How to reduce your benefits postage costs

How to reduce your benefits postage costs

Some of the UK's largest pension schemes still have a large percentage of their members receiving their pension information via a physical copy in the post, often resulting in some pretty hefty postage fees!

So, how do you reduce those costs? Well, there's an obvious tactic and that is - move them to digital!

I know, I know, some of your audience won't have email's or they rarely access them, some of them will still want a physical copy, but we are reducing, not removing.  Just think, how would your quarterly benefits statement postage costs look if a 10% reduction could be achieved?

Well, the first port of call is to get a "portal" where you can send your comms out from, which is a big job in itself but that is a topic for another conversation.  But those of you who have an already established portal/website/intranet, then there are some steps you can take to reduce your costs - 

1. SET GOALS - before undertaking any project, set goals of what your ideal scenario would look like i.e. 70% of the audience signed up for paperless statements.

2. SPLIT GOALS - you're not going to get everyone signing up in one big bunch (unless you offer them Krispy Kreme doughnuts as an incentive - who can turn those down?) so split those goals into campaigns i.e. Campaign 1 - 10% sign up for paperless statements

3. CALLS TO ACTION - have clear CTA's on your website so that users can register to go paperless (see our other blog post on Calls To Action HERE)

4. REPORT & LEARN - the final step is probably the most crucial because like we say, you aren't going to hit the nail on the head first time and get an overhaul of people wanting paperless.  This can be down to many things, style/tone of comms, engaging imagery etc... So you need to pay attention to each bit of communication that goes out, learn from it and adapt where necessary.  

Driving the traffic to the website is the easy part, converting them is the challenge, so you need your analytics in place to assess the effectiveness of the campaigns.  

We are the Pension Communication Partner for a FTSE 100 client with around 30,000 active members. In 2016 19,663 were not using the online portal, leaving the client with no choice but send printed copies of all communications to the members not online. A typical print example of sending a small booklet/leaflet including postage to around 10,000 members, can cost anywhere between £8,000-£15,000.

Through targeted and engaging communications, we increased the number of members online to 29,408 in 2017. With up to six communications being sent to members every year, there is a potential saving of up to £90,000 per annum.

View our communication page HERE

By Dan Mills - Creative Director

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Focus groups are a great way to gain insights from your audience, they can serve as the first step to developing business cases, gaining results at the end of campaigns or just checking in on your audience.

In a benefits capacity, they can be used to -

  • Get feedback for introducing new services such as websites or new benefits
  • Understanding where education needs to take place for instance with pension freedom options
  • Managing change such as provider switching

Whatever your motivation, following these steps will ensure you're well on your way to a successful focus group.


Work out your goals

Before anything, you need to work out what you want from the Focus Group. Are you ratifying new website designs? Working out how best to communicate to a group? Understanding your target audience better? 

It’s really important to be clear and set your goals as this will guide you on the right track from the off!


Define your target audience

Now that you’ve set your goals, you should have a clear idea of the audience you want to target. Demographics to consider are:

Gender / Age / Job role / Relationship status / Income range / Interests / Location

You can be as broad or as targeted as you like, it’s really all down to what you want to achieve. Adding detailed criteria will give you richer data but will make recruiting participants more difficult, but not impossible!


Reaching out to your participants

This can be the most difficult part. Unless you’ve hit the jackpot and your prospective participants all sign up within 10 minutes of communicating (dream on!), you may have to incentivise the process. A voucher, free trial of the product or FOOD can be great ways of getting people to sign up. 

Make sure your communication is targeted, clear, simple and engaging. A few small details like date, time and location will suffice. It’s all about getting their attention. 

The ideal size for a focus group is around 10-15 people. This will give you a good spread of people and give all participants a chance to speak their mind.


Designing the questions

One of the main aims should be to stimulate rich conversations, so steer clear of closed questions and keep them open. Ratings can be good to get simple and powerful statistics on how people feel about something, but make sure you follow that up with a question that probes further into why they gave that answer.  These also provide greats stats that you can report back on and hopefully see a % increase in vital areas. 

The amount of questions does all depend on your the subject matter and the time you have allocated for the session, but keep them simple and to the point. If you go off track, people will lose interest. 


Running the session

Whatever the subject matter, you can always make it fun for the participants! Make sure the session is interactive and fast paced, this will keep people engaged, which will give you the best results. 

You ideally want a moderator and an assistant. The moderator will facilitate the discussion which leaves the assistant with the important job of recording the session, taking notes and making sure things are running to time. 

