ROI) and creates millions of dollars of additional revenue for thousands of practices across the country.

What makes unique?
Boone: The primary difference really has to do with why we do what we do. To us, the whole point is to support doctors so they can successfully meet their goals and objectives.

When you really pay attention to how most companies do what they do, it's apparent that their motivation revolves around their own success. We believe our success is a by-product of the contribution we make to doctors and their practices. You can see the difference when you look at what we do, as compared to anyone else.

We wrap our arms around all the variables that impact the success of delivering new starts to the practice. Other companies claim they can attract more patients and will design, print and mail a postcard for you. Afterward, everyone crosses their fingers and hopes for the best.

Maybe they even put a tracking number on your postcard so you can go online after a full day of work and spend half the night listening to all of your calls. In our minds, those aren't solutions—they're gambles and extra work. We provide the full solution. We take ownership of the success of your marketing with direct mail. That's why we score every single call received from our postcards on our 15 key performance indicators. That way we can coach the staff to make sure the most calls possible become new patients. We provide 24/7 access to all the detailed performance of every mailing—from the total revenue to the practice and who the new patients are, to the appointment-closing ratios of each staff member. We capture all of the missed calls so they can be turned into starts instead of lost opportunities.

How would a doctor know if he or she should do external marketing, such as direct mail?
Boone: It's really easy. If a doctor wants to grow his or her practice and increase revenue, then direct mail is a no-brainer. Statistically, it's the most predictably successful form of external advertising out there for dental professionals. If you're like many orthodontists who feel they're doing pretty well, just ask yourself a couple of questions. Do I have any capacity to serve more patients in my practice? Am I willing to ignore that opportunity and the money I'm wasting every month for that unused capacity?

For instance, if your practice has 20 percent more capacity and it averages $500,000 annually, filling that 20 percent gives you a $100,000 raise! Since all your fixed costs were already covered, that means 90 percent of it—or more—is profit.

Are postcards really that effective?
Boone: They certainly can be! It all depends on how you do it. The way we do it (at a bare minimum) will double your money 95.7 percent of the time. Our program, on average, produces a 644 percent return on investment! We know, because we are a bit fanatical when it comes to tracking. The fact is, no matter what the latest fad—like social media, currently—direct mail has always worked. Frankly, the more people who chase the fads, the better it works. People love getting mail in our electronic society. They crave things they can hold in their hand. Direct mail is on the rise and, when done right, it's one of most effective tools a practice can use.

Is sending postcards expensive?
Boone: Expense is a really bad way to make a decision about how to spend your marketing dollars. ROI is what matters. If the marketing you are considering doesn't track the ROI for you, that should be a big red flag.

You'll remember that one of the biggest reasons we started doing what we do is because we recognized that most marketing and advertising dollars are wasted. Most companies offer you all kinds of projections, commitments—even promises. At the end of the day, you're the one left holding the bag when you see that the results don't amount to much, if anything. Then they come again telling you it takes time and you have to build your brand, or whatever the latest line is to get you to plop down more money.

They're never proactive about determining your ROI, much less analyzing your results to determine how to optimize it. We've done it for so long and refined it so well that we are even able to guarantee it! You stand behind your work; why would you trust anyone with your marketing dollars who doesn't stand behind theirs?

Think of all the different options available to you to increase awareness of your practice in your market and attract new patients. Are any of them guaranteed? Can any of them provide you with years of empirical results, data-specific to orthodontists? Do they even perform a demographic market analysis based on your patient data? Do any of them have experience getting you the right type of patient that you are looking for?

We specialize—exclusively—in bringing quality new patients to orthodontists, and we guarantee results. We can do that because, over the years, we have learned the critical components for success, and we have developed the system to duplicate that success month after month, year after year.

Why not just use every-door direct mail and my local printer to send postcards? Isn't it cheaper?
Boone: Yes, it is cheaper, if we're talking about expense. If we're talking about results, it's exorbitant. Think of what goes through your mind when you lose a case to a cut-rate practice. You know better than anyone what can go wrong when a patient gets cheap orthodontics. Is it a better deal? It's the same with a postcard mailing.

The list of benefits you enjoy with our system is extensive. Let's take into consideration just one of our benefits and see how the value proposition stacks up.

The average practice misses 33 percent of its calls. With our program all of those calls are captured, so those people can get on the schedule instead of turning into lost opportunities. If you mailed 10,000 postcards (average mailing quantity) and got 26 calls, you would typically miss eight of them. If only two of those eight became starts, that's $10,000, on average.

Our prices are listed right on our website and are some of the best available, averaging about a dime less than the cost of a stamp, including everything. (You'll have to check out our site to see what "everything" means—you won't believe it!)

Even if you did all the work and could save yourself $0.10 per card and lose out on all the tremendous benefits of our system, you would have "saved" yourself $1,000. Based on what you lost in missed calls alone, your "savings" would have resulted in you losing $9,000.

