SeQuel’s targeted digital marketing strategy helps specialty insurer drive double-digit sales increase

In early 2017, a specialty insurer contracted with SeQuel Response to test digital marketing tactics in support of a direct mail campaign, with the goal of increasing quote volumes and insurance sales.

From April to June 2017, SeQuel’s digital campaign resulted in:

  • The introduction of nearly 20,000 new qualified prospects to the client’s brand via custom content
  • 1,515 click-to-quote conversions at a modest $49 cost per action
  • Statistically significant display ad and Facebook creative learnings
  • A new landing page control via A/B testing

Overall, the client experienced year-over-year growth of more than 20 percent, and credits much of this to SeQuel’s integrated direct mail and digital campaign.


About the Client

The client is a specialty insurance underwriter that provides value-added insurance solutions for a range of niche vehicles and markets.


Client Challenges

In an industry dominated by household-name competitors, the client sought to increase market share in a particular niche insurance market. Unlike its competitors, the client did not have the luxury of subsidizing huge TV ad buys and other mass marketing efforts. Instead, the client focused its relatively limited budget on a highly targeted direct-to-consumer campaign.


SeQuel Strategy

After a comprehensive review of the client’s goals, current efforts, and competitive strengths, SeQuel recommended a complementary digital strategy designed to increase brand awareness, website traffic, and quote volume.

Some digital tactics, such as household and Facebook targeting of people who also received a direct mailing, were designed specifically to provide lift to SeQuel’s direct mail campaign. Other tactics—Facebook ads, programmatic display ads, Gmail ads and a conversion-focused landing page—were deployed as standalone digital tactics designed to generate incremental conversions.


Winning landing page in A/B test

During SeQuel’s initial analysis of the client’s web user experience, SeQuel strategists immediately saw an opportunity to increase conversions with a landing page test. The client’s control landing page, while focused on the desired click-to-quote action, assumed a visitor’s familiarity with both the brand and the key benefits of the product. Recognizing that the job of a digital ad, whether paid search, paid social or display, is simply to solicit a click versus a conversion, SeQuel created a landing page that made more effort to introduce the client and highlight the benefits of the company’s niche insurance policies, under the hypothesis that providing more reasons to convert would improve results. SeQuel then used Google Analytics Content Experiments to deploy an A/B test against the client’s control.

SeQuel’s challenger page was A/B tested in both the direct mail and the standalone digital campaigns, in each case beating the control by 20 percent and 16 percent, respectively.


Facebook ad campaign spikes brand awareness and delivers low CPAs

Given the client’s relatively low brand awareness versus competitors, SeQuel employed its “Qualify and Convert” Facebook prospecting strategy. This two-step approach uses paid content promotion to introduce new Facebook audiences to a brand, creating awareness and interest among most likely customers (identified based on predictive modeling, demographic, interest, and behavior data). Qualify & Convert also leverages Facebook’s relevance score metric to drive traffic and conversions at a significantly lower cost per acquisition.

The execution of this strategy involved SeQuel writing and publishing a blog post about the “top 10 tips” for buying this particular type of insurance, designed to introduce prospects to the client and establish the company’s credibility by offering “insider tips” in an interview format featuring two of the client’s seasoned customer-facing service representatives.

For the “Qualify” phase of the campaign, SeQuel created Facebook newsfeed ads in several different copy and image combinations to promote the blog post, and then tested these ads across multiple audience segments, including a Facebook Look-Alike audience that SeQuel created from the CRM file of the client’s customers, several product-brand interest segments, and a segment based on the recent purchase of a product the client insures. In SeQuel’s test, a nuanced blend of look-alike and recent product-purchase audiences delivered the lowest cost per click (CPC) at $0.20. With this learning, SeQuel optimized spend toward this segment, ultimately driving 20,000 highly engaged new users to the custom content at a very low overall CPC of $0.33, and a retargeting pixel was dropped on all visitors who clicked through to the content.

On subsequent Facebook sessions, prospects who had viewed the blog were served retargeting ads with offer-focused messages (“get a quote”) that linked to the conversion-focused landing page. More than 8,400 users were driven back to the page, resulting in 437 click-to-quote conversions at a $14 cost per conversion. Overall, SeQuel’s Facebook Qualify and Convert campaign drove 575 conversions at a very attractive $32 cost per conversion.


Programmatic display campaign bolsters heavy-up campaign results   

With competitive insurance rates in Denver and Minneapolis/St. Paul, the client turned to SeQuel to help maximize results in those markets with a “heavy-up” campaign. SeQuel recommended a display prospecting campaign targeted at multiple product interest segments, including web users determined to be “in-market” for buying the product. SeQuel designed two sets of display ads for A/B testing across these segments and drove traffic to the landing pages designated for the A/B test noted above.

Across 17 million impressions, the campaign generated more than 21,000 clicks and 621 conversions at a $49 cost per conversion. It also produced a winner and valuable learnings from the A/B display test.

Ad A (featuring the standalone product), while having a nearly identical click-through rate (0.14%) as version B, had a 96 percent higher conversion rate (2.75% vs. 1.4%) at a 99 percent level of confidence. This creative learning, obtained midway through the campaign, was subsequently applied and tested in the Facebook campaign creative, resulting in a 57 percent lower cost per conversion than the other Facebook creative in rotation.


A successful selling season

 These digital efforts, combined with SeQuel’s direct mail campaign, helped drive a more than 20 percent year-over-year increase in sales for the client. The client’s director of insurance business for this particular product line has since referred SeQuel to her colleagues responsible for marketing other lines of business for the company.

“SeQuel helps us keep setting the bar higher and higher. I especially value their ability to quickly see trends and adjust. I am not worried about constantly watching results when I know SeQuel has tabs on it. I’m very grateful to their entire team for being such great partners.”

-Kerri, Director of Customer Experience