Twenty years ago, digital advertising looked like it might render direct mail obsolete. Marketing online was supposed to be quick, easy, and provide instant access to statistics about its effectiveness.

It hasn’t turned out exactly as predicted. A fair number of consumers use adblockers, so they never even see ads. Statistics can be misleading or so generalized that they are not helpful in evaluating a campaign. And your generic ad buy might mean that your business shows up on a website that’s not relevant or appropriate.

It turns out that direct mail never went away after all. For insurance agents who take the time to do it right, direct mail offers some great advantages.

The Cost Factor

It’s possible to design, produce and send a direct-mail campaign to a clearly defined audience for just a few thousand dollars (or hundreds, depending on your audience size). Your biggest investment will come on the front end as you define a target audience and decide on your main selling points.

The good news is that many direct mailing companies have services to help with design and mailing lists. Printing companies often offer free templates or low-cost design assistance and have the expertise to advise you on paper stock, ink colors and other technical printing aspects. A mailing house can help you define and refine your mailing list, in addition to handling the mailing itself.

The Nostalgia Factor

For consumers who don’t go online very much, direct mail is clearly a better choice than digital advertising. But don’t underestimate how much the younger demographic appreciates a good blast from the past, too.

A well-designed direct mail piece can elicit positive, nostalgic feelings for your business, making you come across as steadfast and trustworthy. You just need to put some thought into the message your mailer sends. A huge, glossy 8.5×11 mailer may be perceived as too wasteful or slick to some audiences, while a smaller postcard on recycled matte paper can convey a “good corporate citizen” feel.

The Spaghetti Factor

Another one of the disadvantages of digital advertising is that you have no idea who might be seeing your ad. Even if you choose to advertise on specific websites, anyone with a computer can go to that site, and there’s no telling if they will be shopping for insurance. It’s like throwing spaghetti against the wall to see if it sticks.

Direct mail is highly targeted. It’s possible to choose the exact households you want to receive your marketing, and delivery through the U.S. Postal Service is very reliable. After it arrives, someone at that address will see your message, even if it’s just for a few seconds, which is something you can’t say with any certainty when it comes to digital advertising. Plus, your mailer could potentially be sitting on a counter for days or even weeks, providing valuable repeat impressions of your name and message.

Ready to try a direct-mail campaign? Your first step is identifying the audience you want to reach. Give your Hometown Quotes Regional Director a call at 800-820-2981, and they’ll help you with advice about target audiences.

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Bailey Hubner

Bailey Hubner is the Email Marketing Specialist at Hometown Quotes and Staff Writer for Hometown University.

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