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Popular Automotive Mail Promotions, Tips and Ideas for Fall 2017

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We've been working with dealerships and ad agencies for quite a long time now.  With well over 100 million mailers sent out, there is no shortage of experience based knowledge built into our company DNA.  We constantly get asked questions like what mailer is hot right now or what is your "best" mailer? That is such a tricky question because each dealership is different, each market has a niche and most importantly the circumstances that mailer is thrust upon are constantly evolving.  Regardless of the theme or specific promotion, here are 5 tips we've learned along the way to give your automotive mailers the best chance to work well month in and month out:

1)  Stop with the 4 or 5 day only sales.  This urgent short sale mentality made sense back when staffed events were more popular and the road crew had a limited time to be at your dealership.  These days post offices have a longer window to deliver mail and still be within their guidelines so there is a greater potential to have late mail with a 4 day sale. Everybody has experienced late mail, us included.  What have we learned?  Extend the sales dates out and avoid the "late mail" headache before it starts.  Problem solved.

2)  Allow for 3-5 rounds of changes on a mailer.  I say this all the time, the best mailer is the one that actually goes out.  We find some dealers are in a constant state of creative revisions until the month has passed them by.  Unless your dealership is only selling 3 cars a week, the reality is we could update the used vehicles on the mailer everyday because one of them just got sold.  We can appreciate wanting to have the most current inventory on the mailer but if we get to version 20 of your artwork and you're still not ready to print because a car just got sold then there's a problem. Quick, approve the mailer before we sell another vehicle!

3) Take advantage of postage costs geared toward dense lists vs highly targeted lists.  Postage and list density are inversely proportional.  The more filters we add, the less dense the list becomes and the higher the postage becomes per piece.  For example, instead of requesting to hit Ford owners with model year 2012 to 2015, try hitting Ford owners from 2005 to 2015.  This will not only decrease printing cost with a larger run size but also your per piece postage will drop because the list will have more density.  

4) Dealerships love to send direct mail to their customer database.  It feels good to mail to people who "like" you. This is a great idea once in a while but let's be logical.  When mailing only to your customer database, the chances of getting a brand new customer are very slim.  Why?  Because the customer list only contains current customers and there are no new people on the list to even respond to the mailing.  Don't get me wrong, a CRM mailing has it's value, just don't go thinking a ton of fresh faces are going to show up off of a customer database mailer each time.

5) Avoid dropping mail directly into a holiday weekend. Fact is the post office barely has enough employees normally and when they start taking vacations all at the same time, this leaves many post offices temporarily but severely understaffed. Mail can sit at local PO's (DDU's) for days without being touched when a carrier is on vacation.  Be smart and plan ahead for a successful holiday sale. Sign off early and extend the sale a few days past the holiday to get maximum impact. This will leave plenty of wiggle room for them to get your mail out and not fall into the late mail trap many direct mail companies set themselves up for.  Also, the post office is not open on many of these popular automotive sale dates so keep that in mind.  Below is a list of days the post offices are closed in 2017:

  • Monday, January 2 New Year’s Day (observed)
  • Monday, January 16 Martin Luther King Jr. birthday
  • Monday, February 20 Washington’s Birthday
  • Monday, May 29 Memorial Day
  • Tuesday, July 4 Independence Day
  • Monday, September 4 Labor Day
  • Monday, October 9 Columbus Day
  • Friday, November 10 Veterans Day (observed)
  • Thursday, November 23 Thanksgiving Day
  • Monday, December 25 Christmas Day

Automotive direct mail is too fast paced and complicated for anybody to dabble in.  I've seen plenty of copy cats dip a toe in only to lose their leg.  When choosing a company to work with, look for somebody with experience, deep industry knowledge and the ability to give straight talk advice.  Here are Cheap Auto Mailers we pride ourselves in being the best of the best.  This means the smartest people with the most advanced equipment who are willing the work the hardest to make your direct mail promotion a success. 

For more information and a free market analysis by one of our professionals, please call today!