4 Reasons Direct Mail Should Be Part of Your Plan to Acquire New Customers

By Michelle B. Peel | March 9, 2015

As an independent insurance agent you’re an expert in many things. You understand the right questions to ask in order to provide the right level of coverage. You know how to overcome price sensitivity by explaining the lowest price isn’t always the best deal. And you’re always up-to-date on the latest changes to insurance laws. But being an insurance expert doesn’t leave much time to be a marketing expert.

How do you know which marketing tactics will help acquire new customers? With so much noise when it comes to marketing, it can be hard to separate fact from fiction. When the goal is finding new customers, the truth is independent insurance agents need to make sure direct mail is part of a multi-channel approach.

Here are four reasons direct mail is such a necessary and powerful tool for acquiring new property/casualty insurance customers:

1. Many Consumers Still Prefer to Receive Direct Mail

Direct mail campaigns are delivering better overall response than digital channels.

Despite an ever-expanding number of online marketing channels, paper is still preferred in many instances. Many studies bear this out. For example, the 2012 Channel Preference Study for Both the Mobile and Non-Mobile Consumer from Epsilon shows that 62 percent of Americans enjoy checking their physical mailbox, with 73 percent of U.S. consumers saying they prefer direct mail for brand communications because they can read the information at their convenience. A whopping four-fifths (79 percent) of potential customers will act on direct mail immediately according to Direct Marketing Association (DMA) research. And while Millennials may always seem to be on their phone or social media, they also report an affinity for direct mail. ExactTarget’s 2012 Channel Preference Study found more than half (57 percent) of young people have made a purchase as a result of a direct mail offer.

Direct mail campaigns are delivering better overall response than digital channels. Research from the DMA shows direct mail outperforms electronic channels in acquiring new customers. Direct mail has a 25 percent response rate compared with email, which only yields a 23 percent response rate.

Mailers in the insurance industry are taking advantage of the effective and rewarding benefits direct mail delivers. According to market research firm Mintel Comperemedia, P/C insurance providers mailed more than 3.6 billion mailpieces in 2014.

When it comes to insurance, direct mail is all about customer acquisition. In 2014, a staggering 96 percent of insurance mail focused on acquisition compared with just 4 percent for retention. To gain these new customers, be sure your marketing messages highlight potential savings, quality of service, claim service and customer satisfaction.

2. Automated Marketing Programs Make Sending Direct Mail Easy

In order to be effective, direct mail must be relevant, personal and timely. Thankfully, most major insurance providers now make online marketing storefronts available to support their independent agents’ marketing goals. It’s often as easy as selecting the template you want, creating an offer that is relevant to your target audience, personalizing it with your information and photo and choosing from a list of prospects. The rest will be taken care of and within no time your offer will be in your prospects’ mailboxes.

3. The Postal Service Wants to Help

The USPS is regularly developing new products and services to help businesses use direct mail. One of the most relevant for independent insurance agents is “Every Door Direct Mail” (EDDM). The program works like it sounds. An agent simply selects specific neighborhoods or ZIP codes, creates a mailpiece, and the offer gets delivered to every mailbox in the target area. No mailing lists, permits or experience required.

4. Direct Mail Can Drive More Traffic to Your Online Channels

Direct mail shouldn’t be an agent’s only marketing tool. You want to reach prospects on their terms, and you’ve probably worked hard to build an online presence.

After receiving a mailer, 44 percent of people visit the company’s website, 34 percent search for them online and 26 percent save it for future reference, according to the DMA. New technologies like personalized URLs, Quick Response Codes and Augmented Reality are merging offline and online content. According to Comperemedia, in 2014 60 percent of insurance acquisition direct mail campaigns included a website address or URL as a call to action and 21 percent included a QR Code.

IWCO Direct has extensive experience partnering with our insurance clients and recommends these best practices to make your P/C insurance acquisition direct mail efforts stand-out:

  • Engage in cross-channel marketing by including Augmented Reality or a QR code in your direct mail piece that leads prospects to their personalized URL, your company website or a promotional video.
  • Affix an instant access quote card with your phone number or a PURL as a call to action. When you personalize the card, the prospect feels they are getting a special offer or incentive. Cards get noticed and can be kept for future reference.
  • Take advantage of the USPS’ EDDM product as a simple way to get started using direct mail.

Direct mail continues to help insurance agents and companies grow their business, so consider these trends and best practices to create more successful P/C insurance acquisition campaigns.

About Michelle B. Peel

Peel, marketing services specialist at IWCO Direct, has more than 20 years of direct marketing industry experience. IWCO Direct is one of the largest direct mail printers in North America and works with many leading brands in the insurance industry. Email: Michelle.Peel@iwco.com. Phone: 610-562-1065. Website: www.iwco.com.

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Insurance Journal West March 9, 2015
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