Is your dealership sending out direct mailers on a monthly basis?
How many calls did your last mailer drive?
How many appointments did these calls generate?
How many UPs came through the door?
These are questions that dealers still need to look at when spending big money on these campaigns. Let’s take a look at why direct mail campaigns fail.
1. No call tracking: Direct mail campaigns get created and the dealership’s local phone number is advertised. Now prospects call the dealership and no one knows what the source is. The other problem is that no one knows how many calls were generated in a given day. There is no accountability to sourcing calls. There is also no way to train people to handle these calls properly.
2. No communication: Dealers sign up to spend thousands on the campaign. The mailer drops and the calls start coming in. Sales professionals and/or BDC representatives have no idea what the prospect is asking them (because they were not trained). This means the caller gets placed on hold for what seems to be a long time (from the caller point of view). Finally something is figured out and we tell the customer to “just come in”. Some sales people might handle the call like any other call which means that they will not secure the source, name, phone number, email or an appointment. Finally when asking management about what was mentioned in the call management responds “oh yea we dropped a mailer two days ago”. They will even say something like “good to see that the calls are coming in”. The same lack of communication hurts sales people on the floor when customers bring in the mailer.
3. The blame game: It is not news that when something fails there is always someone or something to blame. Ask a dealer that has not done direct mail in a long time and they will tell you that it was a horrible waste of money. But look at their sources and notice that they do not have call monitoring. Look at their setup and notice that no one is trained to handle phone calls or showroom ups properly. While we agree that there are some poor direct mail companies out there we know that there are also some great ones.
4. Poor campaign: If you send out a mailer offering a key to bring in for a chance to win a vehicle you will fail! If you send out a mailer giving customers free lottery tickets just for showing up you will fail! If you send a mailer offering vacations and other giveaways you will fail! In fact the only winner here is the vendor that ripped you off as they laugh their way to the bank with the money that they ripped you off for. If you are going to advertise through direct mail consider offering the right message. Dealers that offer buy back programs can increase used car inventory and in turn sell more new cars. If there is a recall with a competing brand, use that to target conquest customers.
The bottom line is that direct mail dilemma is created from many factors. Direct mail is incredible when married with a digital marketing effort for the dealership. We have seen incredible success from direct mail when executed properly. Dealer eTraining has created solid processes to assist dealers with executing direct mail campaigns and providing training for dealerships to properly handle the opportunities without skipping a beat.