Smile Brands Door Hanger Effort Gets 30% ROI

Published April 26, 2011 in ChiefMarketer.com

Dentist network Smile Brands has received a 30% return on investment from its first test of more than 35,000 door hangers in several Colorado cities.

The company defines ROI in terms of response rates, cost per acquisition and revenue generated per patient.

This effort was an attempt to build on its usual strategy of relying on direct mail, says Rick Brown, senior vice president, marketing and sales at Smile.

The Irvine, CA-based firm delivered the door hangers to homes in Aurora, Boulder, Castle Rock, Colorado Sprints, Denver, Fort Collins, Littleton, Longmont, Loveland and Westminster, CO.

The company, a dental network with locations in more than 17 states, was looking to acquire new customers and drive traffic with this effort. The network has more than 1,100 dentists and hygienists in over 325 affiliated dental offices in those locations.Bright Now Dental (Smile Brands) door hanger

The door hangers targeted households down to the block group level as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, says Brown.

This method, which pinpoints territories of approximately 100 to 400 households, enabled Smile to identify household purchase behavior and lifestyle segments and was more precise than Zip codes, according to PowerDirect, Smile’s agency.

The offer on the door hanger was for 40% off a dental checkup, with a discount coupon for a cleaning.

The bulk of Smile Brands’ acquisition efforts are monthly direct mail campaigns. Every month, each office sends out about 12,000 shared mail pieces and each quarter sends an additional 3,000 postcards in its local area. The mail offers, which vary by region, are typically for exams, x-rays and cleanings as well as for discounts on orthodontics or dentures. Their response rates average 0.5%- to 1%. In addition, Smile does do some radio and outdoor in some markets as well as some e-mail to existing patients, according to Brown.

“We’ve been doing direct mail for a long time – an advantage of having very well-defined expectations of results,” says Brown. “But the trick is taking it to the next level, finding new strategies that can layer onto what we’re already doing well, and making sure we’re reaching our particular customer segments with the right messaging at the right time.”

Door hangers have been used by other types of companies such as Comcast when it was trying to market Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) telecommunications services a while back.

Going forward, Smile is planning further tests of door hangers in other regions, according to Brown. Plans were not final at deadline.

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