There was a time when direct mail marketing campaigns tried to be all things to all consumers. It’s almost like businesses were saying: “Here’s our message, we hope you like it. And if you don’t, we’ll just have to live with it because it’s the best we can do.” The targeted marketing we know today didn’t exist yet. Luckily, modern-day direct mail marketing is vastly superior, thanks in part to variable data printing (VDP). Not only can you narrow your target market, but you can also speak to each customer individually. It’s personalized marketing and that’s a game-changing feature for your insurance marketing strategy.


VDP creates personalized marketing experiences that produce real results. The insurance businesses that succeed in acquiring and keeping new customers are the ones that truly connect with their audience on a personal level. So your brand needs to deliver the right messages to the right consumers at the right time. This gives you the best chance to win new customers—and keep them.


So how does VDP work? Let’s look at some examples that you can apply to your direct mail campaigns.


Design: How Color, Fonts, and Images Speak to Your Target Audience


graphic designIt doesn’t take consumers long to form an opinion of your direct mail piece. In fact, they’re going to decide whether to read your message in less than 10 seconds. So, your insurance marketing strategy has to begin with the way your direct mail piece looks. That means adjusting the colors, fonts, and images to match your customer’s preferences.


Think about your direct mail insurance marketing ideas. How can your design elements speak directly to your target audience? First of all, it will depend on what type of insurance you’re selling. For instance, auto insurance is much different than life insurance. Auto insurance marketing has become as much entertainment as it is a useful and necessary insurance offering. Top brands like Geico, Progressive, and State Farm incorporate celebrities, humor, and random hijinks to attract new customers. Life insurance direct mail marketing, on the other hand, typically brings a more somber tone to the advertising table while providing stability and peace of mind with its content.


Whatever type of insurance you’re marketing, VDP allows you to change certain aspects of your direct mail piece to appeal to different consumers. If you’re selling auto insurance to a varied audience, for example, consider just how different they are. For the millennials on your mailing list, you might want to take a more youthful approach with bold colors and images of younger drivers. The words and fonts you use should also speak to a younger audience. For older recipients, on the other hand, it’s probably best to be more conservative with your imagery and colors.


Use the data you have to create personalized marketing that speaks directly to your direct mail recipients. You’ll experience better response rates and higher ROI.


Demographics: You’ve Got Consumer Information, Use it


marketing demographicsSpeaking of data, almost 20% of consumers complain that the direct mail they receive isn’t relevant to their needs. That’s a tremendous waste of money for any insurance brand that’s trying to better target their mailings to improve response rates and ROI. Here are a few demographics to consider as part of your insurance agency marketing ideas.


  • Age. If you’re selling auto insurance to baby boomers (those born between 1946-1964), you should know that many people in this age group are putting off retirement to remain in the workforce. So they’re still driving to and from their job sites. This is the exact opposite of how it used to be and it directly affects how auto insurance marketers approach this age group. VDP allows you to adjust your message and marketing based on the age of the recipient. (Note: COVID-19 changed this philosophy for practically all commuters, but you get the idea.)
  • Marital and Family Status. Let’s say you’re single and you receive a piece of direct mail selling life insurance. The message is about taking care of your children if you die, but you don’t have children. That mailing likely goes straight into the trash, and that’s wasted money for your insurance brand. Studies reveal that roughly 20% of families include two parents and one or more children. Send that mail piece to them. Use your data to determine who would be the best fit for this type of message.
  • Renters vs. Home Ownership. As the urban population has increased over recent years, fewer people are buying homes. That means renter’s insurance is up and homeowner’s insurance is down. When you know how your potential customers are living—and where—it allows you to target your insurance offerings accordingly.


Insurance Marketing Strategy: Demographics Aren’t What They Used to Be


In the past, insurance brands focused their marketing efforts on older, white males. After all, that was the general demographic that was the most likely to buy their products and services. That’s not the case anymore, however. Today, people of color represent a growing share of buying power in the American economy. According to Catalyst:


“Latinx buying power ($1.7 trillion) surpasses the entire economies of all but 9 nations across the world. It is larger than the GDP of Canada but smaller than the GDP of Brazil.”


Treating your consumers like a monolith is a big mistake. Instead, with VDP, you can select one or more demographics and use the data to speak directly to each consumer. Now that’s personalized marketing that better serves your customers.


Geographic Data: Go Local with Your Insurance Marketing Strategy


local marketingIf your insurance brand operates in multiple locations, the geographic data you have about your customers is vital. As a result, local marketing will become a key element in your insurance marketing strategy. A direct mail marketing campaign can take on an entirely different (and more targeted) meaning for customers based on where they live. Plus, it’s important to know that your customers are going to be more comfortable buying from a local agent than doing it themselves online. According to Google, insurance shoppers are more likely to want to talk to a real person during all phases of their insurance buyer’s journey. That puts an added emphasis on making your local experience as outstanding as possible.


For example, you can provide special offers and/or direct contact details that are specific to a geographic location. Let’s say you’re creating an auto insurance marketing campaign. You could include the physical address (along with a map) for each customer’s local office and/or the name of the salesperson they can reach out to for more information. This serves a proven need and it provides a boost to your local marketing efforts. VDP adjusts the information without delaying the printing process. Plus, your customers get the valuable personalized marketing they require to trust your brand with their insurance needs.


QR Codes and PURLs: Marketing Personalization Made Multichannel


multichannel direct mailIf you want to take your insurance marketing strategy to the next level, consider adding a digital element to your direct mail marketing campaigns. It’s called multichannel marketing. This is a “best of both worlds” marketing approach that provides proven results. In fact, studies show that marketers who used direct mail as part of their multichannel campaigns saw an almost 20% increase in their ROI vs. marketers who used direct mail alone. When you’re insurance brand is looking for any edge it can get to sell more policies, multichannel marketing is a must.


Two of the most popular ways of adding a digital element to a printed direct mail piece are QR codes and personalized URLs (aka PURLs). Here’s an example. If you’re selling health insurance, you could set your direct mail campaign’s QR codes or PURLs to link to a dedicated web page built specifically for that customer. PURLs are effective in that you can use the customer’s name in the URL, but they’d have to manually type the address into their browser. The QR code is valuable because all it takes is a quick scan with a smartphone camera to access the corresponding web page.


Whether you use one or both of these methods, VDP creates a personalized marketing experience that speaks to each customer. And as an insurance marketer, you’ll enjoy the multichannel ROI benefits.


You Can Use VDP to Improve Your Insurance Marketing Strategy Today


MSP uses VDP to change multiple aspects of each direct mail piece without slowing down the printing process of your direct mail campaigns. As we learned, you can adjust the text, colors, or images from one printed piece to the next to speak to each recipient individually. By doing this, you can print as many personalized, targeted direct mail pieces as you want in a single run. Essentially, you’re printing one campaign, but you’re offering different variations based on your customer’s data—whether it be their age, gender, location, or any other demographic you desire. You can print 5,000 or five-million or more pieces of direct mail. VDP will keep the production process running without delay.


To learn more about how VDP can help improve your insurance marketing strategy, contact an MSP representative today to discuss your brand’s needs.

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