The Secret to the Advertising Communication Sequence

When it comes to reaching an audience with a targeted offer, the success of your campaign depends highly on how well you communicate with your intended audience.

The communication sequence you use will determine whether the consumers you are trying to reach take an intended action.

When you don’t plan your communication sequence carefully, you can lose customers early, making it difficult to regain them later.

You need to take a concentrated look at your advertising communication sequence to see where your strengths and weaknesses might lie.

Today, we will take a look at how a quality advertising communication sequence works in relation to a recall event. The same tactics showcased here can then be applied to sales events and other promotions your dealership offers.

1. Start With a Quality List

Before your first communication is drafted, you need to compile your distribution list.

In the case of a recall event, you can contact the manufacturer for a list of customers who need a specific recall.

Some manufacturers have even created tools for you to pull this data on your own.

You can mine your own DMS customer list by looking for customers with specific vehicle makes and models that might be affected by a recall.

If you are willing to spend a little money, another option is to pay for a list of customers in your area to target, or work with a company that can compare your DMS customer list against these databases.

Regardless of how you get your list, spend some time cleaning it up. The goal should be to have a clean list that allows you to target a few thousand customers.

Bonus Tip: When cleaning up your distribution list, don’t throw away bad emails and phone numbers. Hang on to those fields for a later step.

communication sequence illustration

2. Hit Them With Multiple Channels

When promoting an event, such as a recall, don’t rely on one communication channel to get your message across. Instead, a quality communication sequence should involve multiple lines of communication.

Direct Mail

Direct mail has been a friend of dealerships for decades. While today, many dealerships are shifting their focus to digital strategies, don’t neglect the power of direct mail. Rather than relying on this strategy alone, use it alongside your digital strategy to reach your targeted list more effectively.

Direct mail should be sent to each person on your distribution list. The mailer itself should include the following best practices:

  • A bold intro that will catch their eye. In the case of a recall event, quickly highlight that the car is due for a recall service.
  • Send it in a plain envelope that looks legitimate. Anything too flashy will not be taken seriously.
  • Offer an additional bonus or gift for attending the event. For example, you might offer a $15 gas card for bringing in the car for a recall service.
  • Offer a full vehicle inspection. This is a great way to offer added value and incentive for the customer while simultaneously giving your team the potential for an upsell.


One of the most powerful tools you have for reaching potential clients is email.

When running a recall event, send an intro email to every single address on the list from the manufacturer.

Don’t simply look at what the OEM thinks is the customer’s best email. If there are three or four email addresses, email to every single one. This is why, when cleaning your list, you don’t want to delete this information.

When implementing an email campaign, follow these best practices:

  • Talk to your marketing agency about a drip email campaign. A single email is usually not enough to motivate customers to sign up for your event.
  • Send the first email at least a week to nine days before the event.
  • After your first email, segment your lists. Those who responded should fall into one bucket, and those who did not act should fall into another.
  • For those who did not RSVP, send a second email two to three days before the event, reiterating the information from the first email.
  • For those who did RSVP, send a second email with a reminder.

Social Media

Another important channel to include in your communication sequence is social media. Take upload your recall list to Facebook and Instagram. From here, you can create a custom audience for promoting your recall event ad.

After you have built your audience, create your ad. Best practices for your social media ad include the following:

  • Use carousel ads or animated ads. These ads grab attention better than static images.
  • Make sure your CTA is front and center in the ad copy before users even see the CTA button.
  • Be sure that your ads lead customers to a landing page specifically designed for the event.
  • Make the ad copy is clear and concise. Always double-check for spelling errors.
  • Create separate ads for Instagram and Facebook. This will help you better track the success of each ad and ensure you are following best practices for each platform.

Text Message

For recall events, texting is an excellent method for reaching customers. Because recalls fall under safety notifications, you can send a text message about a recall without a customer having opted in for messaging.

For other events, only use text messages to target customers who have opted in to be contacted via text.

