In this day and age, with more and more communication occurring electronically instead of via the post office, one might think that direct mail has become a somewhat less relevant and compelling means of marketing annuities. However, done properly, a direct mail campaign can be very successful and can lead to a substantial uptick in business.                    

Direct mail enables advisors to inexpensively target a fixed indexed annuities (FIA) message to a specific audience with a personalized touch. While it’s difficult to gauge the success of other types of marketing strategies, direct mail results can be measured if the advisor takes steps to track who responds to the messages. 

There are three basic components to direct mail marketing: the list, the message and the offer.

1. Compile the all-important list.

It’s essential that you target the right individuals. You can put together your own list or buy lists of individuals who fit into your preferred demographic, including age group, gender, occupation, income and family size. Segment the list so you can send specific messages targeted to each group.

According to CRM Trends, the list is the most important part of a direct marketing campaign, whether it’s digital or offline. Advisors should spend the most time developing the list. “Far too many marketers spend an inordinate amount of time tweaking and wordsmithing creative ad copy and spend a fraction of their time on the actual list selection. Creative will only affect about 20% of your response rate. The other 80% will be list and offer,” says CRM Trends.

2. Get your message across.

Present your message in a way that’s relevant and tailored to your audience. You will want to develop separate, differentiated messages for the individual demographic segments reflecting your familiarity with the issues of most interest to these groups. For instance, your message may highlight a fixed indexed annuity’s guaranteed lifetime payouts if you want to reach out to pre-retirees or retirees concerned about outliving their assets. Highlighting an FIA’s unique quality for benefitting from market upturns while removing downside risk is a message that resonates with risk-averse millennials.

Your message should convey that you understand their particular concerns and believe FIAs could be an ideal solution to their problems. Don’t forget to demonstrate to prospects why FIAs are a good idea for their situations. “Many times prospects are unaware of their need for your services, so be sure to leave solid messages that can clearly point to a hole in the client’s retirement strategy that you can resolve with the use of safe retirement product,” says an article on the Retirement Think Tank site.

3. Make an offer.

The mailing piece extends an offer to the individuals on your list. Advisors must design their offer to be valuable to customers and take their needs into consideration. Figure out what would compel a prospective customer to respond to your mailer.

According to CRM Trends, the offer can mean the difference between success and failure in a direct marketing campaign. After you’ve described the unique features and benefits of FIAs that are appropriate to the market you’re trying to reach, detail your offer to the prospect, including a description of what the reader will get if he or she responds to your mailer.

CRM Trends recommends including a “hook” and an expiration date on the offer to encourage an immediate response, but warns against offering anything for free. “Offers that sound too rich, or that overshadow the product or service often will either stymie the response or attract the wrong type of customer,” says CRM Trends.

Include a call to action with the offer. Ask prospects for the action you’d like them to take, whether it’s returning a postcard or picking up the phone and calling your office.

Direct mail can be a great marketing strategy for advisors if they spend time developing their lists, crafting a targeted message and creating a compelling piece. Done well, direct mail can provide advisors with a steady stream of potential clients.