Yesterday when I opened my mail, I found a sales letter from a local State Farm agent. I’m sure you’ve seen a few of these too.
It’s always great to look at what others are doing and see how you can use it to improve your own insurance marketing. So what can we take from the largest auto insurance company in the country?
CELL PHONE: This agent included an office AND a cell phone number in multiple places. I have no clue if it’s his actual cell phone, but it does make him come across as available and personally invested.
PHOTO: State Farm is known for great branding. Agents typically use one photo for years and they use it everywhere. This agent’s photo in the mailer was the same on the billboards in town. It makes him recognizable. Which makes people more likely to call him when they need a quote.
DISCOUNTS: State Farm talks about discounts in their commercials and this letter kept the same language (Discount Double Check). It also gave a clear way to talk about saving money without promising to save money. They aren’t saying “We’ll Save You HUNDREDS!” They’re just promising to review everything you’re eligible for and give you the best deal possible.
The NOT SO GOOD
PERCENTAGES: The letter gave tons of discounts and percentages everywhere. I counted seven references to a percentage savings. Save 20% for this! Save 17% for this!! But I personally find this a bit vague. I know these letters go out in bulk, but wouldn’t a highly targeted mailer that gave a specific dollar amount be more effective and convincing? Yes. No one really expects to save 50%.
Better choice? Target a specific person with a specific savings. You have a teenage driver? We offer these discounts which will save you $XXX.
AUTO SIGNATURE: The fake handwritten signature. It makes it look like bulk junk mail, not a personal letter. Yes, I know it’s time consuming. (And I know this didn’t come directly from his office, it had Illinois postage.) But it would seem more authentic with real ink on the page.
Better choice? Sign your own mail! Or have a staff person do it for you. But make sure the consumer feels like it’s a letter from a real person.
DISCLAIMERS EVERYWHERE: Once again, I KNOW the insurance industry. I know huge companies have to be very careful with their claims. But it takes away from the message when there are **** everywhere. Every time they said something positive, they had to back it up with a disclaimer.
And even worse? They offer 50% savings with discounts and then put a big disclaimer that this varies from state to state.
Better choice? Avoid the situation all together. Don’t write anything you have to back up with reports. And be specific to your market. If a discount isn’t available in your state, don’t mention it to a prospect who lives there.
LACK OF TARGETED MARKETING: I see this a lot from captive agents. Big companies tend to offer agents discounted rates to send bulk mail to an entire area. And I’m sure it is effective on a BIG scale. (Hey, they are #1 for a reason!)
But if you’re a small agency, independent, or don’t have a huge direct mail budget…it’s not a great strategy.
Better choice? Target a specific list of people with a specific message. Like in our earlier example…send a letter only to parents of teen drivers. Or a letter to homeowners with a house worth over $200,000 and a boat. Talk to their individual needs, show how you can solve their problem, and you’ll see better results. Even better, start out using direct mail towards your own current clients in order to multi-line. It will give you a higher conversion rate, more profit, and some time to practice your direct mail skills.
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