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Category: Loyalty · 6 min read

The Who, When, Where and Why of Using Direct Mail

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on August 30, 2018

author profile photo

on August 30, 2018

Consumer Receiving Insurance Seminar Mailer

It might be cliché to point this out, but it’s also very true: We’re living in a digital age. And when it comes to client outreach and retention marketing, digital media, like newsletters, email campaigns and Facebook posts, provide easy-to-activate solutions to marketing problems. 

In fact, many businesses rely entirely on digital outreach to promote their brand and maintain their relationships, outright ignoring paper mailers, postcards, letters, and brochures. According to the Data & Marketing Association, the amount of direct mail marketing in the U.S. has steadily declined over the past decade, with circulation of direct mail pieces dropping about 1.9 percent each year. But that’s a shame, because while digital marketing is powerful, so is direct mail.

Studies have found that reading a message on paper activates areas of the brain associated with deeper learning.

The Data and Marketing Association also notes that while the volume has gone down, response rates are up–nearly doubled among some demographic groups. Plus, studies have found that reading a message on paper activates areas of the brain associated with deeper learning.

So, no matter your messaging goals or audience, consider the role direct mail can play in your overall marketing strategy. Here are some keys to consider. 


Target Your Recipients Wisely

To get the most from direct mail, it’s essential to create targeted, specialized mailing lists. Spend time developing and customizing recipient lists that are suited to the message you’re sending, in order to maximize your return on investment (ROI). Printing and postal costs can make direct mail more expensive than other marketing methods, so the time you put into curating your mailing list is an essential step. Direct mail’s sweet spot is with a smaller list of prospects that you’re most excited about working with, or who you know are most likely to respond (for large lists of thousands of unvetted contacts, there’s always email).

 

Make Your Message Memorable

Because direct mail is tangible, studies have found that after one week, direct mail messaging is remembered more than messages sent from other platforms.

But how can you maximize direct mail’s messaging-retention potential? The key is to make sure that your direct mail message is clear and direct. Try to limit your messaging goals to one or two ideas per piece, so readers aren’t overwhelmed by information. Often, financial professionals will try to invite their customers to a seminar, offer a free financial review, ask them to schedule an appointment, and have them reach out for more information, all in one direct mailer. This immediately overwhelms your customer, and can leave them confused on what to do next. Instead of offering five different things, drive home the idea that you’re nearby, experienced, and available to help. Don’t bombard your customers with information. Simply state how you can help them and give them a way to schedule an appointment with you. 

Studies have shown that you have about eight seconds (that’s reportedly the average American’s attention span) to grab your readers’ attention in a piece of direct marketing, so get right to the point. Don’t use industry jargon or complex terms. Instead, explain how your services help your customers, and try to limit yourself to one or two sentences. Your goal here is to keep things simple. Be sure to include a clear call-to-action, asking recipients to call, email, or go online for more information about the services you offer.

You should also take time to consider the mailing format, such as a postcard, business letter, brochure, or oversized mailer, that best suits the amount of information and overall perception you want to convey. The tone of your message might be formal (think tri-fold invitation to a dinner seminar) or friendly (a postcard with news about updates to your services). Either way, direct mail pieces present a proven channel to get your brand and offerings noticed. 

 

It’s All About Presentation 

With direct mail, styling is essential. You want content and graphics that are engaging and accessible, so recipients want to read what you’re sending. 

Whenever possible, integrate images, graphics, or infographics that engage the reader. These could be statistics, a photo of yourself, or an image showing a professional helping others. Your image choice can work as hard – if not harder – than your written message, so choose carefully, to make sure it supports your message. And be sure to leave room to highlight your company name, logo, and contact information – giving this important information visual weight will make sure prospects can easily figure out how to be in touch.

 

Identify Partners

To maximize your direct mail campaign success, identify partner vendors that offer printing, sorting, and other services at competitive rates. Brokers International can help connect you with print vendors who often offer printing rates below what’s available on the open market. That means you’ll be able to secure a printing team that’s ideally suited to your project, at an affordable rate to help ensure your campaign’s success. 

 

Direct Mail Supports Your Other Marketing Campaigns

By engaging potential customers across an array of platforms, you’ll have the best opportunity to showcase your services and the ways that you can assist clients.

Adding direct mail to your overall marketing strategy allows you to amplify the impact of similar messaging on other platforms, whether online, in broadcast, on social media, or via email. 

By engaging potential customers across an array of platforms, both in print and digitally, you’ll have the best opportunity to showcase your services and the ways that you can assist clients as they investigate insurance products and retirement options tailored to their needs.

 

Learn More About Direct Marketing

Brokers International can help you build your business through effective direct mail campaigns, and can provide you with a customizable library of direct mail pieces to fit your business. Learn more in our Loyalty Builder section, or by contacting Brokers International’s experienced staff today.

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Written By

Scott Wright

Chief Marketing Officer

Scott Wright is the Chief Marketing Officer of Brokers International. Scott has more than 25 years of experience in building equity and accelerating profit growth across multiple categories and brands, including Crest toothpaste, Pantene Pro-V, Old Spice, Valvoline and VISA. Scott and his team are focused on developing innovative marketing programs and tools that will deliver growth for our partner agencies and their financial professionals.

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