If you’re in the automotive repair business, you know how hard it can be to get your name out there and keep a steady stream of new customers rolling into your garage. To stay competitive, you need to reach out constantly and give people a reason to choose your auto repair shop over the others. Direct mail is a great way to target prospects and get them in the door so that you can hopefully convert them into lifetime customers. Use these tips to create an automotive direct mail campaign that gets results!
Get the right list
Who you mail to is just as important as what you mail. You should narrow your list down geographically to addresses within a realistic distance. If you have a specialty, work on certain types of cars, or want to advertise motorcycle repair services, you can buy a list of your specific vehicle owners in your area. If you offer more general services that anyone could use, you should base your list off of your current customer list. Take a look at the customers who have brought in the most profit for you and use their information to create a “look-alike” list, which includes people who match the profile of your preferred customer (based on location, income, gender, etc.)
Use your branding
One thing that automotive direct mail is great for is generating brand recognition. Get a professionally designed logo and include it on your mailers to ensure that your community remembers your name. If you market consistently, they’ll start to think about your brand when they think auto repair.
Include all contact info
Make sure to include your address, phone number, and website on your mailer. Give recipients as many ways to contact you as possible, including social media if you have it.
Make great offers
The content of your mailer should make a specific offer for one or several of your services. Offer discounts or free add-ons for entry-level services like oil changes, tire rotation, wheel alignment, tune up, etc. Use numbers, like “15% off oil change” or “Oil Change Special: $30.00 for first time customers.” Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to throw in a freebie, for example offering a free diagnosis. A lot of people know there’s something wrong with their car but hesitate to take it to a shop. If you can reach them with an offer for free diagnosis, you’ll likely get them in the door have them paying for repairs in no time.
Use a call to action
Don’t expect them to know what to do with your offer, instruct them! Good calls to action include “Call 1-800-555-5555 to schedule your appointment” “visit www.xyzautorepair.com/schedule to book your appointment” or “bring this coupon into your appointment to receive your discount”.
Make it lumpy
Sometimes the hardest part about automotive direct mail is getting the recipients attention in the first place. Many people sift through their mail quickly and toss the junk to the recycling; unfortunately your mailer could end up there if it doesn’t grab their attention. One way to do this is to put something in your envelope that will make it lumpy. Think branded objects like pens, keychains, or car/fridge magnets. You could also use a toy car! These things will entice your prospects to open and read out of curiosity.
Direct mail advertising is never a one-and-done success. It takes time and repeated mailings to get real results because you need to build brand recognition. If you mail once a month for 4-6 months you should definitely see a stream of new customers coming in as a result.
Send to past customers
It’s cheaper and more effective to keep an existing customer than it is to attract a new one, so don’t leave out your current and past customers. Use direct mail to remind them they are due for service.
Give referral rewards
Direct mail is also a great way to start a referral rewards program. For independent auto repair shops, referrals are most often the biggest source of new business. Encourage your current customers to refer their friends to you by sending a mailer offering a free or discounted service in exchange for a referral that turns into a customer. You could send them five business cards inside a mailer that says “Write your full name on these cards and give them to your friends when they need auto repair and maintenance… for every card returned to us, we’ll send you a coupon for a free oil change!” This makes your customers feel special and gets them to send business your way.
Work with experts
When it comes to automotive direct mail, you don’t want to wing it yourself or partner with a subpar marketing company. The right agency for your automotive direct mail campaign is one that understands your industry and can do it all with high quality standards, from mailing list to design to print to mail. We help automotive repair business find their most profitable customers and get them in the garage!
Article by John Kennedy
Born and currently based in Lowell, Massachusetts, John is an impassioned copywriter and Olly Olly’s fearless Content Manager.
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