As industry leaders in automotive direct mail marketing, we want to educate car dealerships, service managers and anyone with an interest in selling more cars and services about what goes into making a successful direct mail marketing campaign. Just as important as what works, is what to avoid.
There are so many land-mines out there to avoid as a dealership. With an endless supply of competition pushing margins razor thin, it’s of the highest importance to
maximize every marketing dollar you spend EFFECTIVELY.
Direct mail is hands-down one of the most effective ways to get more qualified and motivated buyers into your dealership… when it’s done correctly. The problem is direct mail, more often than not, is done haphazardly and can become ineffective.
Avoid these 10 major mistakes and you will see your direct mail results improve dramatically
CHANGING TOO MUCH.THERE’S NO NEED TO REINVENT THE WHEEL WHEN SOMETHING HAS A SOLID TRACK RECORD.
When consulting with a new client, It only pays to show campaigns that have a proven track-record of producing results for their marketing needs. Many direct mail programs have copy, artwork and hooks that compliment each other to effectively engage your potential customers in a way that nudges them to respond. It can be psychological words, color schemes or maybe even just the flow of the copy, or layout of the mail piece.
Changing too much on these proven campaigns can drastically reduce their effectiveness. If we say it consistently works – trust us, it works. Which brings me to Fail #2…
ASKING WRONG OPINIONS.YOUR SALESPEOPLE AREN’T MARKETING PROFESSIONALS. THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT WORKS. LEAVE THE MARKETING TO US.
We realize that getting your staffs’ “buy-in” is important. If everyone is on board with the campaign, then it increases the chances of the leads being handled effectively by them. However, basing your decision on whether or not your salespeople “like” it, needs to stop. It doesn’t matter if they like or dislike the artwork – or even if YOU like it for that matter – We show artwork and copy for campaigns that consistently produce results – across markets and across brands.
Those results being increased traffic, which result in exactly what you want – VEHICLE SALES, and SERVICE RETENTION. Trust us, when you don’t do well, we don’t get re-hired.
PRICE BASED DECISIONS.PRICE IS ONLY WHAT YOU PAY FOR SOMETHING – VALUE IS WHAT YOU SHOULD BE BUYING.
This mistake goes hand in hand with the last two. You should be basing your decisions purely on what program is going to be the most effective for your dealership. The old adage “you get what you pay for” couldn’t possibly be more applicable. Quality also matters in direct mail. Quality of lists, quality of the message, unique components that further engage your customers – we utilize custom video messages on each mail piece & smartphone integration – and the quality of trackable results.
“If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.” – Red Adair
NOT MATCHING SALES.IF CUSTOMERS WERE GOING TO COME IN ANYWAY, THEN ALL YOUR MARKETING DOLLARS ARE A WASTE.
More often than not, the only answer a manager can give you as to the success of a campaign was, “We had a busy weekend.” This just doesn’t cut it. You need to know exactly what a campaign has done for you. Did 29 people from your list buy on that busy weekend? Or did 2 people buy from that list on a coincidentally busy weekend? If you aren’t properly tracking, you don’t know. If you don’t know, you could be wasting money on a bad program because of your generalized assumptions.
Direct marketing gives you the power to directly match the people you mailed to with your sales for the month. Be sure to include the co-signers name also when doing this.
Also- don’t fool yourself, you may have already been working a few of those deals, but not ALL of those people were going to come and buy from you anyway. Are we looking for evidence that it worked, or evidence that it didn’t?
NO TEAM CONTINUITY.MAKE SURE EVERYONE KNOWS EXACTLY WHAT CAMPAIGNS ARE GOING ON EXACTLY WHAT TO DO.
Sometimes a prospect will take a while to act on the mail they received. Many salespeople make the massive mistake of turning away customers simply by saying, “That’s a mailing from last month” or “I don’t know what this is…” In what world does it make sense to turn away business because a motivated buyer didn’t act by some arbitrary date, or because a salesperson missed the meeting and had no clue about it?
I know what you’re thinking, “My salesmen would never turn anyone away.” Wrong, yours too. It happens more than you think. You wouldn’t believe how many callbacks our call center gets from customers that were turned away once they arrived at the dealership. I wouldn’t care if a customer came in with a Dairy Queen coupon, I’d show them a car. Make sure your staff & management understand this concept thoroughly.
PLAYING MUSICAL CHAIRS.A GOOD COMPANY ANALYZES THE DATA AND LEARNS FROM IT. JUMPING FROM COMPANY TO COMPANY KILLS THIS.
As you become more and more familiar with your customer, you understand their needs and wants more clearly, which allows you to do a better job at matching them with the car that best suits them, correct? Sticking with a good direct mail company works the same way. This allows them to better understand your dealership as well as your market, and eventually allows them to see opportunities that you may be missing – and give creative suggestions.