Shouldn't a good practice get enough referrals and walk-ins that they wouldn't need external marketing?
Boone: Certainly that's what every practice would love to have happen. In the real world, most practices would still like to have more starts than what they naturally get each month. When you think about the huge commitment you've made in having a practice, you really owe it to yourself to leverage your investment. Some practices really want more starts, some are comfortable, but hardly any practices are at their capacity.

To me, that's like buying a rental property and having it occupied only half of the time or three-quarters of the time. The rest of the time you're just losing money covering all the costs, while not realizing the revenue.

The real profitability occurs after you've paid all of your costs each month. So many practices work really hard to get past their overhead threshold and then relax, right when they could be reaping huge profitability! If your practice is doing all right, then effective external marketing can have a spectacular impact on your actual profitability.

How does staff training tie into your program?
Boone: First off, it is vital to any practice's success to have a good front desk. You could be the best orthodontist in America but if your front desk is not scheduling consults, then nobody will know. I have seen it time and time again—how a front desk can make or break a campaign, and even a practice. Every time that phone rings, that is a potential $5,000 start on the phone. The way the phone call is handled determines the likelihood of that outcome.

Regardless of how you get your phone to ring, the calls must be handled well. We learned that early and built a world-class phone-training system and video-coaching library into our program. After all, a single start could more than pay for an entire mailing to 10,000 homes, but what happens when they are able to schedule five, ten or 15 consults?

Our staff coaching really comes from three avenues. Prior to a first mailing, an adviser will provide an initial staff training on the tips and techniques proven to increase closing percentages in practices across the country. This initial training instructs them to use proper techniques, phone etiquette, and ways to respond to tough questions. This way, they are prepared for new calls before the first mailing ever goes out.

But a one-time training meeting is not enough to change habits. Ongoing coaching is needed. Our staff listens to the recordings and scores every single call that comes in. Calls are analyzed based upon 15 key performance indicators we've identified that can make or break an appointment being scheduled. These indicators check for things such as whether or not the staff member got the caller's name, whether or not he or she gave pricing over the phone, and whether your staff answered all of the caller's questions accurately and completely. These dedicated marketing advisers continually monitor the calls and provide your staff with coaching based on the individual staff member's strengths and weaknesses. After all, "That which is not measured will not improve."

What sets you apart from other marketing firms or direct mail providers?
Boone: The reality is that we have little to nothing in common with print shops, nor the majority of marketing firms out there, as very few are exclusive to the industry. It's almost impossible to find one that will stand behind its program with any guarantee of results. Our business model is different and simple—do one thing (direct mail) for one industry (orthodontists) and do it ridiculously better than anyone else. And guarantee it.

We empower our offices with metrics, information and recommendations to make intelligent decisions regarding the success of their marketing. Our one-of-a-kind program, including call tracking, recording, scoring, and 24/7 access to performance dashboards, eliminates the guessing game.

These dashboards provide unique marketing insight, with data that includes number of calls per postcard, number of new patients per postcard, cost of new patient acquisition, total production per new patient, best-responding neighborhoods, top designs, etc.

Another differentiator is how we control the variables to ensure success. What can be controlled to enhance your results? Over the years, we've listened to hundreds of thousands of calls and identified the keys to maximize success. For example, what size card should you mail? What offers should you advertise? What day of the week should postcards hit homes? And the largest common denominator across successful practices is the efficiency and effectiveness of how well your staff handles first-time callers. The skill level of your staff makes a huge difference in the outcome of any call coming into your office. By controlling all of these and other variables, we put practices in the best possible position to succeed.

What can orthodontists expect when working with you?
Boone: The first two things that come to mind are more new patients and the support to make the entire process super easy. They can expect not to have to spend tons of their time on our program. From the minute they agree to allow us to start sending them new patients, we proactively take care of everything.

We have a simple process to create their custom-designed card, analyze their market area so we optimize their dollars, deliver to the right households, and train their staff, all before the first call. Then we really go to work, constantly analyzing all of the data on everything that happens with their mailing. We learn what could potentially enhance their results, and we let them know. More importantly, we go to work with that data, coaching the staff and increasing their closing ratios, making adjustments to the card design, demographics, etc.

We do whatever it takes to get them the best ROI possible. We don't believe in long-term contracts, and since we provide them 24/7 access to every bit of data relating to each of their mailings, we have to get it right. We like it that way. It keeps us honest and ensures orthodontists get 100 percent of our attention and commitment all the time, which results in more new patients to the practice.

Just give us a call at (855) 999-1819, or go to our site at For Townies, we have a special offer as well. Call us now and we'll do a free market analysis for your practice, based on your actual data. You'll know exactly where all of your patients are coming from, matched up with the demographics. It's invaluable information and enables us to best target the right households in your market area. We can also see the hottest areas of your market and identify areas that might hold additional opportunity. It's incredibly insightful for your mailings and any other marketing initiatives you have. Call us now! We are exclusive in that we only work with one practice in a core market area, so the sooner a doctor contacts us, the better.

Sally Gross, Member Services Specialist
Phone: +1-480-445-9710
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