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Automotive Direct Mail

3 Reasons Why Direct Mail Still Matters

In our digital world, it can be easy to discredit direct mail – but that’s a mistake.

According to the Direct Marketing Association, direct mail has a response rate of up to five percent versus just under one percent for digital.

That makes sense when you consider that it’s not unusual for the average person to receive 300 emails a day, half of which they delete without even opening. On the flip side, the average person may receive only three pieces of mail a day, all of which they at least scan.

After all, no one is going to take half their mail and throw it away without even scanning it. Sure, it may still end up in the garbage or recycling bin. But at least your customers see it and process the message. Here are three reasons why you should still involve direct mail in your marketing mix.

Direct mail is a team player.

Every great marketing strategy uses multiple channels. In a digital strategy, you can’t just run Google ads and call it a day. Similarly, direct mail is a great team player to combine with digital, phone campaigns and BDC follow-up.

Consider this example of a large dealer group in New York. They ran two separate sales campaigns and saw very different results.

In the first, 4,500 Kia store customers received a direct mail offer followed-up with a live call from its BDC. In the second, 6,500 Nissan store customers received a direct mail offer with no BDC follow-up.

The Kia store sold 158 cars. The Nissan store sold 116. The Kia store saw a 36 percent increase in sales simply by combining direct mail with live calls.

That’s the power of multi-channel marketing. The direct mail gets you in front of customers. The BDC follow-up spurs them to act.

Direct mail is a relationship-marketing tool.

Your dealership likely spends a lot of time emailing and calling customers, which are both very viable methods of communication. But sometimes customers get tired of one particular channel. Direct mail is a great way to surprise them with something different so they actually read and digest what you’re sending.

Remember that everyone at least glances at their mail. A customer who has a relationship with you will be even more likely to read a letter or postcard. After all, it could be important information about a recall or service issue. In this way, direct mail keeps you front-of-mind.

Just like with other channels, it doesn’t make sense to send the same mail to every customer. Irrelevant messages lead to frustration with and distrust of your dealership.

Use your dealership CRM to create targeted lists and create a message for each customer segment. For example, a customer coming up on a lease end would be a good target for information about newer vehicles of the same make and model. A customer coming up on 50,000 miles will look more closely at an offer for shocks and struts.

A final thought:  It costs your dealership up to five times more to acquire a new customer than retain one you already have. Same with retention - it’s more than 350 percent more profitable to sell to an existing customer than a new one.

Direct mail is a great way to nurture existing relationships to create lifelong customers.

Direct mail is tangible.

Email may be easy to send, but it’s also easy to ignore. Direct mail is tangible. Customers actually hold it in their hands and scan it.

According to research company Mailmen, the average household keep advertising mail for 17 days. They may tack coupons to the fridge or leave a pile on the kitchen counter where everyone in the family has plenty of time to review it and act on it. 

Unlike emails that get deleted or filed away somewhere never to be seen again, direct mail has a great shelf life.  Households see it and hold onto relevant offers and information. You’re marketing the driveway with one piece of mail, instead of multiple emails and/or phone calls.

Every time a customer walks by the fridge or counter, they see your dealership name and branding. What could be better for keeping you top-of-mind?

Direct mail is dead? Don’t believe the hype. In our age of digital overload, it’s more alive than ever. Add direct mail into your marketing mix to help retain customers, increase the shelf-life of your advertising and keep your brand top-of-mind.