The Power of Insert Marketing

Did you know that $3.46 trillion was spent online in 2019! The explosion of eCommerce in recent years, plus the recent lockdown means more people than ever are purchasing online, seeing a massive increase in daily parcels dispatched.

However, we recently conducted a survey and only 35% of business surveyed who send out daily parcels use inserts! The other 65% of companies are missing out on a vast and very cost-effective marketing channel, plus, potentially a second revenue stream. In this blog post, we are going to go through what inserts are and why you should be using insert marketing, plus tips on how to start.

A quick look

  • What is insert marketing?
  • A great marketing channel
  • Cross-selling your products
  • Selling advertising space
  • Buying advertising space

 What is insert marketing?

This might seem like a silly question. It’s a marketing piece that goes into a parcel or newspaper that advertises your brand. Yes, this is accurate, but inserts are so much more than that! This versatile channel can be utilised in the following ways:

Put your messages in your parcels: This allows the cross-selling of products without paying for postage.

Putting your messages in 3rd party dispatches: Doing this allows you to advertise in similar brands dispatches increasing your chances of converting customers.

Insert Swaps: This cost-neutral option allows you to swap inserts with a 3rd party without paying for space. You advertise for them, and they advertise for you.

Affinity / Co-branded inserts: This is the same as either allowing inserts in your boxes or your adverts in 3rd parties, but they are co-branded. Doing this further enforces the perceived impression of endorsement.

A Great Marketing Channel

Inserts work because they are always seen, the customer will never not open a package. You know customers already have an interest in the industry you are in (sportswear or gyms, for example). Plus they are in the right frame of mind for your marketing, as they are already reading about or opening a parcel from a company within your industry; whether that is you or a 3rd party.

Inserts are unique because they tap into the trust element of marketing. We all know that direct mail is the most trusted form of marketing, but well-targeted inserts could challenge direct mail for that title.

When a customer sees an insert in the package they have received, it triggers the subconscious. They start thinking that if this brand, that I trust and love, endorse this company enough to advertise them, then I can trust them too. This perceived endorsement of trust drives up interaction and ultimately, conversion rates.

The fact that this channel is massively underused is a perfect and easy way to cut through the noise. Our own research shows that more than half of companies who post daily packages don’t use insert marketing in any form (Not including receipts).

Cross-selling your products

A cross-selling insert is one of the most cost-effective and highly targeted forms of marketing. Let me explain. You are already paying to send a parcel to a customers residence, so there is no postage charge. Additionally, the customer has just bought something from you. Therefore, you know the address is correct and that your messaging is resonating with them, most marketers would pay through the nose for data that up-to-date and accurate.

Don’t forget to include unique codes to track the results of each insert too. Download our Ultimate guide to offline marketing for a whole section on running insert campaigns.

Selling advertising space

If your company is sending out packages, then you could drive a second revenue stream by selling the advertising space within your packages. It’s easier than you might think. However, it can take up a lot of time managing. The easiest method would be to contact us as we can manage the whole process for you plus will give you access to our extensive network of connection to sell your space to.

However, it is possible to sell your own advertising space. Here are our 3 top tips to help you get started.

  • Profile your customer base to find what your demographic is. If you have this, it will make it easier for 3rd parties to decide to sell in your boxes.
  • Do your research. Enquire about buying advertising space to get a sense of how much people in your industry are selling their space for, so you are not pricing yourself out the market.
  • Build up the connections. You are going to want to sell space to different brands to keep it fresh for your customers. What’s the phrase about flogging a dead horse? Customers suffer from insert blindness after a while, if this happens, conversion rates will drop, and 3rd parties will not want to advertise with you.

Buying advertising space

The other side of selling your advertising space is buying advertising space. The advice is very similar to selling space; the easiest method is to contact us and get access to our ever-growing network of brands who are selling space (many of which we manage). But again it is possible to purchase your own.

Profile your customer base. This is for the same reason as selling space. If you do not know what demographic you currently sell to, how are you going to know which brand to choose to put your advert in?

Do your research. Check to see how many dispatches they are sending monthly and see if they have any case studies of conversion rates to ensure you are not paying over the odds.

Double-check their guidelines. Every company will have different delivery requirements and deadlines, so make sure you check these well ahead of delivery. It is also a good idea to check how the inserts are inserted. If a person on a packing line adds them, then you shouldn’t have many if any restrictions on size, shape etc. However, if their packing line is automated and they use a machine to add your insert to their box, then you may incur strict guidelines such as weight, flexibility, format and so on.


As you can see, insert marketing is a heavily trusted channel that is underused and versatile enough to fit any need. Whether that is cross-selling, selling or buying insert space. If you want to kickstart your growth after the lockdown, we can’t think of an easier way than inserts. Get in touch today to find out how PSE can help you.

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