How two birds with one stone protects your investment

By: Alexia Henson

Have you ever considered targeting your sales and service customers simultaneously?

Try placing a service offer in with your next sales mailer. I promise you’ll be happy with the results.

Service has become a highly competitive market. Shops now exist on practically every street corner. It’s hard to find a conquest customer who is willing to drive more than five blocks for service, which makes mailing more than five miles out from your dealership a huge gamble. But where there’s no risk, there’s no great reward either.

To be smarter with your marketing dollar, include a service insert with your sales mailer. Target customers for both sides of the business—and you can target service customers farther out without putting a lot of money at risk.

Take a look at the numbers: A solo conquest service mailer runs anywhere from 79 to 94 cents or more without factoring in the cost of the conquest data. By contrast, an insert for service added to a sales mailer can ride for only a nickel. So let’s say you plan to mail out a sales mailer of 5,000 pieces. You can add a service insert for just $250— expanding your marketing area for service without putting your budget in jeopardy! A service insert will pay for the cost of your sales mailer 4-6 times over, and every vehicle you sell off the sales mailer is then additional revenue.

I’ve seen this work time and time again.

Here’s a great example: After much persuasion, a dealer that I do a lot of business with decided to give this a try, although he was hesitant at first. Well, two months later, he called in to request another sales mailer. He had forgotten our previous conversation and told me, “I just want to let you know… I don’t do sales mailers without a service insert.” I chuckled a bit as I got the rest of the details for his new mailer. Of course, I didn’t remind him the service insert was my idea in the first place.

Doubling up your sales and service mailers is a cost-effective strategy, but it doesn’t mean you should start sending them out every other week. Here’s how to hit the sweet spot: target your customers just the right amount—mail them information frequently enough that they are paying attention but not so much that they shut you off and stop taking your offers seriously. To avoid oversaturating your customers with marketing messages, touch them each with a targeted communication every 90 days.

One last point on this: Don’t just slap a service offer at the bottom of your sales mailer and merge them together as one piece. These are two entirely different messages with different expiration dates. When you combine them, a customer has to keep the sales mailer just for the service coupon. This is a huge hassle, as the sales mailer offer is usually only active for 3-4 days while a service coupon is good for around 30-60 days. You don’t want your sales and service mailers to compete and take validity away from one another. Instead, hit customers with both items separately in the same mailer.

With this strategy, you can target conquest customers who have never done business with your dealership before, which helps to expand your market in both sales and service. These customers may not be in the market for a new vehicle just yet, but perhaps they’re due for an oil change, or vice versa. In any scenario, you’ll end up with two opportunities instead of just one—at a fraction of the cost of running two separate mail campaigns.

Alexia Henson, National Marketing Director for AutoLoop /Car-Research, began her career in the automotive industry 22 years ago when a friend persuaded her to take a position selling cars at a Chevrolet dealership in Jacksonville, Florida. She was subsequently recruited by a Houston-based automotive mail-marketing firm seeking to expand its Florida region: her success in that area ultimately launched mail marketing divisions for New Millennium Marketing, ELEAD’S and American Marketing. She also owned and operated her own company for six years, further capitalizing on her marketing acumen. Ms. Henson is uniquely qualified to teach the importance of using proven techniques and highly strategic moves to achieve success.

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