I don’t think a week goes by without a car dealer asking me the question: “Should I consider direct mail and car flyers to generate more leads and sales for my dealership?” And the answer, like with most media, is yes and no.
Yes, if you’re going to have the right expectations and create a mail piece that’s going to play a role in a chain reaction leading to sales. No, if you’re expecting the mail piece to do all the work.
Car Flyer Campaigns Should Be Like A 4x100 Meters Relay Race
The #1 mistake I see car dealers do with direct mail automotive campaigns is trying to place too much pressure on the design on the flyer. They want the mail piece to convince the reader it’s the right time to buy, convince the reader of the make they represent, the models they sell, the current incentives, their dealership and attract people with good credit, who will pay full price and won’t want too much for their trade. Do you recognize yourself in this description?
The reality is no piece of paper can do all that. And it's not just direct mail; I don’t know of any media that could deliver all that at once. That’s why I like to think of automotive direct mail campaigns more like a 4x100 metres relay race where each runner runs their portion of the race and passes the baton to the other.
The First 100 Metres: The Flyer
The flyer runs the first leg by creating awareness with the prospect and answering the most important question they have on their mind: What’s in it for me?” The flyer should also have a strong call for action (the baton) requiring the prospect to call, text, scan or visit an URL leading to a digital environment that will allow the prospect to engage with your event from the comfort of their home.
The Second 100 Metres: The Digital
The digital will then run the second leg of the race by providing to the now intrigued prospect more information about your sale’s event, providing ample credibility and a good “hook” that will entice the prospect to provide you his personal and trade information. One of the most powerful ways to do this is to use an engaging video that will bring salesmanship to the experience. Remember, cars don’t sell themselves. Salesmanship sells cars!
The Third 100 Metres: The Trainer
The third leg of the race will be run by the event trainer, facilitator or coordinator. Your private sale trainer will pick up the phone and immediately engage by voice with the prospect who completed the form. They will validate the promises made by the flyer, and the digital, and will use their skills and their abilities to schedule a face-to-face appointment with the sales team at the dealership. When possible, you want to be following up by phone with the leads in the first 2 minutes after they were generated by the digital.
The Forth 100 Metres: Your Sales Team
The fourth and final leg of the race will be run by your sales team. They will have the responsibility to match the sales experience with the promises and expectations created by the marketing. They should validate the promises made by the flyer, the digital, and the trainer and provide a memorable experience at the dealership that will lead to a close.
It’s critical that every member of the sales team reviews in detail the content of the flyer, watches the videos and completes a form just like if they were a customer so they are aware of every step that the prospect has taken before their face-to-face. There is nothing more frustrating for a prospect than marketing that cries wolf where they can’t experience on the sales side the excitement promised by the advertising.
Remember: If You Drop The Baton You Lose
Now just like in a real 4x100 metres relay race, if your individual runners drop the baton you lose. If your flyer doesn’t have a strong design and a powerful call for action, the digital will never have a chance to run. If your digital is weak and uninspiring, doesn’t provide a video to engage prospects and an enticing hook to get them to provide you their information; your trainer won’t have any leads to work with. And if you deal with an unskilled trainer, you will get very little appointments booked at the dealership, and very little deals closed at the end of your event.
Keep In Mind 90% of People Who Will Get Your Flyers Are Non-Intenders
Keep in mind, as you are building your campaign, that 90% of the people who will get your flyers will be non-intenders who woke up this morning not thinking they can change their vehicle. Non-intenders don’t care about prices and payments because they don’t have the purchase of a new vehicle on their mind.