Direct Mail for Subscription-Based Services

Direct Mail for Subscription-Based Services

Cold calls. Ads. Billboards. Tv spots. Getting the word out about your insurance company seems more complicated than ever. That’s without choosing from the dizzying array of new options online. Should you pay for Google ads? Or how about launching an Instagram account? There is also one option that’s wrongly seen as outdated: direct mail.

Direct mail for insurance agencies is more expensive than other more novel methods of lead generation. But that’s because it works. Rather than impersonal online ads, which are readily ignored, receiving a postcard, flyer, leaflet, or even a catalogue is more likely to get you to read it. You can’t just delete the mail: send to trash.

Nevertheless, direct mail is a pricey option. One that prevents bulk messaging to a broad range of prospective clients. So, what generates the best and more lucrative leads? Is direct mail still a sensible way to attract new clients?

Why direct mail should be part of your customer acquisition plan

There are two broad schools of thought for attracting new clients. First is the new approach: build email lists and databases. Then, use targeted ad campaigns to direct your messages towards these potential clients. That creates several problems. For local or regional insurance companies, purchasing ads solely on a geographic basis is difficult. Nor is there any guarantee the algorithm has selected the right people to receive the ad. It’s a shot in the dark.

On the other hand, direct mail is still the preferred method for many customers to receive marketing. In 2012, an American study found 62% of respondents enjoyed checking their mailbox. A further 73% preferred direct mail. They can read it at their convenience. Indeed, a pop-up ad or digital marketing demands your immediate attention, but direct mail lingers. It stays on the counter or gets pinned to a noticeboard. Even Millennials prefer direct mail, with 57% having purchased through direct mail.

However, direct mail need to replace your existing or newer marketing strategies. These days an online presence is a must-have: it’s the modern storefront—the place you send people to for a consultation. The same is true today, and direct mail can help you drive the traffic.

Here are some important facts to help appreciate the synergy:

After reading direct mail:

  • 44% of recipients visited the company website
  • 34% searched for the company online
  • 26% saved the mail for future reference

Include a URL as a call to action or QR code to ease the process. Direct mail and digital marketing aren’t mutually exclusive. They’re best when used together.

Improving lead generation with direct mail

As technology shifts, so too do the marketing methods. Cars led to billboards; phones to cold calling. But while cold calling is going out of fashion (customers ignore calls or block numbers), mail is still popular. Everyone reads their mail and flicks through their letters. Therefore, identifying customers and sending them direct mail, guarantees someone will glance at your marketing. Collectively, that could be a major boost to your insurance company.

If you want to improve your lead generation, however, you’ll need to focus on two things:

  1. Building a mailing list with impact
  2. Designing mail that sells your business


First up, building a mailing list can be difficult. You can use existing data on past customers – depending on local data protection laws. Or you can add to it from scratch. Lists don’t even need to be precise. Even identifying potential postcodes that have high populations of demographically ideal customers can improve lead generation. Some postal services even help create geographically targeted direct mail. No mailing list or permits are needed. It’s simple.

Once you’ve selected your targets, you’ll want a piece of mail with appeal. Using a copywriter is likely to be essential. They’ll take your message and refine it down to the core points. No one wants to read paragraphs directly from insurance companies. They want to know: Who are you? What do you sell? And how do you do it better?

Add a dash of good design – a clear, easily recognisable logo – and a prominent URL. You want to lodge in a person’s mind so next time they need insurance, you’re the first name they think of. Without being memorable for the wrong reasons, of course. Then, finish up with a call to action (a free consultation, free quote, or free guide). Anything to draw the customer in and start a conversation.

Benefits of using direct mail for insurance agencies

Marketing, at its core, is nothing more than a simple statistic: return on investment (ROI). In short, how much money you make relative to how much money you spend. No insurance company has unlimited funds. They need results.

Does direct mail deliver the goods?

Yes! Compared to newer forms of marketing, direct mail stacks up favourably. Direct mail had the second highest ROI in one survey, greater than for either paid search or online display ads. Indeed, it was only one percentage point lower than social media. Overall, direct mail boasts a response rate of around 5% compared to 0.6% for email. Mail is just harder to ignore.

That brings us to the key benefits:

  1. Direct mail is real. People like to touch and hold things. (Physical books still outsell their digital copies.) They want to peruse and read a tangible leaflet. It’s real. It matters. Not like email campaigns, which blur into the white noise of digital messaging.
  2. Because it’s tactile, it’s memorable. Eye-catching designs, stories about past customers, handwritten notes from the CEO. These features enhance your direct mail for insurance companies, deepening the appeal. If you’re particularly inventive, turn your leaflet into a coupon or add a useful guide to navigating an insurance dilemma.
  3. You can be inventive. By embracing the possibilities, you set yourself out from the competition. Perhaps your insurance leaflet includes QR codes to your company YouTube channel. Or, if you cater to an older demographic, promote your exceptional customer service with your phone number.
  4. Gone are the days when customers received a deluge of morning mail. With digital marketing dominating, there’s an opening to get noticed through direct mail. Now you only need to compete with a few flyers and brochures to stand out. It’s a prime opening.

Best practices of using direct mail for insurance companies

While digital marketing is complicated with many options, direct mail is simple, traditional, easy. Except that’s where you’d be wrong.

Who’s your audience?

To get the most out of direct mail: take your time. Start by identifying your target market. Do you sell home insurance, auto insurance, life insurance, or more? Each product needs a different piece of target mail. If you’re selling auto insurance, you might want to focus on neighbourhoods where car ownership is highest or where sales are increasing. Whereas if you sell life insurance, identifying new parents or older relatives is essential.

Is your direct mail engaging?

Once you’ve got your audience sorted: Test. Test. Test. What do they think of the flyer? Does it engage them? What do they want to know more about? Try a trial of your direct mail campaigns amongst a selected group and see their responses? Oh, and don’t forget to proofread the finished document. Nothing looks less professional than a typo or grammatical error.

Develop a call to action

In particular, focus on your take-home message: your call to action. For most insurance companies, that will likely be a free consultation—the chance to draw in a customer and start speaking. You can do this through a website, phone number, or email. Consider how this reflects what you’re selling. Life insurance may require a more personal conversation than insuring your car.


Last, keep track of who engages with your advert. These are your prime potential customers. Next time you launch a new direct mail campaign, these people should be at the top of your mailing list. If you also link your physical and digital marketing campaigns, you can also track people through social media. Or access their address by getting them to order a free insurance guide.

The conclusion

Contrary to reports, direct mail is as useful as ever. While other marketing campaigns suffer from a scattergun approach, direct mail can be targeted, lucrative, and effective. Insurance companies provide a chance to engage with regional and local customers, integrate old and modern techniques, and make the most of an underutilised marketing method.

The only question is: how are you going to plan your next direct mail campaign?

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