keeping automotive direct mail out of the trash

 

Automotive dealers face a particular challenge when planning marketing campaigns, don’t they?

The average buying cycle for a new car or truck is so much longer than, say, the buying cycle for a new pair of jeans or financial services. The cost of the cars means consumers just don’t buy them as often. And when they are ready to buy, they’ll spend more time researching and saving money than for almost any other purchase.

So, what does that mean to marketers? It means you’re more likely to reach consumers when they’re not ready to buy a car. And that means your direct mail marketing efforts could hit the trash without a second look. How can you avoid this? Let’s take a look.

Personalize Your Mail

No matter how you open the conversation, it’s always a good idea to call your customers by name. You can be sure that any mail addressed to “Current Resident” or the like will head straight for the trash. Mail with a named recipient and a personalized greeting is more likely to be opened and read.

Remember, too, that you should address to the right person within the household. You may assume that’s the man of the house, but the truth is that women influence the purchase of about 80% of the vehicles sold in the United States. It’s definitely a statistic to consider when you’re addressing your mail program.

Also, don’t be afraid to use a little humor. As long as you’re sensitive to your audience, your humor can go a long way toward building lasting relationships.

Provide Information

You’re likely to happen upon consumers whose cars are on their last legs. Sometimes you just get lucky like that. Snagging a buyer at the very end of the buying cycle doesn’t happen very often, though. What do you do for the rest of the buyers who are still somewhere in the middle?

Education is key. Cover the important bases on your postcards and provide a PURL where customers can learn more. When they’re ready to make a move, they’ll gravitate toward the dealership they trust, and the one they trust will be the one that answered all the questions they didn’t know they had.

Make an Offer

What can you offer consumers who simply aren’t in the market for a new car right now? Well, if your dealership has a service department, get those potential buyers in for oil changes, checkups, and maybe even a detailed cleaning. You can also offer discounts on accessories for their vehicles, including floor mats, specialized gearshifts, and seat covers. Even branded merchandise can get some people in the door. If nothing else, those buyers will save your information for when they do need service or accessories.

Getting your offer to those potential customers isn’t as hard as it sounds, as long as you’re using personalized URLs (PURL) to direct recipients to your website. When visitors land on your website, show them the many benefits that await. They can opt in to receive these offers with the exchange of their email or postal addresses. The mailed offer can be backed up by an email making sure the customer received the mail piece. You can also use data gathering on your social marketing platforms. Show the offer and link back to your website to gather the information.

Keep Up Through Digital Marketing

Increase customer awareness by combining direct mail and digital marketing efforts. Start by providing the web address to a landing page on any of the pieces you mail. A PURL leads each buyer to a personalized page. Every PURL is different, so you’ll know exactly who’s visiting your website and which pages they find most valuable. The information you gather from their movements within your website will help you craft better personalized offers. In addition to a PURL, you can also use a QR code to guide mail recipients to your landing pages. Those QR codes can also be customized to direct potential buyers to their very own personalized landing page.

Don’t forget to provide your social media account information, too. Every chance you have to get in front of consumers, you should take it. When they receive mail from brands they recognize, they’re less likely to throw that mail away.

Ready to grow your automobile dealership? Give us a call to learn how direct mail and digital marketing can boost your business.