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Direct Mail is No Dinosaur

Has direct mail marketing has gone the way of the dinosaurs? Nope. Direct mail marketing still works like a charm.

We live in an age of information overload. Direct mail is among the few effective ways to deliver tangible marketing material straight to potential customers’ hands.

Direct Mail is a Uniquely Successful Marketing Opportunity

One sector of the population responds less to social media and email marketing campaigns. This group of people generally has more interest in insurance products than the average 20-something social media addict. The Pew Research Center reports that around 60 percent of senior citizens own computers, and 59 percent of people over the age of 65 use the Internet. On the other hand, of all adults over 18, three-quarters own computers, and the percentage possessing smart phones and tablets far exceeds that for seniors.

Additionally, according to Pew, the rate of Internet use falls rapidly among older seniors. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2011, the rate of Internet usage for those up to 59 years old was between about 76 percent and 82 percent, whereas those over 55 had a usage rate of less than 62 percent.

What do all those numbers mean? It means there are a considerable number of prime potential insurance leads who are never reached by Internet marketing. 

Using Direct Mail to Generate Insurance Leads

In recent years, direct mail marketing was somewhat lost in the shuffle of the email and social media marketing boom. However, its reemergence shows there are plenty of effective ways to make it work for your insurance firm:

  1. Using direct mail does not mean you cannot take advantage of technology. Use the best resources with the highest quality databases and filtering programs to create a truly targeted list of insurance leads. 
  2. Even basic word processing enables users to create personalized letters and documents through mail merges. Make it more personal and address every recipient by name.
  3. Direct mail marketing works well with other marketing platforms. Use it to back up email campaigns or social media marketing. It gives people the opportunity to review something they saw on the computer or heard over the phone.

Some of the best direct mail campaigns are time-tested favorites that have worked successfully for years. 

  1. People love paper coupons, and there are plenty of ways to use this technique to generate insurance leads, from including response cards or offering vouchers for coffee and donuts at your office.    
  2. A beautifully designed mailer that includes an attractive refrigerator magnet is a visually appealing and tangible way to remind a potential client that your firm’s services are available to them.
  3. Paper is a potent reminder of your firm. An insurance agency that sends out a list of Internet safety tips for seniors, or the top 10 early bird restaurants in the area may find people keep the list and are repeatedly reminded of the firm and their services.

Cost Containment Through Direct Mail Marketing

Direct mail is economical. The price for a list of online leads varies, but is often quite steep. The USPS offers several options for direct mail services. The Every Door Direct Mail program (EDDM) even provides an online tool for picking delivery area routes, along with options for delivering the mailings to the post office.

Not everyone is a fan of EDDM, and those with access to postage meters and large-scale printing providers have a slew of other ways to get their papers into the hands of potential clients. Because EDDM requires every address in a chosen area to receive the mailing, it is not great for targeted marketing and lead generation. Using targeted lists and other mailing methods may work out better.  

If the price of postage makes you think twice about using direct mail, before making a final decision, be sure to compare the price to send a postcard against online pay-per-click rates.

A Note on Dinosaurs and Extinction

Step away from the direct mail concept for a moment, and think about the common misperception that direct mail has “gone the way of the dinosaurs.” The evidence backing up this statement is wrong. Let’s start with the dinosaur. Yes, unless you have seen the Loch Ness Monster in person, or have taken the Jurassic Park movies to heart, there are no dinosaurs left on earth. However, evolutionists, including experts at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum are pretty certain that birds evolved from dinosaurs. One could argue that the dinosaurs never truly left us. 

Direct mail never really disappeared either. Has it changed to meet the needs of information age marketers? Of course. However, it still consists of the same concepts and methods used for decades. Additionally, just as the L.A. Natural History Museum explains that many of the characteristics previously believed to occur only in birds – feathers, wishbones – have been found in the dinosaur fossil record, many of the practices used in direct marketing in the mid-20th century are still present today. Some have even hopped over to other forms of marketing.

Making Direct Mail Pay Off

If a direct mail campaign does not garner the results hoped for, be honest, and consider whether or not you put in sufficient effort in contacting any responses. If the contact is not made quickly, the lead is likely lost. Just like any other insurance leads generation operation, contacting the individual and doing so quickly is paramount in closing a lead. 

Direct mail is still used by many leading companies. Furthermore, few marketers know how to leverage direct mail campaigns to elicit the highest number of insurance leads. Doing it the right way may make direct mail marketing seem like the most innovative, least-dinosaur-like marketing strategy available today.

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