How to Use Print Advertising for Generating Insurance Leads

Fran Majidi
January 18, 2019
print ads for cheap insurance leads

As an insurance agent you’re always looking for the most efficient ways to reach people. The best agents know how to maximize leads by squeezing the most out of each dollar they invest in advertising. Many successful agents do not have a large advertising budget but buy leads from tech agencies who do the footwork for them. Let’s face it, advertising takes time, human capital and money. Still, investing in all channels of advertising (digital, print and radio) is very important as you work to gain exposure. In this session we’ll focus on print advertising and all the different ways you can create ads that generate calls from prospects. In the end, we let you decide if you want to do the work or if you’d prefer to buy leads with these campaigns worked into their value.

Acquiring Insurance Leads Through Newspapers Ads

While we dream about having a budget big enough to print a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal ($200,000+ ouch!) or the New York Times ($150,000!), the reality is that most independent agents have to look to more affordable, smaller publications and trade publications, which can cost as little as a couple of hundred dollars.

The cheapest ads are 2”x 2” (small) and should run regularly for several consecutive weeks and months, bearing with the same message. Remember that the longer you run the same ad, the more effective it will be in getting your brand message across to viewers. You’ll also earn the biggest discounts.

It’s important not to neglect print ads because not all your prospects are in their 20s and 30s and using social media to make purchasing decisions. It’s tempting to forgo the more expensive, traditional forms of advertising but it’s wise to invest at least a portion of your budget to the task if you are not buying leads. Leads generating companies are already doing this work for clients like yourself, who would rather close the deal than fish for clients.

Local papers and magazines are the most affordable places to advertise your services. You may even be able to barter a continuously running column if you enjoy writing. Local publications that are distributed for free need columnists. If you can convince them to let you write a column about personal finance, you may even be able to run an ad regularly for free. What a great way of finding insurance leads and establishing yourself as a thought leader! If this just isn’t for you, there are plenty of websites created by ad-tech companies like SmartFinancial and they get as much if not more traffic than local publications.

How to Get Insurance Leads from Magazine Advertising

Many insurance agents make the mistake of spending tons of money advertising in flashy car magazines to sell Auto Insurance but the fact is that most drivers are not car enthusiasts just because they own and operate a car. You may get some return on that investment but when you consider the fact that Costco is selling tons of insurance to people with family vans, Car & Driver may not be the best place to dump your entire advertising budget. Local magazines focused on local happenings can be very promising. Publications focusing on the real estate market may be suitable if you sell Homeowners Insurance. Any print publication that gets your message across to a home or auto shopper works.

Unlike digital advertising, magazine and newspaper ads are difficult to track unless you ask your leads to mention the ad. Don’t expect your advertising to bring in clients right away either. Print advertising takes some time to gain traction.

Buy Advertorials to Increase Insurance Leads

What’s great about advertorials is that readers don’t know that you wrote it. Most people don’t know that this word (usually written discreetly on the page) means that the content was produced by the advertiser.

Advertise in the DMV Driver Handbook

While there is now the option of advertising on the tv screens at any local DMV, it’s helpful to remember that the DMV Driver Handbook (driver’s manual) is print advertising worth considering. The back cover may be too expensive but black-and-white advertising within the pages may fit your budget. If you offer competitive rates for new drivers, this is the perfect place to let people know about your business. Most new drivers pick one of these up at some point.

Get Listed: The Yellow Pages

There are perks to showing up in an online search for if you have no other content online. Also, advertising in the Yellow Pages is very low, compared with newspaper and magazine advertising (the rate for a business card size ad can be as low as $250, depending on region. For a full-page ad, you’re looking to spend $2,500-$5,000 a page.

Direct Mail for Leads

With direct mail marketing you are sending promotional materials to prospective leads. This could be a postcard, a printed coupon or a letter explaining all the products and services you have to offer. While advertising online is all the rage now, the fact is that direct mail has the highest rates of conversion. Target specific regions with a postcard advertising $25-$50 gift cards for referrals.