One of my pet peeves, are unoriginal icebreakers. Be a bit different! They can be as obscure as you like, or you can use this to get to know your audience even better. 

At the end of the session make sure the participants know how valuable their answers have been, and how the results will eventually benefit them. Thank them individually and send them away with the leftover biscuits. 



This is the exciting part - seeing the hard work come to life in raw data. Open up Excel, input all the answers including transcription of any recordings. Make sure you’ve captured all answers however positive or negative, it will all help shape how you move forward with the project. 

Make sure you’ve got clear categories and you can filter the demographics you set out, pull out key insights and devise a report outlining the major findings. 



Running focus groups will give you invaluable audience intelligence. So many projects fail due to a lack of understanding of the audience and blindspots that go unnoticed when you and your colleagues have been immersed in the subject matter.

Over the last year we used Focus Groups to help build our Retirement Options Planner. Designed to be an easy to use tool to show where an employee is currently at with their retirement plans. Listening to the viewpoints of a wide range of different people who are approaching retirement has enabled us to build a solution that is truly fit for purpose. 


We have also used Focus Groups with an existing FTSE 100 client. As the pensions communication partner, it’s imperative we understand their employees and the communication techniques  that work for them - as every workforce is different. It helps us with ‘the now’ and throws out interesting trends for the future to keep us one step ahead. 

So be clear on your goals, target your market, design an engaging and concise session, analyse the data fully and produce a report to take forward.

By David Pugh - Managing Partner

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Why you should layer your benefits comms!

Pensions jargon out - Layering in

Time and time again, we see employer led communications to members littered in “techy jargon”. 

Now, unfortunately, the comms usually come down from someone who knows an awful lot about pensions and as such, feels the need to include every minor detail into the broadcast, however, they are running the gauntlet of losing the users interest.  

Take a technical issue such as pension allowances, or auto-enrolment (don’t get us started on those AE comms) - these issues can be made incredibly complex with such detail that even the pensions minister would have to applaud you, but we would suggest a different approach to your comms….


Let us explain…..Firstly, in order to send technical information, you need to layer up the complexity so that at the very top level the message is simple and clear!

We would suggest 3 different levels of information - 

Top Level - for everyone, right from the most knowledgable on the subject to the complete newbie, they all must understand, keep this level light on the technicalities

Mid Level - for info gatherers, this level is for those who want further info or are intrigued by the top level, you are free to go into more depth in this level

Bottom Level - for the action takers, if someone has got this far, it’s for a reason, they want to action something, so give all info in the top levels and save this for final checks, such as a tick box that the user understands, signposts to useful websites/links/docs

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By adopting this levelling approach, you are far more likely to penetrate through to your audience.  Yes some people might not get past the top level, but at least they know the topic or general theme of the communication, and ask yourselves "would they have fully read, understood and actioned all the information if it was all batched together in one lengthy broadcast?"


By Dan Mills - Creative Director

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Tips for creating an engaging benefits website!

Tips for creating an engaging benefits website!

So, you’re thinking of creating a benefits website for your members, there are some very (probably extremely) fundamental areas you should address before you even start to speak with your IT department or consultants and these are...


What’s a CTA? Well, it’s a common marketing term for Calls To Action.  Start off by asking yourself "What are my users trying to achieve by visiting this website?".  In the benefits world, there are several reasons a user might be on a website, for example:

  • To find out information (usually prompted by a communication from HR)
  • For a specific need (such as a PMI contact number so they can arrange some physio sessions)

Now we know what our audience is after, we need to signpost them to the right location...

For more info - "Click here to view our latest changes to the pension scheme"

For a specific need - "Visit our FAQ"

So when it comes to CTA’s, they need to be bright, clear and easy to find - sounds obvious right? Well you'd be surprised by how many organisations get this wrong!


"Watch our pension video"



So once we’ve got our goals for the website and our CTA's leading the way, we need analytics in order to improve and report back.  

Take a scenario - You want to reduce wasted time spent by HR on things like answering emails around accessing pension fund information, so you create a snazzy (hopefully) new website with a clear CTA directing those users to the necessary information. 

Question is - is it working?

  • Who is clicking on the buttons?
  • How many unique page views does it receive?
  • Where do users go after viewing that page?
  • How long do they view the page for?

If we don’t know these metrics, then how can we ever

a) Report back on how useful our new website is for users.

b) If it isn’t working, we at least know it and can make improvements.

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Those are 2 fundamental areas which need to be addressed when looking to introduce a new benefits website, the list goes on and on.  We'd love to hear your thoughts!

By Dan Mills - Creative Director

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