Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Auto Marketing: Does Direct Mail Work?

As I spend part of this week finalizing neat postcard promotions, I can't help but wonder who will actually view our Shop Saver Express postcards. Today, on Auto Shop Owner Network, there was a discussion on if Direct Mail works for the average automotive service shop. What's really going on with promotional mailers? Will it help the "local mechanic?"

Auto Shop Owner Network users answer these questions, along with several articles I processed today. Here are some facts and phrases I have thought would be good to post, in the event you were looking to mail a winter ad to your loyal customer base, or a fall oil change promotion to the new neighborhood around the block.

  • One of the keys to direct mail is to figure out what you are trying to accomplish in each piece. What are you offering? Why are you special? Why are you mailing this customer? What do you want? Answer these questions in the design phase of your mailer.
  • The easiest time to drive new business, according to an Automotive Shop Owner, is February-March. Mailing a flier out in November may be severely looked, unless you have a good gimmick.
  • The more consistent, the better audience you receive!
Email VS. Direct Mail
  • Email is good because it is incredibly cheap, fast, easy, and convenient. However, email is still not the standard way of communicating to auto shop owners and customer clientele. Email addresses are also only achieved through old customer base, so the prospect for new customers is very slim. Direct mail is costly, and largely pooled into the considerate void of "junk mail." Rick Suttle of smallbusiness.chron.com states that the best thing is to use both, and to listen to your customer base. 
    • Ask yourself before deciding to send email or postal mail:
      • Is it time sensitive?
      • Have I asked the customer if they prefer mail/email promotions?
      • Do I have a budget?
      • Is my clientele online?
We are trying to go online, but what I see with Shop Saver Express is a larger percentage of catalog call-in orders, and not so much email communication or website orders. The internet would be easier for us, but our customer loyalty base is better via phone.

Either way, I am hoping that sending neat, friendly postcards is a great reminder to purchase our Auto Service Shop products online. I am also hoping to receive discount oil change coupons in the mail, so keep coming direct mail fliers!