Whether you’re using email or snail mail, the insurance sales letter remains a vital piece of the insurance sales and marketing toolbox. However, it’s important to establish expectations and position your communication for success. With those goals in mind, below are three truths and techniques to get your insurance sales letters on the right track.
Truth #1: There’s no ideal length. Some effective letters are short, while others are long.
- Technique: Most insurance copywriters agree that a marketing letter needs to be long enough to cover the persuasive elements. I follow the “4P” persuasive formula – Paint a picture, make a promise, offer proof and push for response. However, there are many other formulas that accomplish the same sequence of events. For example, the “ACCA” formula - Awareness, Comprehension, Conviction, Action or “AIDA” - Attention, Interest, Desire, Action.
The point is that it’s more important to cover the persuasive sequence than it is to fit all the words on one page. Many people feel that two-page letters actually perform better. What about the old 10- and 12-page letters?
Longer letters are generally used when the letter is expected to create the conversion all by itself. Readers have greater tolerance for long letters when the topic pertains to something they are passionate about, such as health or beauty.
Shorter letters are used when the letter is intended to move the reader forward in the buying cycle, but another action – such as a phone call or sales follow up – is needed to make the sale. I believe shorter letters also are best for email – many people don’t have patience for extensive scrolling while reading on their smartphones.
Not very many people are super passionate about insurance, and very rarely do they read a letter and immediately buy coverage. More often, they wait until their renewal before taking action. For these reasons, most insurance modern sales letters are shorter than four pages.
Truth #2: One-hit-wonders are rare in insurance copywriting.
- Technique: As mentioned in #1, prospects rarely buy insurance immediately following their first exposure to your company. The problem is that buying insurance is boring. There’s no glamor, prestige or instant gratification. Maybe there’s the chance to save money. Perhaps there’s increased peace of mind. But these benefits don’t make the heart beat faster like a dark, rich chocolate bar or a fast, red Mustang.
Because insurance sales letters rarely evoke passionate reactions, repetition and follow up are essential. Sure - 22 percent response rates occasionally happen – but usually only when there’s an unmet need, a big problem and a really unique and compelling offer. The rest of the time, you need to plan for low response rates and a lot of follow up. Plan to communicate with prospects at least 12 times a year, and do something really attention-grabbing 90 to 120 days before the x-date.
Truth #3: You can’t sell anything until there is a NEED.
- Technique: In the insurance industry, prospects are often unaware that they have a need. They don’t spend much time thinking about insurance – especially if they’re on a monthly payment plan and don’t have to take a big financial hit every year. Therefore, your letter has to establish need before it does anything else. This is why “painting a picture” in the beginning of your sales letter is crucial. You must evoke an emotional trigger such as fear, desire, guilt or prestige.
One of the biggest mistakes I see when reviewing insurance marketing letters, is that insurance marketers jump right into product features and benefits before taking a moment to pull some emotional triggers. Resist the urge!
Now that you know these three truths and techniques, you’re one step closer to a successful insurance marketing campaign. Contact us if you need insurance copywriting assistance. And, if you haven’t already done so, subscribe to our blog in the upper right corner of this screen to receive more insurance marketing tips and tricks.