From the initial creation process to your customer’s hands, direct mail goes through several processes before its end goal is met. Even if you manage to reach your customers, how can you guarantee that they will take action and that their action will result in increased showroom traffic and sales for your dealership?
At J&L Marketing, we’ve worked to discover the top direct mail mistakes that will make you look dumb so that you can target your audience, motivate them to action, and prepare to sell more cars.
You Don’t Suppress Your Data
If you’re solely relying on the National Change of Address (NCOA) and list hygiene software, you’re spending thousands of dollars for ineffective results. According to the United States Postal Service, the average amount of undeliverable mail is 4.3%, yet most dealers or agencies never do anything about all of these undelivered mail pieces.
When working with a marketing agency, you should make sure that they’re suppressing the undeliverable mail pieces and removing them from future campaigns. This way, you know your agency isn’t using your money to target unreachable customers. You might as well throw it away! If you’re working with multiple vendors you’ll want to ask for this information after every campaign.
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You Target the Wrong Customers
Many dealers will spend hours analyzing the copy and/or the design created by marketing, but neglect one of the most important aspects of direct mail: the target audience. The best creative or design won’t mean anything if your audience is not interested.
Many dealers believe their agencies are doing some type of data analytics, but what most don’t know is that they are targeting customers based on basic criteria like Year, Make and Model. Are all 2010 Honda Accord customers the same? Absolutely not!
This type of analytics doesn’t tell you valuable information you need, like how active or loyal your customers are to your dealership, how many miles they typically drive a year, and many more key metrics.
Instead of wasting your money on inconclusive analytics, make sure you’re looking at specific customer behaviors inside of your Sales Transaction data and Service Transaction data to better understand if your customers are in market to buy a new vehicle and if they will respond to your marketing.
You ONLY Target with Direct Mail
If it makes sense to send your customers a direct mail piece, then why would you only send a direct mail piece? Direct mail is expensive, but there are many ways to market to customers directly with little added expense. Social media paid adverting, ringless voicemail drops, and email are just a few relatively inexpensive tools at your fingertips.
A good example to use is email. Sending an email can cost pennies! When accompanied with a direct mail piece, email can create a significantly better ROI. Recently, we completed a study where we analyzed over 1,200 campaigns across BMW, Chrysler, Ford, GM, Honda and Toyota. Looking at over 2.6 million targeted previous customers, we found a significant uplift when we marketed to customers with both direct mail and email versus using direct mail only.
Over a 30-day period, customers that received both a direct mail piece and an email had a buy rate of .92% compared to .67% for direct mail only customers. That is over a 37% uplift for the customers that received both! For just a few extra pennies, this is a mistake you can afford to correct!
You lack a Strong Hook or Offer
According to USPS, 81% of recipients read or scan their mail daily, but most of these consumers never respond or take action. One mistake many dealers make is in their hook or the offer. The offer is what will get your customers’ attention and create a response.
The offer can’t be a something that all your local competition is advertising as well. An example of this would be a monthly APR or lease special. Instead, focus on what will motivate them to come in today by creating a fear of missing out. The hook must create a tremendous amount of curiosity while motivating them to take the next step.
You’re Not Prepared
Too many times, dealerships send out communication to their customers without proper communication with their employees. This means that the people handling the leads generated by the direct piece aren’t aware of the offer. In many cases, some of these employees don’t even know there’s an event.
When this happens, it creates a tremendous amount of confusion and a poor customer experience. This mistake will cost you sales! Make sure your team knows what offers are being sent out and all the details of your campaign.
This is by no means a complete list of all the direct mail mistakes we’ve seen dealers make in the last 25 years, but we hope it’s a starting point for you to learn what mistakes are common, what mistakes will cost you money, and ultimately, what mistakes will make you look dumb. Avoid the trap of the ineffective direct mail piece. Follow these steps! Or, contact us. Our mission is to help you increase showroom traffic and sell more cars.