For smart marketers, personalization has become a top priority because it produces outstanding results. Marketing professionals see an impressive 20% increase in sales, on average, when they personalize their marketing campaigns. Over 70% of insurance marketing ideas (like direct mail) include personalization. And about 80% of consumers say they’re more likely to buy from a business that offers a personalized experience.
Personalization—loosely defined as reaching out to customers with targeted messages, offers, and pricing at precisely the right times—is also a favorite strategy for insurance marketers. In fact, it’s safe to say it’s the future of the industry. After all, almost 90% of insurance consumers are demanding it. So of all the insurance marketing ideas that you could implement into your strategy, personalization ranks among the most important.
Let’s look at personalization as it relates to your direct mail campaigns, and examine some of the options you have to make them more successful.
What Are Your Direct Mail Marketing Goals?
Assuming you’ve already committed to personalizing your direct mail marketing campaigns (good for you), it’s time to develop a strategy for marketing your business. First, you’ll need to determine your goals.
- Do you want to increase general brand awareness for your insurance business? If you’re marketing your products and services on a regular basis, you’ll have an advantage over your more passive competitors.
- Are you focusing on one particular type of insurance, like home owner’s insurance or life insurance?
- Do you want to attract a specific demographic for one (or more) or your insurance offerings, like motorcycle insurance?
You shouldn’t dive into a direct mail campaign without first knowing what you want to accomplish. Then you can concentrate on personalizing it. You’ll also need to know what your budget is for the campaign and how many new customers you’ll need to acquire from the campaign to achieve a positive ROI. Once you have this figured out, let’s get to the topic at hand: personalization.
Identify Your Target Audience
It used to be that direct mail in the insurance industry was mainly used for marketing life insurance policies. More recently, however, property and casualty (P&C) insurers got into the mix. Now they’re using direct mail marketing campaigns for lead generation efforts on auto policies and they’re reaching prospective customers they otherwise would’ve missed. The CTA? Get people to set up an appointment to talk about their insurance options.
Whatever types of insurance you offer, you can use variable data printing (VDP) to match various aspects of each campaign with your target audience’s needs. VDP allows you to mass customize your direct mail campaigns so each recipient has a personalized offer. You can feature someone’s name, of course, but that’s only one of many correct uses. You can also speak more directly to your customers with relevant images, local maps and directions, different languages (should the need arise), and much more. Let’s look at some of the more popular possibilities that can help you personalize your direct mail campaigns.
Personalize by Type of Insurance Offering
How you market your products and services to your customers depends largely on what type of insurance you’re selling. Sure, there are similarities. But each type of insurance sets its own standard for marketing success. You always want a high response rate and ROI, but the method for getting there depends on the type of insurance you’re selling. Let’s look at auto insurance as an example.
Remember when you first started driving? Maybe you had a hand-me-down vehicle from an older sibling or parent or you were lucky enough to pick out a new or used car of your choice. Either way, it was an exciting time filled with newfound freedoms and endless possibilities. But there was also a tremendous responsibility and likely a financial commitment—like monthly insurance premiums.
Now that you’re marketing your services to these very drivers, you must put yourself in their shoes. What kinds of things would most appeal to them and how can you tap into their psyche to capture their attention? Prove to them that you’re their best option for auto insurance.
For starters, you can offer them the best rate. That helps. But you could also personalize your direct mail marketing messages with images that speak directly to them. Use imagery of people their own age and vehicles that make sense to them. A minivan or a luxury sports car are not practical. On the other hand, a Honda Civic or a Nissan Sentra more than likely fit into their lifestyle.
Personalize by Name
American writer and lecturer Dale Carnegie once said:
“A person’s name is to that person, the sweetest, most important sound in any language.”
When you’re personalizing your direct mail insurance campaigns, start by using your customer’s name. Naturally, you’re going to print their full name on the envelope along with their mailing address, but don’t forget to use it in strategic places inside your direct mail piece, too. About 75% of consumers are more likely to buy from a business that uses their name in their marketing materials. Don’t let this golden opportunity slip away.
You can use your recipient’s first name as part of your campaign’s offer. So when you introduce yourself and/or the insurance plan you’re selling, address them by their first name. It may seem like a simple inclusion (and kind of a no-brainer), but it sets a conversational tone and it makes your customers feel special. So whatever kind of insurance you’re selling, be sure to refer to them by name for an immediate and effective connection.
