3 Direct Mail Examples of Lost Patient Campaigns for Dentists

If I asked you who the 3rd easiest patient is to sell to, and I knew of a way to get them into your practice, would you be interested?

Would you even know who I was talking about? If you said reactivating your lost patients, you’re right!

For my money, a lost client is the 3rd easiest client to sell to after you own, active patients and a referred patient.

They are MUCH easier and less expensive to target and bring into your practice than finding a new patient. In fact, finding new patients is usually the most expensive marketing your can do!

What makes a lost patient, lost? They are patients who did business with you at one point, but for whatever reason they’ve stopped doing business with you. So why does a dentist lose patients?

Here’s a list I’ve come up with:

  • They were dissatisfied with your product or service.
  • They no longer require what you offer (they moved, retired, left the company, etc.)
  • It’s no longer convenient to do business with you.
  • They switched to another provider of your same product/service.
  • They’re embarrassed or feel they let YOU down (you’d be surprised how many fit this category)
  • And the #1 reason they no longer do business with you is they SIMPLY FORGET ABOUT YOU!

Running a lost client campaign is easy. You need 2 things:

  • Your patient data base with the ability to know when a patient is ‘lost’
  • Define when a client is lost

Every business has a specific time when a client becomes lost and that time is different for each business and each niche. However, as a general dentist, your industry has done a great job of indoctrinating (and I use that term in the best possible way) the general public that they need to see a dentist every six months. So, when day 180 hits and your patient hasn’t scheduled their next appointment, they’re lost!

Once you’ve identified your lost clients, you’ll want to place them in a separate lost client recognition campaign. And here’s the key: you want to let the client know that YOU KNOW they’re missing. It’s also important that you use sequential mailings to this list, meaning more than a one hit wonder. Use everything you have at your disposal; direct mail, e-mail, phone, text… All the means you have of contacting your lost patient.

Lost customer campaigns give you a great “reason why.” People love a good reason why, and this is one of the best. When you present an offer to clients, you must have a logical reason for the offer. Notice I didn’t say a great reason, or even a good reason, but a reason, nonetheless.

Here’s why: People are naturally skeptical and suspicious. They’ve been told their entire life that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. I think we’ll all agree that there is some truth to that.

Lastly, don’t give up on them if they fail to respond the first time you place them in a lost client campaign. You’ll want to run these at least quarterly, maybe even monthly, so you can carry them over to the next campaign as well.

Below are three different dentist direct mail letters you can use for your own lost patient campaign. You’ll notice I love using direct mail for a lost patient campaign.

This first example is for a general dentist. We include a small boomerang with the letter because, “We Want Them Back!” These lost patient campaigns consistently return anywhere from 5:1 to 12:1 return on your marketing investment. Don’t reinvent the wheel, use what works!

The second example comes from my good friends, Len & Nancy Anglis. They are cosmetic dentists (though they do have a general practice office as well). Every quarter they have potential patients who either didn’t show up for their initial consultation, or they have people who did, but didn’t go through with the procedure. I call these “appointment no sale,” lost patients.

You can see a copy of Len and Nancy’s letter here. We also included a little worry doll with the letter. What’s amazing about this letter are the results. They spent $1,188.33 and brought in a whopping $101,300 in dental treatment! If you have “appointment no sale” situations, you need to use this nifty little letter!

5 questions to ask direct mail

Lastly, a sample from a specialty dentist. Is comes from Dr. Aldon Hilton in San Jose, CA. Dr. Hilton specializes retainers for patients with sleep apnea.

The offer was a free office visit to check their current retainer, and see if they qualified for a second, back up retainer, which is often covered by insurance. And of course, we included a small compass because “They’re Lost!”


As you can see, targeting your lost patients can be very profitable. If you a free consultation on how we can create a customized lost patient direct mail program for you, send an email to info@3dmailresults.com or call us at (888) 250-1834.

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