For years, marketers have been contacting automotive consumers through direct mail. Direct mail was an essential part of most automotive marketing campaigns, but due to the rise of email marketing, it has been falling through the cracks. Email marketing is the trend that has been widely adopted by many automotive marketing campaigns of late.
Over the first 15 years of the 21st century the major trend has been new technology. People have a desire to do everyday tasks through their computers, phones, and tablets. Online shopping has been on the rise, social media has entered the lives of most Americans, and even personal relationships are being formed through technology. The marketing world has also seen a similar trend, including social media, online advertising, search engine optimization, and a push toward email marketing rather than direct mail. With all of this new technology, is direct mail going to survive in the marketing industry? Or will it be replaced by email marketing? Which should you use for your marketing campaigns?
Automotive Direct Mail
Direct mail is still an excellent way to market your products. It is an overlooked source of media that has proven to be successful for many businesses throughout history. Many people may think the USPS is struggling, however a study by Epsilon showed that 98% of people still check their mailbox daily, and 77% sort their mail immediately. This statistic not only shows that people are still looking at their mail, but they are still interested in it as well. The enticing thing about direct mail is that it is almost guaranteed to be at least looked at by the intended reader when it is being sorted. Having a tangible item mailed to prospective customers can create a stronger sense of engagement.
What businesses will benefit the greatest through direct mail campaigns? Many businesses will find success in using a direct mail campaign, but the businesses that will excel will do so by following a strict marketing plan. By ensuring that the campaign has an enticing offer, its reaching a specific target audience and the timing of the offer is sensible, the campaign is more likely to succeed. By using radius marketing, local businesses can target potential customers in what they believe to be the areas they primarily sell to. Depending on the type of business, generally the customer base resides within a 20 mile radius. Businesses should study their current customer base to determine their exact reach.
Coupons, flyers and catalogs are often included in these direct mailings, making it more tempting for customers to respond. Knowing your target audience is essential. For example, when targeting older customers, direct mail may be more effective than other forms of advertising. This generation tends to prefer tangible mailings, rather than emails. For instance, if you were trying to target people who own classic or historical cars, a majority of these customers would be of the older generation. Sending them something they could actually touch and read will be a great advantage for this segment of the market.
Disadvantages of Automotive Direct Mailings
However, there are a few downsides with direct mail. The timing of direct mail cannot be as exact as email. With email you can send out an email whenever it is that you want the audience to see it. With direct mail, it is put in a mailbox and it will be delivered in few days. Another downside of direct mail is price. It is much more expensive to print off and send tangible items. The cost of the material and the postage must be considered when estimating the cost of a direct mailing. Finally, the direct mail industry is down compared to previous years, mostly due to the ease of online payments, text messaging, and of course email.
Automotive Email Marketing
Email marketing has been the trend of late. It also has been proven to have a very high success rate. With email the amount of time to create a message is much lower. You can create a single email and send it to thousands of customers. This may make the email seem quite generic, however it is actually very customizable. For example, when doing an email campaign you can include a personal message to the receiver, including their name, the type of vehicle they own, or pretty much any short specific message that you would like the receiver to see. This is done through coding, and makes an email much more personal and still contacts thousands of customers.
Another great thing about email marketing is that there are many templates that can be used over and over again with slight alterations. Through email the customer can have an immediate response that will help determine the overall success of the email. On top of this, links can be put in an email, drawing customers straight to the company’s webpage. This is a great tactic that will improve page views, which in turn improve sales.
Analytics have made email marketing a great way to measure success. Analytics will allow you to see how many people opened your email, bounced, clicked through, or what page they click through to. These statistics will be able to provide you with a great amount of valuable information that will help you determine the strengths and weaknesses of your email or even your website. Through analytics, many different traits about a page viewer can be tracked including demographics, geography, and even the duration of time spent on the site. Information also travels much quicker through email. With just a few clicks someone could easily share your email with any one of their friends by forwarding the message. This will create a much larger audience that could be reached through email.
Most companies should be doing some sort of email marketing, especially B2B (business to business). Sending clients emails based on seasonal deals or sales on products is a very strong tactic and should be used. It is also more likely for a business to open an email as opposed to a consumer, due to the fact that they are on work computers more frequently and are getting paid to stay on top of their emails. It is important for clients to be aware of what is being promoted to them. This is why email is very helpful; it is a quick and easy way to stay in touch with your customers.
Disadvantages of Automotive Email Marketing
There are a couple disadvantages when it comes to email marketing. The primary disadvantage would be the poor open rates. Often times a business may get a few bad email addresses causing their emails never to be opened, or the email was sent at a poor time making the open rates decrease, which make the click through rates go down as well. Also emails are very easily deleted, sometimes even before they were opened. Emails can also be ruled as spam or junk email and will not make it into a customer’s inbox, making it very unlikely for the customer to ever read it. Success through email marketing is high even though there are these few disadvantages.
Direct mail and email are both great ways to reach existing and potential customers. Due to the fact that they reach different customers, both direct mail and email should be considered when putting together a marketing campaign.
For more information on direct mail see http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/242731