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Marketing Can Help You Produce More Business
By Ray Jutkins   Printer Friendly Version

Traditionally, insurance has been sold on a personal basis. Salespeople developed close relationships. Direct-mail marketing was not "professional".

Today there 6 primary techniques for marketing insurance services -- #1 being used the most often and #6 being used the least often:

  1. Cold-calling and Telemarketing
  2. Client Referrals
  3. Direct-Mail Marketing
  4. Advertising
  5. Premiums and Specialties
  6. Promotion

Cold-calling and Telemarketing: Cold-calling will produce positive results, the price is often higher.

Referrals: Referrals are an excellent way to obtain new customers. It is unlikely that you will be able to build your client base solely on the basis of referrals.

Direct-mail Marketing: Direct mail is strictly a numbers game. It is relatively inexpensive -- when you can select the right audience.

Premiums and Specialties: Specialty items and premiums are useful marketing devices with one of the other promotional methods.

Playing the odds

The ideal arrangement is to reach the fewest people while achieving the most inquiries.

Cost-per-lead is the actual expense you pay to obtain the reply. Cost-per-sale is calculated by dividing the total expense figure by the number of sales obtained.

The true measure of a successful campaign will be your cost-per-sale. It does not matter how cheap leads may be, if they do not end up buying. Do not be overly concerned how expensive leads might be. If they are of high enough quality to make your cost-per-sale profitable, they are good leads.

Experienced financial services salespeople say they can close approximately 7% of decent leads. In my opinion, this figure is too low.

Direct-mail marketing

Direct-mail marketing programs have four basic components:

  1. A clearly defined target audience
  2. Creative, letter, brochure
  3. An offer
  4. A response vehicle

People decide quickly whether to read your mail or throw it away.

  • If they think it is important they will open and read it immediately.
  • If it just appears interesting they might save it in their reading material file.
  • If it does not appear to apply to them, but they think it might be of interest to a friend or associate, they pass it along.
A typical direct-mail package: Outgoing envelope, a letter, another enclosure, a reply card. To whet a prospect's appetite for more information.

A lead is valuable, so provide a quality fulfillment package.

Direct-mail alternatives

  • Insurance lead generation
  • Card Packs
  • Take-ones
  • To current customers: Statement Stuffers
  • For independent insurance brokers/agents: Mailers provided by others.
Where to mail: Home or Office?

Two reasons for sending financial offers to the home address:

  1. Prospects typically will not have their mail screened
  2. Personal, prefer to keep their finances away from the job scene.
Creating direct mail

One ingredient in the marketing of financial products and services that is essential in any direct-mail package is quality. Financial services business is quite personal, requiring a high level of confidence in you on the part of the potential customer. The service industry requires an image of quality and respectability to win customers.

Envelope packages

A good place to start is with the letter. You should use a letter. This is the only enclosure that can convey the slightest illusion of personalization -- even if it is preprinted in quantity.

  • Tell the prospects who you are
  • Describe the offer and explain how they will benefit
  • Explain how to reply and why

Studies indicate that 50% of prospects read the first line, and that is all they read. 80% will read the P.S. before the letter.

Advertising

It is estimated that households with a reasonable credit history are receiving as many as 10 mail offers in a single week. Many of these are credit card and home equity loan solicitations...with plenty of insurance plans and investment programs.

The problem with advertising financial services is that it appeals to a very small segment of the population. For most ads, it is believed that a minimum of three runs are required to maximize effectiveness.

Begin your selection of a target audience by reviewing the characteristics of your current customers.

Promotional campaigns should include plans to keep and reuse leads which have not become customers.

Plan to divide the results of your marketing effort into four categories. These groups should be utilized to generate further potential business as follows:

  1. Respondents who became customers are now part of your customer file.
  2. Respondents who were interested but not ready to act just yet should be kept in a special follow-up file to be approached at a time you feel appropriate (when they said they would have funds available, for example).
  3. Respondents who were not interested should be maintained in an old lead file. Including them in a subsequent direct mailing and contacting them by telephone as part of an "old lead" revival program usually produces excellent results, far above the level of purchased lists.
  4. Prospects you failed to contact (undeliverables, no answers), should be filed so you can check new efforts against that list and eliminate in future mailings.
Follow-up leads and combination programs

Outgoing telemarketing can be quite useful in conjunction with other promotional programs. It is usually better to precede the call with direct mail or advertising than the other way around.

60% of those surveyed wanted to receive information on financial services and sales materials through the mail rather than by any other means.

Continuity of marketing implies that a marketer should be delivering the message regularly to potential audiences.

These effects build even further if you do several ads and several mailings. This is due to the fact that you are achieving both frequency and continuity. The most common combination is direct mail and print ads. Radio and direct mail is another effective match. And telemarketing and direct mail work.

Flighting and pulsing

Flighting uses heavy marketing for some period of time, a break with no promotional activity, and then a lot of activity again.

Pulsing uses heavy marketing followed by a much lighter schedule (as opposed to none) and then heavy marketing again.

Planning combination programs

Since the primary advantage of multiple programs is their audience overlap and thus additional exposure to your message, any marketing effort that enhances the overlap is bound to produce better results.

Using the exact same list for a second (and more!) mailing, or running the same ad in a given publication several times, is the surest way to make multiple impressions on the same audience. The benefits of this approach can be enhanced with additional activities.

A common theme is a must in a multi-part program.

Following up leads

There are four components to the follow-up process:

  1. Fulfillment
  2. Sales calls...the phone calls, letters or visits in which you answer questions and attempt to close the sale.
  3. Record keeping and results
  4. Analysis

Prompt fulfillment is important. What you send is equally critical.

Your call should be made about four days after you mail literature. Never throw away an old lead.

Record keeping
The amount of sales is a cumulative total of the dollar volume of all sales resulting from the campaign.
The average sale is calculated by dividing the total sales figure by the number of sales.
The cost-per-sale is computed by dividing the cost of the campaign as already calculated by the total number of sales.
The profit/loss figure is the difference between your income from the program and its cost.
The return on investment is the profit (or loss) divided by the cost of the program.

A lead, no matter how old and cold, is usually a better prospect than a random name selected for a cold-call.

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