Automotive Direct Mail Marketing, Other Tips to Drive Shop Traffic
Automotive direct mail marketing ideas
Automotive direct mail marketing is one way to bring traffic into your parts store. Here are some auto shop direct mail ideas to use. These ideas apply to auto repair shops and automobile dealerships, too.
Auto dealership parts and service departments, auto shops and local auto repair businesses have been hit with the COVID-19 pandemic. Thankfully the automotive industry and automotive aftermarket are doing well despite these economic headwinds. With concerns about the delta and omicron variants, here are some automotive direct mail marketing ideas we hope you find helpful. We give you tips including how to use automotive direct mail marketing as well as some free marketing tips to get your customers back into your shop.
Automotive direct mail marketing
Automotive direct mail marketing is an effective way to send your message directly to owners of cars and trucks in your service area. Plus, during the coronavirus shutdown, postal mail volume is down so anything you mail will stand out even more. People aren’t paying less attention to postal mail sent to their home! If anything they’re paying more attention to automotive direct mail marketing.
But, we understand. Getting an automotive mail list can be intimidating if you haven’t done it before. (And here’s a link for a fast quote on an automotive mailing list.)
First, know that you can reach owners of specific vehicles, selected by year/make/model, at their home address. Also, you have the option to reach these car and truck owners by geographic selection. This includes county, ZIP code, city, or even a radius around your repair shop or automobile dealership.
For example, let’s say your repair shop is located at 123 Main Street and you draw customers from a 10 mile radius. Specify an automotive mail list in a 10-mile radius around your shop’s location.
Automotive mail lists are a great way to let customers know you’re open for business. Or, in the case of some parts of the country that are coming out of the coronavirus shutdown it’s a great way to let customers know you’re re-opening.
If you use automotive direct mail, clean up your house list
If you use automotive direct mail, there are only two ways to send direct mail pieces to customers or prospective customers. You either buy a mailing list or you send mail to your own customers. If you have an in-house list don’t forget that people move! About 12%-18% of US households change addresses once a year. That’s over 40 million per year. That means after three years it’s possible that half of your mailing list is out of date.
You may not worry about this, thinking the mail will get forwarded. You should know that the post office maintains change of address data in their NCOALinkTM system only for 48 months. “NCOA” stands for national change of address. However, many mailing houses only update addresses for the past 18 months using the NCOA18 service.
Also, first class mail that is undeliverable as addressed (UAA) gets returned to the sender. If you send standard (bulk) direct mail marketing pieces and they’re UAA they are typically discarded.
18 free tips to increase store traffic, outside of automotive direct mail marketing
Here are 18 free tips to market your auto parts or auto repair business. Some of these tips can also be mentioned on a post card mailing.
Customers are concerned about their health and safety. It’s important to let customers know you are concerned, too, not only for them but for your own employees.
Here are some marketing ideas to use:
1). Have a specific vehicle pick up and drop off area. Be sure to sanitize customer vehicles before they’re being picked up, or right as they’re being picked up. Either wipe down the interior or use a room fogger or spray can fogger. Spray and wipe down the dashboard, steering wheel, controls and door handles.
2). Leave a note inside the car that it has been disinfected.
3). If you don’t already use seat and floor protectors, use them. This is typically standard practice at dealerships but not universal at repair shops.
4). Make sure your employees use rubber or vinyl gloves and train them to properly remove gloves to avoid spreading germs. Employees should wear masks especially if they interact with customers.
5). Have hand sanitizer in customer waiting areas and employee areas, and of course make sure you have plenty of soap.
6). Prominently-placed signs to remind people to wash their hands sends a message that your business has safety as a priority.
7). Spread customers out while they’re waiting for their vehicle. Have alternative seating areas around your business if you only have one small waiting area.
More marketing ideas for your auto repair shop
8). “Contactless” is the new buzzword in the coronavirus world we live in. For contactless payment, avoid paper and anything that requires exchanging a pen or a terminal’s electronic pen. For contactless vehicle check-in, have an online process.
9). If you’re still in transition to contactless and you absolutely have to use a pen, wipe it down with a sanitizer in front of your customer before handing it over. Better yet, have a “clean” and “used” pen container. Customers can use a “clean” pen and then leave it in the “used” container for future sanitizing.
Here are even more non-automotive direct mail ideas to use:
10). Have your customers wait in their cars until you’re ready to take their car. Have a service advisor talk to the customer while they’re still in the car, from the passenger window.
11). Encourage customers to schedule their appointment online ahead of time, so you don’t have customers waiting around. Set longer intervals for appointments to space out customers.
12). Mark on the floor where customers can stand or walk, while maintaining a safe distance from others. Mark areas or hallways as one-way only. Post signs to let your customers know about how you are keeping them safe, with instructions to follow signs and one-way directions.
13). Use email and text messages to communicate appointment times, updates and pick up times to your customers.
14). Vehicle pickup and delivery: some shops have stepped up free pickup and delivery for customers.
15). Separate your automotive service customers from employees with plexiglass sheets, like you see in carry-out restaurants and other retail businesses.
16). Consider using digital multi-point inspection (MPI) if you aren’t doing that already. Digital MPI lets you communicate technician’s recommendations to your customers via their phone. Customers can then sign estimates remotely. There are several vendors with digital MPI systems to integrate with your automotive service business or automotive dealership.
17). Try to interact with your customers on their phone, before, during and after the appointment. Your customers are probably on their phone anyway, and customers are used to using their phone as a tool to shop. Any contactless communication on a customers’ phone will be appreciated.
Automotive direct mail ideas: communicate safety to customers
Here are some great automotive direct mail ideas to use:
18). Many of the suggestions on this page are good to include on a postcard to customers. Of you have an online scheduling system, publish the link for your customers. If you offer pickup and delivery, let customers know about that and also let them know how you will be sanitizing their vehicle. Also include any changes in business hours you may have put in place.
Imagine your customers receiving a direct mailer with photos of all the changes in your shop to ensure their safety as well as the safety of your employees.
Automotive direct mail marketing using a postcard is a great way to let customers know you’re safely open for business!
Here’s a link to another resource for automotive direct mail lists.
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