5 Successful Direct Mail Practices in B2C Insurance Marketing

Direct Mail Practices in B2C Insurance MarketingLike a stamp on an envelope, direct mail and insurance marketing just go together. They always have—and we believe they always will. The classic direct mail package is a stalwart of insurance marketing, carrying a personal and protect-your-peace-of-mind message to the consumer’s home. And if it didn’t deliver ROI, our clients wouldn’t keep sending them out.

Direct Mail and the Insurance Customer
Consumers like direct mail because it’s familiar, tangible, and engaging. Marketers like it because it’s reliable, personal, and measurable. Compared with digital media, according to a 2015 study of the neuroscience behind the response-driving power of direct mail, direct mail is:

  • Easier to understand and more memorable, requiring 21% less cognitive effort to process and elicits a much higher brand recall.
  • More persuasive, with a 20% higher motivation response.
  • More quickly visually processed, getting the message across faster.

For insurance marketers who need to create awareness of their products and sell potential customers on a set of sometimes-complex benefits, direct mail is an effective way to drive both interest and action. And in a highly engaging way, as people tend to open their mail at home with their families. (Isn’t their home and family the two main things insurance helps to protect, after all?)

So what goes into a successful insurance marketing direct mail campaign? Working with a number of insurance carriers and agencies through the years, we’ve concluded that these are the tried-but-true must-haves:

1. Targeted list. We always start with the mailing list—the recipients of the mail package containing your campaign message—that can and should expand to data modeling using historical response for improved list targeting. These are the people you’ve identified as most relevant to your product and offer. Their response equals ROI, so the cleaner and more targeted the list, the better.

Read 3 Reasons To Clean Up Your Data Files Pronto for more insights.

2. Various mailing package components. Your direct mail package should tell the whole story: the what, the why, and especially the what’s-in-it-for-them. Its goals are to establish a need, sell your solution, and motivate action (to learn more or “apply now”)—and that’s a lot of heavy lifting. It usually requires more than a letter, unless you upgrading or cross-selling your current insured customers.

In our experience, direct mail packages that contain a letter, brochure, rate sheet or another piece detailing a finer point of the product or offer, plus a business reply card or envelope, is “enough” to answer recipients’ questions and entice them to take the desired action.

3. Compelling and relevant copy. Starting with the envelope teaser all the way through to the wording of your offer, your message needs to be personalized, clear, and consistent. Design each piece in your package around a single creative concept that ties together the language, images, and colors. This gives visual and cognitive appeal that cohesively supports the message.

If you’re sending a package out to multiple states or your list is split between existing customers and prospects, for instance, make sure you version your materials for different lists so what the recipient reads speaks directly to them.

4. Rock-solid offer. Always consider your direct mail package’s call-to-action. If you give them a reason to respond right away—even if they don’t “apply today”—you’ll collect leads you can nurture.

According to Direct Marketing Association (DMA.org), 79% of people react to direct mail immediately. The top three actions they take after receiving direct mail from a brand they’re interested in are:

  • Visiting the brand’s website (44%)
  • Searching online (34%)
  • Keeping the piece for future reference (26%)

To make them an offer they can’t refuse, consider your audience. You can offer to send them a free gift or give them exclusive access to a custom research report or white paper. Or, you could simply offer a free rate quote if that holds value. It’s important to keep in mind that with an insurance product, your offer can’t be contingent on a respondent applying for or purchasing coverage. The idea is to provide them with no-obligation, value-added content that can help them make coverage decisions.

Get more great ideas in 3 Old School Direct Mail Techniques That Still Work.

5. Test plans. The success of a direct mail package is easy to measure. Since you’ve included a call-to-action in your campaign, you’ll be tracking responses. If you want to want to find out if one creative concept is better than another, or see which offer is more appealing to a particular target audience, you can easily develop test creative and split your lists as part of your campaign. That way, you can optimize for stronger ROI as you continue marketing with direct mail. Read more in Importance of Testing.

Contact us for more tips and ideas about insurance marketing