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Auto dealers are shipping out direct mailings less and less, but some still feel it's the bread and butter of their marketing campaigns.
We would love to talk with any automotive marketer who actually has success with direct mailers. For real.
When we're talking with potential and current clients, one question often comes up:
“Why don't you do direct mailers?”
Depending on the interaction we've had with the client, our responses range from “We only do online marketing” to something a bit more lighthearted: “Do you like getting the extra junk mail?”
(Just to clarify: we love the USPS, but they probably appreciate junk mail as much as we do.)
Here are five reasons why we choose not to offer automotive direct mailers as a service for our clients.
1. We Are a Digital Auto Marketing Agency
This is the easiest explanation of why we don't do direct mailings: we stick to online marketing. Direct mailers are part of traditional or print marketing.
The digital equivalent of a direct mailer would be a spam email sent to everyone you've ever dealt with. Remember those chain emails that haunted the early years of email? Yeah, we hated them too.
2. Direct Mailers Don't Fit an Inbound Strategy
Our office preaches inbound marketing.
If you are familiar with inbound marketing (since you're reading our blog, we think you're familiar with it), you know we like to target our messages to the right people, at the right time, and at the right place.
Direct mailings are sent through snail mail, so they usually hit everyone on a very broad list — which is very un-inbound-y.
3. Direct Mailers Offer Little to No ROI
The biggest problem with direct mailers is that they rarely provide any clear return on investment (ROI). If you don't include a coupon or other major incentive for someone to walk into your dealership (and actually remember to bring said mailer), you won't know if the mailer actually worked.
With email marketing, people can keep your email on their phone — and phones are almost always within hand's reach of your customers.
Most importantly, robust marketing automation software like HubSpot allows you to track who opens your emails, who clicks on various links within your emails, and other interactions they have with you.
These people — they can become your bread-and-butter clients.
4. Direct Mailers Don't Help the Common Man
We all know people who want everything at their fingertips. We're not saying they're lazy — maybe they're just way too busy.
With direct mailers, people cannot simply click on a link to access a coupon. Instead, they have to manually type in a code on their phone's tiny keyboard (or worse, turn on their desktop). Most people don't have time for that.
Direct mailers usually don't answer the questions customers have — at least, not at the right time. If you send out a direct mailer, someone who receives it might already be a step ahead of you in the buying process. The information is deemed irrelevant to where they are in the process.
5. There's No Easy Way to Unsubscribe
Let me tell you a little story.
Nine months ago, a blue package arrived on my doorstep. I had ordered new shoes two days prior and thought, “Wow, that was super fast.” Lo and behold, the package contained baby formula.
I am neither a mom nor pregnant, so I wondered how this company decided I should receive samples. Ironically, the box was addressed to my maiden name, which has somehow followed me and my husband to our new house address.
Every single month since, I have received more samples or coupons. And all it does is frustrate me more, because I can't unsubscribe from these mailings like I can email.
Which is probably the case for most other people receiving unwanted junk mail, too.
Don't Be a Mailer — Be an Emailer
Are you still sending out direct mail pieces to your database?
We suggest you learn more about online marketing options, especially email marketing. Hitting the right audience is key. With real-time statistics to back up each person's location throughout the buying process, you can send your information to the right people at the right time.
Click below to learn more about our email marketing services and how they can improve your ROI and marketing budget.