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From: Jared Hamilton
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DMEautomotive

DMEautomotive

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The way we communicate and how we want to be communicated to is continually evolving.  New technology has allowed today’s consumer to be constantly exposed to messaging and information.  So what is the best way to reach your car dealership's customers - Email or Mail?

Email communications have many advantages for car dealers, mainly the efficiency and timing of sending your messages.  Consumers can receive emails at any time with mobile devices, work and home computers.  You can measure how a customer responds to your email message by either a transaction or tracking click-thrus to a website or other links.  Your customer does not have to rely on what is included in the email but can seek out what is relevant to them.  With that being said, what is your email capture rate?  And are your Sales, F&I and Service departments at your dealership getting valid email addresses or entering anything to get credit?  With an email append service, you can increase the reach to your customers on a monthly basis by capturing valid emails and bounce testing your existing database.  Even with email appends, 60-70% email capture rate is remarkable.  Remember that even though email is an efficient channel, blasting your database too often could make your customers numb or cause them to opt-out. 

Mail communications have advantages for car dealers as well.  Foremost, your dealership’s DMS is more likely to contain 100% of your clientele’s mail addresses so you can reach your entire database.  Though mail is more expensive than email, OEM programs can provide support with co-op funds if you meet their guidelines.  When done correctly, direct mail can be a relevant, personal invitation to a customer for their business.

Email and mail have their disadvantages too – both channels can get cluttered.  How does your dealership's message break through that clutter?  You can argue whether email is better than mail or vice versa.  But the key is how can you make them work together to get higher response rate from your campaigns.    If you are watching your budget, send email to those customers with a valid email address and then backfill with mail to reach your target.  If you want a greater lift in response, overlay your mail campaigns with an email message.

~ Marcie Hopey, Product Manager @ DMEautomotive - "Superior Marketing For the Automotive Industry"

Bio
:
Marcie has 15 years of extensive experience, of which 10 are in the automotive industry, with strategic planning, market research, media and events. She has a successful track record for implementing new marketing plans to expand market share and grow revenue. Marcie possesses a forward thinking approach to business with an emphasis on bottom line results. As DMEautomotive’s Product Manager Marcie is responsible for the company’s Direct to Dealer Program, product development and data analysis, client services, and customer retention.


*Photo from iStock.com
Richard Valenta
Email is obviously better for many reasons but there is much less clutter in my snail mail box these days. I actually look at most of it now.
Bart Wilson
I think the key here is having the right media for the right message. @Richard I think you are correct. Personally, I would rather receive an email on a dealerships specials and a personal card on a birthday or car anniversary. This is another way technology should be making our lives easier. Text, chat, phone, etc. help us deliver the right message in the right manner. Text me if you have questions when my car is in service. I need that right away but can't be called. Let me chat with you on your website when I have questions on a new vehicle. The key is to make these channels available and ASK how the customer wants to be contacted.
Adam Stone
Someone said this to me the other day: "Email is best for retention and mail is best for conquest." Any thoughts?
Adam Stone
Someone said this to me the other day: "Email is best for retention and mail is best for conquest." Any thoughts?
Michael Midgley
Interesting way to put it Adam. In our dealership we use phone calls for short-term follow up and emails for long term. We also send letters out from the salespeople four times per year. I haven't gotten a deal from it yet but I figure it can't hurt. I know we're talking about marketing here but in our store salespeople do a good deal of retention marketing.

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