It also goes without saying that good marketing is something that changes over time. Tweaks can be made with each campaign leading to the development of the most effective campaigns possible. By jumping around and looking for the next best thing, you’re shortchanging yourself of these benefits – and these benefits are in fact – some of the most profitable for a dealership.
“Successful people make decisions quickly and change their minds slowly.
Unsuccessful people make decisions slowly and change their minds quickly.”
– Andy Andrews
FAILING TO PLAN.IMAGINE ALL THE OTHER THINGS YOU’LL BE ABLE TO FOCUS ENERGY ON WHEN YOU PLAN AHEAD.
Let’s face it, there probably isn’t a more “reactive” industry than the car business. Just imagine the success you could leverage if you were proactive. Sure, you’re busy with your day to day, but what happens when you stop planning your marketing for the future? Business will taper off. Then you go into all out marketing panic mode to get more business. This doesn’t leave you with much time or a clear head to vet out a company or campaign. The cycle then repeats the very next month. Stop doing that to yourself.
Using a proven and professional marketing company, takes the planning and execution off your plate. At Pulse, we make it a breeze and put an end to the stress and emotional roller coaster.
Since there aren’t enough hours in the day for you to field all the sales calls, pitches, and telemarketers – having a go-to that you know and trust makes planning for the future easy – and priceless.
NOT GETTING POSTALS.POSTAL RECEIPTS ARE PROVIDED TO THE THE PRINT HOUSE FROM THE POST OFFICE SOON AFTER MAILING.
Once your direct mail campaign has dropped, it behooves you to request postage receipts. Your not going to like this, but if these receipts aren’t produced immediately (48 hours max) upon request, it’s likely that something suspicious is going on. Unfortunately, now that most postals are online and purely digital, they are even easier to forge.
It’s a sad state of affairs, but there are businesses out there that will sell you a bill of goods and not fulfill their obligations. After all, if no results are seen, it’s
easy to write it off as a “failed campaign.” Make sure to do your part and demand postage receipts.
A lot of that anxiety can be alleviated as long as you don’t make this next Fail …
NOT CHECKING REFERENCES.NOT TOO MANY WANT TO BE ON CAMERA, SO IF SOMEONE TAKES THE TIME TO FILM A TESTIMONIAL, IT’S LEGIT.
There are a lot of wannabes and charlatans out there that want nothing more than to take your money and run. Many are full of slick-pitches and empty promises. They also know the industry well enough to know that you are most likely going to be too busy to check back up to see if they delivered what they said. These types don’t care about you, your long term growth or business success. But you can easily separate the sheep from the wolves, if you make the time.
It’s so important to take a few minutes to check up on a company, Look at their website. Look for length of time in business and in the industry. Look for testimonials – and in this age, it should definitely be video testimonials. At Mail Ninjas we pride ourselves on our many video testimonials from people just like you in the auto industry. You can see them at: https://mailninjas.com/about-us/
OVER ANALYSIS PARALYSIS.MANY TIMES, INDECISION IS THE WORST DECISION.
You’ve probably been there hundreds of times – you see a really great marketing program, it has great art, compelling copy & consistent trackable results. It has everything you want – yet, you end up not pulling the trigger.
You may not even know why you didn’t. Indecision is a business growth-killer. Even though something excites them, many get cold feet at the point of making a decision. Some of it is not wanting to be “closed” and some of it is fear of missing out on something better. You’ve conditioned yourself to say “no” or “I need to think about it,” even though you really love it. Then life and business happen at a fast & furious pace and focus goes to other things.
Many times that program is but a memory when the pressure to make a move is on. A snap decision is made on something that has been researched far less, or worse not at all. I bet there were times you forget to implement something you learned from a Dealer 20 group because things were hectic when you got back.
If you like something, check references and take just a few minutes to research it. If it checks out, do it. I promise you, dealers that are running their markets, take action on the things they’ve researched – and take action often.
GO NINJA. GO.
With so much competition in the marketing world, Automotive Direct Mail companies are often times looked at as nothing more than a commodity. To some, Direct Mail is even a “bad word”. Frequent calls filled with empty promises, has facilitated wasted money and thus bad blood. We are, however, not all the same.
Mail Ninjas has over 20 years of combined automotive-specific marketing experience. We use the freshest laser-targeted lists to connect to the right customer, unique packaging, sharp graphics and creative to get our mail noticed. Psychological copywriting for the message moves customers into action. Our proprietary technology creates greater response, ROI and tracks all of our campaigns in real-time, to show the success of our programs. Our use of data & technology to sharpen the campaigns for our clients has dubbed us “Mail Ninjas”.
Besides consistent results and 90+% retention with our clients, what really sets us apart is PassChecks®. Many of our programs now utilize PassChecks to seamlessly integrate with your customers smartphone. Geo-location and automatic push notifications, keep your message fresh on the customers mind long after you’ve connected with them, stretching your marketing dollars much farther than other companies.