Are mailers just as good or better than digital advertising? That was a question up for discussion recently. The notion that our customers become desensitized to the numerous emails from the OEM, Dealer, and third party companies. Each and every month your customer does not visit the store it becomes that much harder to retain them. Costing the dealer 7x more money to acquire new business. That said, it was a discussion that led to revamping the way we market with to our customers.
The first thing that comes to mind with mailers (from the dealer level) is the argument of “how do I calculate my ROI, click rate, engagement rate?” whereas, with email campaigns our vendors can provide a book on just how good their campaigns were! Touting that their email campaign scheduled 50+ service appointments! Average RO of $100+ (this is an example).
That surely sounds great, no? The problem is that many, if not all of our vendors say that s/he booked 100+ service appointments. If that were the case, heck, we would have tripled the appointments month over month. Crushing the forecasts. Leading the board within our fixed op's revenue!
Instead of getting lost in the vendor's numerous reports, (all of which have different means of how they aggregate the data) we concentrated on the total amount of service appointments for the month. Looking at how many mailers crossed the service lane, and how many appointments were booked online. Using analytics to break down the original source that referred the customer to the site.
In reviewing the analytics, we found that there are better ways of sending emails by “direct marketing” versus just sending a service driver to the entire database. Using a combination both traditional and digital marketing. Personalizing the offers for the customer.
As a result, we have found it be more effective to market in smaller core groups of customers. Sending mailers and emails in cycles that reflect the OEM’s retention guidelines. By sending direct mailers and emails monthly in small groups with a direct message it allows you to send an offer that makes sense to the customer. Whereas, if you send a mailer or email to your entire service/sales database you miss out on a few things that can actually damage your database:
Sending a coupon that offers a higher dollar amount off of their R/O the day after s/he services their vehicle
Sending an offer to the customer who already has an appointment for service vs. using it as an upsell for more services at the time of the appointment. Having to redeem a coupon off a small markup service.
Sending 4-6 emails per month of which are irrelevant to the customer yielding a high amount of unsubscribers. Giving less and less customers to market to per month.
Getting blacklisted for “spamming” customers by not scrubbing your database sending to “opted” out customers
Instead of increasing the unsubscribe rate - start planning your fixed-ops marketing with using a mixture of both digital and traditional marketing. Plan a monthly calendar in alignment with your OEM, cross-check and scrub your DMS & CRM (as the CRM houses unsold/unserviced customers), and make sure OEM & third party emails do not overlap with your efforts. Sending stronger offers to your DMS customers who are loyal, which will help you maximize your OEM’s retention policy.
How is your dealer maximizing efforts with direct mail & email?