Personalize by Gender
The insurance rates you charge can differ based on a person’s gender. Take car insurance as an example. Women are statistically safer drivers than men, so they’re not as likely to file a claim. That means they’ll typically pay less for auto insurance. There’s a similar disparity with life insurance. This gender gap is increasing. Women are less likely to buy life insurance than men because, in part, they think they can’t afford the coverage. Financial marketers can help to alleviate this concern through their marketing efforts.
James Scanlon is the research director for LIMRA Insurance Research. He said:
“There’s no singular reason that drives this (gender) gap … [But] there’s a misconception about the cost of life insurance. Most people simply believe it costs two to three times as much as it actually does.”
Armed with that information, you’ll likely market to women a bit differently than you would to men. For example, you could personalize a direct mail campaign to the women on your mailing list, specifically addressing their concerns over cost. It could be as simple as focusing on cost as a selling point. You may say something like: “It’s much more affordable than you might think.” Another option would be to market to women as the statistically safer drivers they are. Congratulate them on being part of a demographic that typically receives lower premiums.
Pay Attention to Other Demographics, Too
There are other demographics besides gender that matter, too. Auto insurance premiums can vary by approximately 50% based on a person’s age and marital status. Whenever you have a wide range of demographics within your contact list, consider how different they really are. The more you know about your contact list, the better. Then personalize your offers to solve their specific problems.
Let’s take the aforementioned gender personalization and add a specific age range to it. For instance, if you were marketing your healthcare insurance practice, you could personalize a supplemental cancer insurance campaign to women between the ages of 40 and 45. Within your mailing, provide information on the importance of early cancer detection and include a strong CTA for these recipients to make an appointment with their doctor. Your product is there for them if they need it. But by asking them to take a proactive approach to their health, you’re showing that you have their best interests in mind. This builds trust in your company.
Esurance gets very specific when it comes to marketing their “Good Student Discount.” Their target demographic for this auto insurance offering is high school or college students under 25 years old with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Students that meet their requirements save as much as 10% on liability, collision, and medical payments coverages. Find some common ground among your prospects (or current customers), then personalize an offer to them for a discount.
Personalize by Past Purchase History
The more you know about your customers, the more you can personalize future offers based on what they’ve bought before. Do you have a customer or organization that purchased health insurance from you in the past? Based on other factors, such as gender and/or age (as we just mentioned), they may be eligible and/or interested in other types of insurance products, like supplemental insurance.
This is insurance that covers what traditional insurance doesn’t, such as vision, dental, cancer or other diseases, term life, or even accidents, just to name some of the possibilities. Just about any customer that has purchased health insurance is a candidate for some type of supplemental health insurance as well.
Don’t Just Send Reminders to Renew Coverage
As an insurance marketer, you’re at a disadvantage compared to most retailers. After all, you’re relatively limited in your interactions with customers. One of the ways you communicate with your patrons is via renewal notices, but it’s typically a once-per-year mailing with little more than a paper bill. Ugh. The average retention rate for most insurance companies is 80%. That means you’re losing 20% of your customers each year. You can do more to influence their decision to stay, however.
Think about the insurance products you offer that need to be renewed on a regular basis. If you provide an added incentive to renew, like a discount or some kind of special savings, you’re more likely to retain that customer.
According to the professional services firm Ernst & Young, customers are open to building long-term relationships with their insurance providers, but those providers need to improve the effectiveness of their communications efforts. This will help to build loyalty. One way to do that is with personalization.
Rather than merely sending a yearly invoice, devise a strategy to communicate with your customers throughout the year. Provide information about the type of insurance they have and provide helpful advice related to it. Send a monthly newsletter. Invite them to local events your company is sponsoring. Stay in touch. Then, when you send a direct mail renewal notice, include incentives that influence them to stay with you. Make it personal. Include a handwritten note that thanks them for their ongoing business. Build a relationship with your customers and you’ll retain more of them from one year to the next.
Personalize with PURLs
As an insurance marketer, you’re very likely using more than one channel to speak to your customers. At least you should be. It’s called multichannel marketing and more than 70% of consumers say they’d rather connect with businesses this way. You can combine your direct mail and digital efforts with a personalized URL, or pURL. This is a personalized landing page that’s unique to each recipient. Just send the link in with your direct mail message and you can track the responses in real-time.
What Are Your Insurance Marketing Ideas?
Personalization is one of the most important insurance marketing ideas you can add to your marketing strategy. Whatever type of insurance you’re selling via direct mail, personalization provides an invaluable boost. MSP can help you personalize your direct mail campaigns. Contact an MSP representative today to talk about how we can help you reach your goals.
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