Know Your Audience: When Direct Mail Goes Wrong
Let's be honest: No one enjoys paying for auto insurance, but it's an important necessity. And since all car owners are required by law to carry insurance, you want know that your insurance provider knows you and takes care of you.
Apparently my auto insurance company doesn't know me that well — even though it tried really hard to seem like it did.
I recently received a direct-mail piece from my auto insurance company, GEICO, after I relocated my residence. The letter started out all well and good:
"Dear Joseph, Congratulations on your move!"
Good start, seeing as I recently moved. GEICO clearly knows me as one of its customers! (Or so I thought.)
"We hope you're settling in nicely. To start things off right in your new home, we're giving you the chance to save a lot of money on your auto insurance — and it won't take long at all!"
Still on the right track, I thought. For being a loyal, valued customer, GEICO is going to help me save money on my insurance I have since I moved. Awesome! (Or so I thought.)
"You could save $500 a year on your car insurance with GEICO."
Um … I already have GEICO. Don't you know that? You should know that. Or are you saying I could save $500 more? If so, I'm interested …
"… And since GEICO's new policyholders save an average of 15% a year, now is the perfect time to give us a call."
Wait, new policyholders? I've been with GEICO for years. Now I'm completely confused.
"Enjoy a free quote in about 15 minutes."
Good grief. GEICO clearly doesn't even know I already have my auto insurance through the company. That's bad. Really bad.
Truth be told, a better look at the outer envelope would have given me a clue. On the back, it reads, "GEICO could save you $500 on your auto insurance. Contact GEICO today for your free rate quote …"
Why would I need a free rate quote if I already have GEICO? I wouldn't, and I don't. This is a case of a company clearly dropping the ball. Yes, GEICO was on top of the fact that I moved … but it didn't even know I was already a customer. If I can find a more cost-effective alternative, I very well may leave for a better insurer that will actually realize I have a policy with it.
The moral of the story is simple. While nonprofits aren't trying to sell insurance policies, they are trying to engage, maintain and nurture relationships with donors. That means it's imperative to know your donors — and know that they are, in fact, already your donors. It's even more critical for nonprofits, since donors do not have to donate the way drivers have to buy insurance.
So always make sure you know your audience, and don't make this same mistake GEICO did. It could cost you more than just a donation — it could cost you loyal donors, major gifts and so much more.