Friday, February 20, 2009

5 Reasons Direct Mail is SCARY!

As mentioned in a previous post, below are 5 reasons that seem to be somewhat common among dealers for not doing Direct Mail. I'm a firm believer that Direct Marketing isn't for every dealer, but it can help a lot of them. Below I'll try to shine a night light through the scary truths of Direct Mail. 1. It's trackable-extremely trackable. You know if it works and you know if it doesn't. Which is only scary because you truly know the ROI. In most cases mail is the only marketing that dealers can actually track. Other medias get a large benefit of the doubt-you happen to be busy one weekend and had run a TV ad = TV worked. Although most would have no idea if the people coming in were from the TV or if they are the same people that drive by your lot every day and just happen to be in the market. I'd wager even "bad" direct mail events still create better traffic than "normal media" in a lot of cases.

2. Most mail company's don't work on year long contracts like radio & TV, so it has to be a conscious decision every month to do it.

Radio & TV Stations make it very easy to continue doing what you've been doing. It becomes mindless and easy to just continue with a program you signed up for 6 mos earlier. Set up something with your mail rep or company. Commit to using them as your sole provider and work together to come up with a flexible program. It's just as easy to get on a schedule with a mail professional as any other advertising pro. And you can bet your mail results will be more consistent and it will be a lot easier to set up your regular events.

3. Typically it causes work. More people in the door, gift getters, bad credit, etc etc. Some dealers and sales people just don't like to deal with it.

Like I said in my intro, mail isn't for every dealer. You do need a talented sales team that is hungry to get out there and get to work. There will be bad credit. There will be "gray hairs" coming in for the free gifts. Especially if you're looking for a big event with a lot of traffic. However, there will be buyers that didn't intend to be when they walked in, there will be good credit, there will be OPPORTUNITY. If the sales staff can't see this then mail is probably a drain on your ad budget. If you can't see this then you could be the reason your team has blinders on as well.

4. Dealers see it as a "shot in the arm" and not sustainable traffic.

This can be 100% true...if it's allowed to be. Without a good pulse on how often you are mailing to the same people, what messages are working and what aren't, and some kind of a plan or continuity to your mail these "one and done" deals will likely be your result. If you have a good mail provider STICK WITH THEM! I'm not just talking about me here, there are a lot of good companies out there. If you switch monthly from place to place--looking for a penny off here, or a free gift card to take your wife to dinner you are completely missing the boat with mail. Sticking in one spot allows that professional to develop a plan for where your mail hits, making sure you don't overuse or under utilize messages, and if you do work with Tri-Auto we can start working on zeroing in on the specific zips that work well for you. Loyalty isn't just a warm and fuzzy feeling in this business--it's imperative to your success.

5. You don't usually see the owner or general manager's face on a direct mail piece.

OK most of you read somewhat regularly (yes I can see how many times the same computers are logging on--I just can't see who you are--darn it!), and you know I'm not trying to tick anyone off here. But really...honestly, are the TV commercials we see about selling cars, or iare some of thems--about the Owner/General Manager/Car God getting to be a local celebrity? On mail these guys can't be the center of attention (well I've had some try I guess-but it's harder), the store & the offers to buy take center stage. If you want to be famous, I'm sure Real World is casting go check it out--if you want to sell cars make all your advertising about selling cars.*

*Disclaimer-Having a public face of the company that appears in commercials & advertising is not a bad thing. Having a public face that does it solely to be recognized at the mall is.

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