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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Harvest Your Database to Send Meaningful Messaging

It’s hard to believe, but it’s time to start planning your end-of-the-year marketing. As we roll into the holiday season, many dealerships are thinking about how they will increase their end-of-the-year revenue and move more vehicles off their lot. However, many consumers are deciding where they’ll buy their next vehicle in the coming year, or if they’ll be going back to the same dealership for future service work on their current vehicle. The end of the year is the perfect time to communicate with existing customers, build brand loyalty, and keep them coming back to you for their vehicle needs. Today, we’ll share four tips to help you harvest your database, deliver a meaningful message to your customers, and ensure you’re their dealer of choice.

Target the Right Customers
First things first, you’ll need to decide which customers you’ll target with your end-of-the-year marketing. If your goal is to keep customers loyal to your dealership throughout 2015 and into 2016, then you’ll want to start by identifying who your most loyal customers are. We’d recommend including anyone who has purchased more than one vehicle from your store in their lifetime, or had their vehicle serviced at your dealership one or more times in the past 12 months. These customers are considered active and are more likely to see your holiday marketing as goodwill and keep you as their preferred dealership.

Determine Your Delivery Method
In almost every instance, you’ll want to deliver marketing messages in the most cost-effective manner, mostly because you’re looking to drive traffic and usually volume marketing means more feet on your lot.  Your end-of-the-year marketing is a time to think a little differently by spending a little more per piece and targeting the right audience. By doing this, you’ll reap the rewards of getting in front of your most loyal customers. These customers already know your dealership and are loyal to your brand, so spending more to keep them coming back will reap a big payoff. Think about delivering a nice direct mail campaign; don’t send another tri-fold or a flashy sales piece with a list of incentives and specials, but a nice holiday card that demonstrates your commitment to your customers and generates additional brand loyalty.

Get Creative with Messaging
The truth is car dealerships get a bad rap. They’re known for taking too long to sell and service a vehicle, weaseling people out of money, and I’m sure you can add a few more to the list. But the reality is, car dealerships are just like every other franchised retail store in America. They care about their customers, they want them to come back, and yes, they want to make money. Let your holiday marketing be an opportunity to put a face to your dealership, demonstrate your appreciation for their business, and show your humanistic side. Don’t solicit their business, but ask them to return to your store in the coming year. Be sure to also thank them for their patronage and wish them well in the new year.

Deliver On Time
Something you’ll want to keep in mind is the timing of your message. The holiday season is typically hectic for many Americans, so you need to make sure your holiday cards reach your most loyal customers at exactly the right time. Typically holiday cards should arrive in mailboxes between Thanksgiving and Christmas. If your holiday greeting cards don’t make it to your customers in a timely manner, they will not be received as a sincere thought, and you’ll have missed your opportunity to score extra points in the loyalty department.

It may be hard to put yourself into holiday mode so far in advance, but if you’re going to leverage this end-of-the-year strategy, harvest your database, and deliver a meaningful message to your customers, you need to get started now. Holiday cards are a great way to demonstrate your appreciation for your customers’ business, strengthen their affinity for your dealership, create top-of-mind awareness, and make a lasting impression on your customers as we head into the new year. Stop stalling; don’t wait another day. Start planning your holiday marketing strategy today!

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