Direct Mail DOA – Can’t Health Care Companies Do Better than This?

Health Care Sends Out Direct Mail DOAA few weeks ago I received an oversized envelope with four heavy-stock “postcards” inside.

The first postcard said “Mother.” The word was printed over top of the face of a mother.

The second postcard said “Daughter” over the face of a daughter.

The third said “Sister” over the face of a sister.

The fourth card showed the pictures of all three women with the following copy underneath:

HEALTHY BEGINNINGS AND HAPPILY EVER AFTERS.

We understand the importance of preventive care, healthy lifestyle choices and complete health care that incorporates a woman’s body, mind and spirit.

Let’s summarize:

Four big postcards on heavy card stock.

31 words between them on their front sides.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the work of a designer who thought that being clever was the goal of advertising.

It’s not.

Cleverness is a prescription for silence — i.e., no response.

The headline on the fourth postcard is complete rubbish. The body copy is equally impotent. Who’s “we” anyway? The company name is nowhere to be found.

Turn the cards over and we find trite statements like these:

Card #1:

A DIFFERENT KIND OF PRACTICE FOR THE DIFFERENT PHASES OF A WOMAN’S LIFE.

No matter what stage of life you’re in, good health makes every moment better.

Gee, ya think? Health makes life better? Who knew!

Card #2:

MAXIMIZING A WOMAN’S BODY, MIND AND SPIRIT.

Our mission is to provide our patients with comprehensive, compassionate and holistic health care.

Wait… I’m still trying to figure out how you go about “maximizing a woman’s body.” Are we talking about weight gain, or…??

Card #3:

EXCEPTIONAL CREDENTIALS, EXCEPTIONAL CARE.

Join Dr. _________ in welcoming our newest OB/GYN, Dr. _________. [picture underneath, with painful-to-read bio]

Oh, yes, that’s a good idea. Let’s join a stranger in celebrating the hiring of another stranger. That’s exactly what I was thinking of doing today.

Card #4:

THERE’S A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HEALTH CARE AND COMPLETE HEALTH CARE.

Colorado Complete Health for Women is a new kind of OB/GYN practice. [blah, blah, blah] We look forward to seeing you.

Well, I certainly hope by “complete health care,” they’re not going to have their OB/GYNs doing brain surgery or anything. ‘Cuz brains are different than ovaries.

******

That’s pretty much it.

The entire package is confusing because of its design.

It obscures the nature of the business until the fourth card where I discover it’s an OB/GYN practice.

It makes a broad appeal to all women, young and old.

It then offers them nothing, yet still makes a weak call to action at the bottom of the fourth card: “Call _______ and let us know when you’d like to visit.”

Ummm, even if I was a woman I wouldn’t want to visit. Why should I? You haven’t talked about anything that matters to me. You haven’t even made an offer or given me a reason to visit.

They would have been better off sending a single piece of white paper saying:

Looking for a new OB/GYN? We just opened up new offices in Aurora at the intersection of Potomac and Colfax, just west of 225.

Drop by on Saturday morning, July 7 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. for a quick tour. Free hors d’ouvres and goodie bags.

In my estimation, this has to be one of the most wasteful pieces of direct mail I’ve received in quite some time.

Too much cleverness and white space, not enough substance.

Unfortunately, thousands of businesses make the same mistakes over and over again.

That’s why guys like me are in business. There’s never a lack of poor advertising and direct mail. All I have to do is open my mail box — or a magazine — or a newspaper — and there it is.

Want to learn how to write sales copy that actually gets your prospects to respond? Then sign up here:

http://clickora.com/CopywritingCode

-Ryan M. Healy

Ryan M. Healy

Ryan Healy is a financial copywriter and the author of Speed Writing for Nonfiction Writers. Since 2002, he has worked with scores of clients, including Agora Financial, Lombardi Publishing, and Contrarian Profits. He writes a popular blog about copywriting, advertising, and business growth, has been featured in publications like Feed Front magazine, and has been published on sites like WordStream.com, SmallBizClub.com, and MarketingForSuccess.com.