Follow these best practices for texts:

  • Be specific. Make sure your message is clear and concise.
  • Add variable fields such as the customer’s vehicle year, make, and model.
  • Put the name of your dealership in the text to prevent it from looking fraudulent.
  • Put a phone number in the text as a call to action.
  • Provide a landing page where customers can sign up for the event.

When you use text messages as part of your communication sequence, be prepared for a huge influx of phone calls. Make sure your staff knows the text is going out and is prepared to field calls.

Consider sending your text messages throughout the day to try to diminish a flood of phone calls to your team.

Ringless Voicemail

Another effective tactic for reaching your customers is through ringless voicemails. These voicemails are sent to someone’s phone without their phone ever ringing.

In the message:

  • Be specific and concise.
  • Be engaging.
  • Provide your dealership’s name.
  • Explain clearly why you are calling.
  • Provide a call-back number.

Keep in mind that people often will not listen to the voicemail itself; instead, they will simply hit call back when they see your number appear. Make sure that those who handle your inbound phone calls are prepared. They should have a prewritten script that touches on all the same points as your other forms of communication.

Outbound Calls

Similar to direct mail, outbound phone calls have not been replaced by digital strategies. Nothing beats hammering the phones. Making phone calls is a great way to reach customers and encourage immediate sign-ups for your event.

All of this goes hand-in-hand. Contact your customer list during a seven- to 10-day period.

3. Make RSVP-ing Easy

Communication is a two-way street. If you don’t make RSVP-ing easy and intuitive, you can lose your chance to convert potential clients.

There are two major response options: by phone or via a landing page. When you use a landing page, make sure it is simple for the customer to pick a preferred date and time to attend your event. Rather than using your normal online scheduling tools, use a form that does not require the customer to create a username and password. Ideally, this form should auto-fill in the customer’s information based on the list you are using.

If people call in to RSVP, be sure your staff members are prepared to answer questions about the event. Ensure that those who RSVP are being segmented into a different list than those who have not responded.

This will help you track who shows up to the event against your list of RSVPs.

5. Communicate During the Event

Communication doesn’t end the moment a customer signs up to attend your event. Instead, communication should continue in person.

Having a dedicated event coordinator can maximize the customer experience. This person should be responsible for running the event, interacting with customers, registering customers, collecting updated information, and distributing gifts.

This is the first chance at a good impression for new customers and a second chance with customers you had lost before.

During the event, have your coordinator ask a specific set of questions, including the following:

  • Standard information: name, address, email, and phone.
  • Vehicle information: make, model, year, and service history
  • Where do you currently get your car serviced?
  • Is there anything else you want our advisor to look at during recall service?
  • What is most important to you when you’re getting your vehicle serviced?

Gathering this information in person is an effective way of feeding updated data back into your customer list.

7. Post Event Follow-Up

Too often, after a big event, dealerships never follow up with clients. Keep marketing after the event. Use the information you have gathered to build out new campaigns and to continue to communicate with attendees.

For those who didn’t attend the event or RSVP to the campaign, try a blanket service discount or other promotion.

Set up calls to contact those who RSVP’d but did not show.

For those who did attend, offer an after-event promotion by using information gleaned during the event.

The goal is to create open lines of communication, building a lasting relationship with your customers.

Talk to J&L Marketing About Your Communication Sequence

Building a strong advertising communication sequence is key to improving your customer relationships and increasing booked services and closed deals.

If you are looking to improve your communication sequence, start by checking out one of our recent webinars: How to Triple Your Service Appointments Using Recall Events.

Feel free to reach out to our team to learn more about how we can help you effectively reach existing and potential customers. With years of experience, we have mastered the advertising communication sequence for dealerships, unlocking remarkable potential for our clients.

More To Explore

Subscribe To our newsletter!

Volkswagen Digital Marketing Enrollment Form

Schedule An Appointment

Schedule Your Event

Get Your Free Political Landscape Analysis

Get A Proposal

View Our Lookbook

Download the lookbook now

Our lookbook has examples of our display ads we have created for clients.