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Jason Unrau

Jason Unrau Freelance Contributor

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Making Mass Service Campaigns that Commands Personal Responses

As a service manager or fixed operations director, this information is for you.

There has been much to do about email interactions and direct marketing recently. It’s hard to separate basic principles from ideas that may or may not work for your customer base. This is one piece of the pie that you can’t go without in today’s marketing world.

You absolutely have to create a personal connection in direct response campaigns. No question about it. It’s not up for debate. There’s one way to do it, and it’s unbelievably effective when you do it.

Speak to your customer one-on-one.

The Proof Is In Your Inbox

Open your email inbox and look through the past week’s emails, and don’t forget the trash. Which ones did you open and which ones were discarded immediately? Because you’re an intelligent person, you quickly deciphered the emails addressed personally (and correctly) to you. The email blasts that were clearly sent from some MailChimp list went straight to the trash.

At home, your mailbox is jammed with junk mail too. Any glossy papers are tossed. Personalized envelopes are set aside as a prized possession and opened.

And that’s how your customers treat emails and snail mail too.

Shape Campaigns to the Individual

Looking to get your emails opened? Want to convert better on your direct mailers? Whether you’re letting your customers know about a service promotion from the manufacturer or you’re drumming up work to sprint into the next quarter, you’re looking to have the best response rate possible.

Gimmicks used to work. They’re not nearly as effective anymore. Shiny coupons come from every dealer within five miles, touting $10 off a synthetic oil change. But customers see that you’re advertising a loss leader so you can upsell them. They’re smart. A flashy, colorful email immediately looks like you’re selling something, and they put a guard up.

But carefully craft a campaign that looks sincere and valuable, and you’ll see the difference in responses. Whether delivered by email or with a stamp on it, people will respond better when it looks like you’ve sent something specifically to them, or even to a select few customers.

Narrow It Down to the Reader

Look at the opening line of this post: “As a service manager or fixed operations director, this information is for you.“ It’s directed specifically at a small segment. If you send a campaign to someone and they make a personal connection, they will continue reading it.

Quickly Get to the Point

Don’t fluff the reader up. Don’t waste their time. Give them the reason for your email or letter fast. This post did that too, didn’t it?

Be Clear About the Offer

This post isn’t to sell you anything or it would’ve been in those first six to eight lines. For your service customers, you’ll need to identify WHY they’re getting the offer, and HOW they should respond.

“Because you’ve been a loyal customer since [YEAR], I’d like to offer you a complimentary full vehicle detailing when [DEALER.NAME] changes your timing belt. Because your visit will take a full day, email me or call me directly to book your appointment. I’ll even set aside a complimentary courtesy car for the day.”

Make It Worthwhile

Everyone gets the $10 off coupons. Your campaigns, especially direct mail, cost a pretty penny. Make it worthwhile, like the sample above. I can tell you this: my wife would jump on that offer immediately if she knew her timing belt was due for replacement! It respects her time with a courtesy car, and she gets to drive a clean car when it’s all done.


Address your service campaigns to the individual. No need to make it flashy, just clearly beneficial to the customer. Your response rates will spike if the recipients feel like you’re talking directly to them.

Bart Wilson

Great insight Jason.  Fixed Ops marketing needs to be targeted and engaging.  I can't tell you how many oil change mailers I've received on cars I no longer own.

Chris K Leslie

I’ve found that our OEM’s have a terrible data cleanse process. Crm’s make it hard to remove inventory from customer info too. 

Carolin Petterson

Great insight Jason. Thanks for sharing

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