Direct mail is more memorable because you see and touch a postcard, using two senses, not just one, which is all you use when you check your crammed email inbox. Studies have also shown that recipients of direct mail find it to be less confusing too, which is interesting, being that digital and direct mail campaigns often have the same or similar wording. If you make your direct mail promotional materials interactive or three-dimensional, you’re twice as likely to get a positive response than if you simply send a letter or a postcard. A great example of a successful interactive direct mail campaign is what IKEA did with a pop-up little table to show how easy the real tables are to assemble. Now, go ahead and brainstorm about how to apply this idea to the various lines of insurance you’re looking to sell.

Billboards and Bus Stops

Billboards have been around for ages, but with new technology they are changing and becoming interactive. Some are digital while others emit a smell or play music. With all of these advancements and achievements, your creativity with billboard advertising is boundless. However, there’s a reason you don’t often see billboards for independent agents. If you do decide to buy one, put all your marketing ducks in a row before going public. Your logo and the image you use to sell insurance will be most important. So will words. Because people are driving past billboards, they won’t have time to read. Get your message across with a handful of words. Less is more. Think of the classic Apple ad, “Think Different.” That type of messaging works very nicely for billboards. If you can’t stop yourself from writing full sentences for your billboard ad, this may not be the right medium for you. And that’s okay because rates of return from billboard ads are small. If you’re looking for direct response, try another channel.

As for bus stops, your ads will get seen by people who don’t own cars. This may not be your best bet if you’re avoiding high-risk drivers (a DUI will get you on a bus in no time) and new drivers (also higher risk). However, if you’re looking to write these types of policies, there is great potential to get seen by people shopping for cars or considering their options after getting their licenses reinstated.

Insurance Leads from Yearbook Ads

This is a cheap way to get seen by people you target based on where they live. You also know three things about your prospects: they have at least one child, most likely own at least one car and they rent or own a home. You may also be looking at two different households if the parents of the child are divorced, which means even more homes and cars. The greatest part of a yearbook ad is that it has a long shelf life. With that said, yearbooks collect a lot of dust over the years. While many argue that this is a sure fire way to burn money because so many ads exist on those pages, you can’t beat the rates and it’s where you can afford to go up to a full-page ad, no problem.

Use Mailback Inserts

As long as you prepay the postage required to pop these back in the mail, chances are that you will get responses, especially if you have a drawing with prizes. This is a great opportunity to gather contact information and possibly some other pertinent information, like if your prospect owns a home or rents one; if they have one car or two; and if they own a business. Don’t expect to get a majority of the inserts back, but if you giveaway a valuable prize (a fitbit, an apple TV or a tablet), you’ll get some responses for sure. Make sure to briefly message these prospects with your marketing materials and make everything as colorful as possible. Don’t forget your logo and make sure to make your contact information is prominently displayed on the inserts.

Door Hangers for Insurance Advertising

Yes, the famous hotel do-not-disturb signs. Door hangers are more likely to be seen and not swept away by the wind. If you’ve found that direct mail doesn’t have a good ROI, this may be a useful alternative. Unlike a circular or a mailed postcard, a door hanger is interactive because the tenant has to take it off the doorknob. It works better than snail mail because the recipient is more apt to actually read it. Most mailed promotional items (“junk mail”) get thrown away without being reviewed at all. Door hangers get the job done, but they require some footwork -- literally!

You can extend the shelf life of door hangers by adding something of value to it, like a useful calendar on the back. The ROI with hangars is high, especially if it contains a coupon. Visit here to see how some of the big insurance companies use coupons.


How Insurance Leads Work

When you buy a lead from a reputable technology company with smart platforms like SmartFinancial you have a whole team of people working on these types of campaigns for you. In addition, that team works for you in the digital realm and in print/radio. It’s always to invest broadly in your own campaigns, but buying leads may end up being more economical in terms of money and time. An ad-tech company like SmartFinancial already has the technology and know-how in place whereas you’ll be inventing the wheel. Remember that not all leads are a sure thing, however. You still need to have persistence, charm and the power of persuasion to close with clients.


We wish you luck on whichever campaigns listed here suit your business model.