Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Customer Follow Up on Automotive Advertising

We live in an exciting time when it comes to marketing & advertising! There are so many medias and opportunities with which to get out your message, and the end product continues to become more and more creative. I'm the "Diva" when it comes to direct mail, but of course I am a fan of other ways to "touch" people as well. You can't put all your eggs in one basket & the person that responds to a TV ad is not typically the person that also responds to a Direct Mail piece. All that being said today we're not going to talk about your initial piece of marketing, we're going to talk about how you follow up with the people that respond.

Let's pretend you've sent out a mailer (we'll use this media since I know something about it). And here were the results:

312 phone calls 256 registered ups through the door 28 online surveys filled out (w/ contact info, info on trade-in and when they'll be in the market)

This assumes you are giving your market a variety of ways to respond and that you're tracking all the response.

The sale is over and you sold 30 units off the campaign, but what about the other 566 people that responded to your message and didn't buy this weekend? What are you doing with them?

We're finding you should continue to follow up with them using the media they responded to you in.

You got 312 phone calls. By using your call tracking phone numbers you can print off easy reports with the person's name & number. When the sales people have some downtime what not pass out a few pages of calls to all of them and have them do a quick "survey" about their experience when they called in to the dealership. What if you kept a running log from each sale and prior to the next event, your sales department gave them each a call to personally invite them to your special sale? It's extremely personal and you have the knowledge no other dealer in town does--this person prefers to use the phone as a method of contact with your dealership.
Aside from the phone calls you also had a lot of people hitting the floor. True some of them were there for the gifts & others may have just stopped in for a free hot dog, but they probably didn't walk to your dealership. These people are your face to face crowd. They don't mind coming straight into the dealership to check out an offer. Obviously they will probably continue to respond to direct mail, but here something we just found out--they are also likely to be PHONE people. Our kiosks ask for a bit of contact info, email, phone number & a confirmation on the name and address. People walking into dealerships are very likely to add their phone number to their contact info, but very shy about adding an email address. Phone number collection is almost 10 to 1 over email collection from this group. It wouldn't hurt to add the people walking in your door to your "call list" either, that's how they want you to contact them!
Some dealers have a feature on their website that requires visitors to give some info before viewing inventory. We also have begun using personal websites. The person would have a website on their mailer that includes their name. Something like: so each person's would be unique to them, with their name. They can then fill out basic info for additional offers from the dealership. I'm sure you know where this is going--this group prefers to be communicated to via the Internet. We're finding very few of them are willing to give info on their phone number(s) but are happy to provide you with their emails. The Direct Mail Association just released a surprising statistic--60% of people receiving direct mail prefer to respond online! This is also a different niche of people that are very unlikely to show up to the dealership from your initial message. If you aren't giving them an online option you are likely to miss out on this group altogether.
Now that you have followed up with every lead you received from your last sale, you're probably considering your next campaign. Overall, you now have a list of 596 people in YOUR market, that YOU KNOW respond to direct mail. They may all respond in different ways, but they opened your message, read it and acted. This could be the most valuable list on the planet, and you would be the only one to have it. Start entering every up into your database or keep this info separate in an Excel format. Then be sure to mail to these people exclusively several times a year for "private events." Just consider the possibilities of response on a list like that!
Since it's December it might be a good time to think about how many lead are truly WASTED every year in your dealerships. Perhaps as we enter a new year now is the time to think about a new process that makes sure all the leads you pay for are being worked completely.

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