Combining Direct Mail and Digital Marketing for Auto Repair Shops
In this increasingly competitive marketing environment, you have to promote your shop on a variety of channels, and that often means adding digital media to your print marketing strategy.
If you don’t have a good balance of online and offline presence, you’re likely losing out on customers.
The shop owners we work with gain different benefits from different types of marketing, and even better results when different strategies are combined for maximum impact. We’ve found that a combination of direct mail and digital marketing produces the best results for auto repair shops.
Auto repair direct mail marketing
Whether it’s going to an existing customer or a new one, the whole idea behind sending direct mail is getting into someone’s home in a way that isn’t possible with emails or texts (which can be easily ignored or deleted).
Direct mail is simple one-way communication: people get a postcard, which hopefully prompts a call to the number listed on the mailer. If they don’t need your services right away, they can also hold onto your mailer for future reference, or at least become aware of your brand.
With direct mail, shop owners can use demographic research to target the best potential customers located closest to their business. Targeting particular demographics or geographic areas can help you get the best ROI for direct mail. For example, sending direct mail advertisements to people who recently moved to your area can be an especially effective strategy.
Auto repair digital marketing
There are many different options for digital marketing, including social media advertising, email marketing, and pay-per-click. Consumers can be directed to visit your website, fill out contact forms, or book service appointments online.
In the long-term, you might find that print media is a great tool for acquisition, while digital media is a good strategy for retention (since it’s less expensive on a per-impression basis). Once a customer is in your database, social media, email marketing, and text messaging will help you maintain brand awareness.
Digital + print = maximum exposure
While digital marketing and print marketing each offer their own advantages, the best way to optimize your advertising spend is to combine both methods. By leveraging both approaches, you’ll be able to increase your exposure — and your response rate.
Direct mail campaigns can help drive customers to your digital channels. When developing mailers for our clients, our strategy is to include promotions that prospects can access by following a link that takes them to dedicated landing pages. Those links are trackable, so we can use them to figure out if our direct mail campaigns are working, and to plan our retargeting efforts.
We can also design mailers to send prospects to the main website, the testimonials page (to build credibility), or a scheduling page. The key is to direct the customer to the page that will offer the best chance of conversion.
In the same vein, we can use mailers to encourage mobile communication between our clients and potential customers. For instance, we might design a postcard that offers customers a special bonus or gift if they text a code to a certain number. Once they take that action, they receive a text back with information on how to claim the promotion and also become opted-in for future promotional texts.
Social media can also help reinforce the messages you’re promoting through a postcard campaign. A consumer could be scanning through their Facebook newsfeed and see an image of a check engine light, accompanied by a message stressing the importance of addressing warning lights in their car. Meanwhile, a postcard from your shop advertising a free warning light scan might be sitting on their coffee table. The multi-channel approach will ensure that your shop is top of mind the next time that customer requires that service.
[UpSwell specializes in multi-channel marketing for auto repair shops. Contact us!]
Targeting is key
One thing to remember with both types of marketing is that targeting matters. You don’t want to blast everyone in your database with an email reminding them to get an oil change. There will be some customers who do need an oil change, but there will be others who were in for one just last week, so that message is irrelevant to them.
If the new offer is cheaper than a previous one, a customer who’s already used a previous offer might get upset about the new offer and unsubscribe to your emails as a result. It’s important to segment your customers and send them relevant messages at a relevant time.
Another targeting approach is geofencing, which allows shop owners to target customers in the spaces where they spend their time. You can send ads to a customer’s mobile device based on their current location (say the area surrounding your shop) or a location (a competitor’s shop) they recently visited. You can also take a direct mail list of addresses and target mobile ads to those same households.
Digital also allows for campaign retargeting, which means that your ads can “follow” a prospect around the web once they’ve visited your site.
New digital technologies worth a closer look
Marketers are still unlocking the power of mobile technology, so it pays to stay updated on advertising trends on this platform.
The mobile wallet, for instance, takes mail-to-mobile marketing to a whole new level. Most mobile wallets allow users to save coupons and promotions conveniently on their phone. With this in mind, you could send an ad to someone physically near your location reminding them to use a coupon stored in their wallet. You could also offer special promotions for customers who pay for service with their mobile wallet.
The challenges of running an integrated campaign
Figuring out how to allocate budget for a combined marketing program can be a tough task. A marketing partner can help, evaluating your current advertising spend and determining how it can be most effectively split between digital and traditional marketing. For the best support, consider working with an agency that specializes in auto repair shop marketing.
No matter your initial strategy, it’s important to stay consistent. A new marketing strategy may not yield immediate dividends, but could deliver strong returns over the long term, so it’s crucial to give your campaigns time to work — you can always make adjustments if you’re not reaching your anticipated goals.
Need some help crafting a strategy that combines digital and print marketing? Get in touch with us!