When Slice-of-Life Spells Success

 

Slice-of-life isn’t always the best strategic approach to use in direct response creative but when the audience is sufficiently targeted—and likely identifies passionately with the problem the copy describes—I’ve seen it pull impressive results.

 

The four-page template below certainly did. I created it after interviewing a number of physicians in the Indianapolis area. The template was personalized with the names of local physicians supporting an automated services company assisting their practices in receiving payments more efficiently. The specifics of the slice-of-life story were adjusted slightly for each physician’s personal story however the bulk was universal and didn’t require any changes.

 

In addition to the passion of the words, I choose a traditional direct response format to further support the “voice” of the piece. That format being a flush left/ragged right, fully indented letter format—I believe the simplicity of the single-sentence paragraphs, supported by the Times Roman serif font heightened the impact of the piece.

 

With all the changes and evolutions going on in communication venues today—interactive, social media, blogs, hybrids, etc.—I suspect that a successful effort such as this one demonstrates that many of the old-time direct response “rules” rest on solid ground.
 

 
 
[PAGE 1 OF LETTER]
 
 

[letterhead]

<<LOCAL MD’s NAME, PRACTICE NAME, ADDRESS>>
 
Dear <<RECIPIENT’S NAME >>
 

All my life I wanted to be a physician.

 

My father and I are now in the same Internal Medicine

Practice, and my grandfather was also a physician.
 

I watched them as I grew up, and I was proud of what they

did.
 

So I’ve seen firsthand what the physician’s role in medicine

should be, and I’ve experienced firsthand how it has changed.
 

I recently sat down and figured out how much of my practice

I actually enjoy.
 

It was a real eye-opener.

 

The things I love about the work we do—the interaction

with patients, my relationships with colleagues, continuing my
medical education—I never tire of.
 

Unfortunately, I’m spending less and less time doing the

things I love.
 

I end up supervising a growing front office. With turnover

and vacations there always seems to be some crisis at hand.
 

I have increasing numbers of people verifying insurance,

submitting and tracking claims, arguing with HMOs and health care
plans, and making sure we’re compensated for our service.
 

That part of it I hate. That’s the aspect of Medicine that has

damaged the physician-patient relationship so much.
 
 
[PAGE 2 OF LETTER]

I’m sure you have experienced much of this—every doctor

in Indiana has at one time or another.
 

I resent the hoops we are forced to jump through. What I

resent even more is the time that is taken up by all of this.
 

That time is being stolen, wasted needlessly.

 

That’s my time, that’s your time, and the valuable time of

every other doctor in Indiana.
 

On top of that, the money I lose each month because of the

claim system used by insurance companies undermines my practice
and patient care.
 

I carry tens of thousands of dollars in accounts receivable

each month, with bills to insurance companies running over 120
days on a regular basis.
 

On top of that, I’m writing off claims at a frustrating rate,

while some patients complain, “Why didn’t I ever get billed?”
 

It’s a mess. We spend so much time and money just trying

to get paid, and no one is happy.
 

Sometimes I wonder if we’ll ever be able to practice

medicine the way we want to.
 

Still, I refuse to let the bureaucracy of insurance companies

drive me out of medicine.
 

I love medicine, and I can’t imagine leaving my practice.

 

So when I first heard about RealMed, I was immediately

interested.
 

RealMed is an Indianapolis-based company that has come

up with a solution for the most frustrating part of medicine.
 

They have eliminated the slow, plodding processing of

paperwork between my office and the insurance companies.
 

I’ve seen their system work—and it’s extraordinary.

 

It allows my office manager to go onto a secure, private

network with the insurance companies.
 
 
[PAGE 3 OF LETTER]
Eligibility is verified in seconds. Claims are submitted as they occur

in my office. And payment to my office is made as soon as we
complete the transaction.
 

If the patient has a deductible or a co-pay, we know to

collect that on the spot.
 

Everything happens in real time over a secure, private

network, resulting in rapid payments to my office.

I wanted to sign up at once.

 

Three insurance companies have already committed to

RealMed’s system. The remaining insurance companies are sitting back
waiting to see how many doctors will participate.
 

That’s why I sent you this letter.

 

I’m writing you to ask you to join the RealMed Physician

Alliance.
 

It costs $25.

 

By getting Doctors to join the Alliance, RealMed can

demonstrate to the insurance companies that they have the support
of Indiana’s Physicians.
 

Real-time claims payment, instant eligibility information,

reduced paperwork. All made possible with RealMed.
 

Gaining a critical mass of Doctors in the RealMed Alliance

is the only missing part.
 

I’ve seen what this system could mean for my practice.

 

I urge you to fill out the card I’ve enclosed; you risk only

$25.
 

Things have to change; the status quo has simply become

intolerable.
 

If the insurance companies refuse to work with RealMed,

then I’ll be forced to keep going on with the current system.
 

I’ll continue to deal with the frustrations,

the inefficiencies, the hassles.
 

You will as well. I’m sure.

 

Until now, we didn’t have much choice in the matter.

 
 
[PAGE 4 OF LETTER]

Now we do.

 

Each additional doctor in the RealMed Alliance will help

push the remaining insurance companies to move on this.
 

If we lead, they will follow. And every physician in Indiana

will win.

They will not succeed unless they reach a critical mass of

Doctors.
 

Instead of sitting back and letting Insurance bureaucracies

manipulate us, we have a chance to create a system that will allow
us to concentrate on helping patients.
 

The current system benefits no one. Thanks for your time,

and I look forward to having you join the Alliance.
 

Sincerely,

 

<<PHYSICIAN’S NAME>>

 

P.S. I wrote this letter to you for purely selfish reasons.

 

I want to reduce my office paperwork, trim my accounts

payable, cut down on failed claims and simplify my life.
 

This new system is the way to make that happen.

 

However, my support alone can’t make it happen.

 

If enough Doctors join the RealMed Alliance, it will work.

 

If the interest isn’t there, it will fail, and things will remain

the same.
 

I want it to work.

 

And I know that if you could see it in action, you’d want it

too.
 

$25 is all it costs to join. This is going to be the future of

Medicine, the sooner the better.
 

Thanks for listening.

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