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I have had a little drop in business for the first time in 15 years. I have been thinking about doing some mailouts to my customers. I have over 3500 names, addresses, and phone numbers. I have never done anything like this before other than a little card every now and then. I just cannot figure out the best way the way to be the most effective. My business is mostly same people over and over , very friendly mom and pop style location. any ideas. Thanks guys.David

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Do you currently use a CRM company to send stuff out like e-mail or text reminders?

There are a slew of companies that perform mailer marketing to your database and also new customer direct mail marketing. 

I am currently working with a company called Full Throttle. I have yet to send out a mailer however I am friends with one of the owners and also in his Mastermind group. He owns Aspen Auto Clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado which is a 5 store operation. 

If you are interested in their contact information msg me. 

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I've had good response from EDDM mailers, which is Every Door Direct Mail through the post office. It sends a piece to every house on the mail routes that you choose. We do our own piece, and get it to the post office ourselves, but there are companies that do it for you, like Mudlick Mail. James Dees is also a very good resource for this, he has an extremely low price, and I know a couple shop owners who use him, his contact number is 503-209-0851. I also have great success with myshopmanager.com. Besides our normal follow up that we use them for, there are a couple of things we do through them to bump up business when we need it. One is a called a slow day text, and it works so well we have to limit how many texts we send out any time we do it, and another is a rebate check. Both go to existing customers, and you can choose exactly what category of customers, and how many, to send out. You could talk to any of these resources to get ideas.

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On 7/19/2017 at 7:38 AM, tirengolf said:

I have had a little drop in business for the first time in 15 years. I have been thinking about doing some mailouts to my customers. I have over 3500 names, addresses, and phone numbers. I have never done anything like this before other than a little card every now and then. I just cannot figure out the best way the way to be the most effective. My business is mostly same people over and over , very friendly mom and pop style location. any ideas. Thanks guys.David

There are 2 types of marketing. Retention and acquisition. By what you wrote, you are doing neither. This is great news because retention marketing is cheap and very effective. Those 3500 names in your database can be marketed to and you could get an instant shot of business but more importantly if done right, you will be consistently busy. If you've done little or non to this point you basically are waiting for those people to recognize they need something and then seek out the solution. If you wait for that they may not select you.

Fist thing I would do is define your recommended service intervals. Someone here posted something about what they follow. Do you truly believe in 3k oil changes? 5k? Different? Or is it something different for each customer? whatever, just figure out a way to define an interval and then notate it. Depending on the software you use there are added software which will track daily mileage and create stickers for next service based on the criteria you set. Now track it. Figure out how to contact you customer and tell them they are due for service. YOU GREATLY IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES FOR THEM TO RETURN IF YOU PROPERLY IDENTIFY WHEN SERVICE IS NEEDED AND CONTACT THEM AT THAT TIME.

Too complicated? Just looking for a silver bullet? The next suggestion depends on how you want to market. You could just send out cards reminding your database that you are there, ready to handle their needs. You could follow Anderson and put together an oil change special he is very successful at that. You could put a seasonal special. Either way, those are cheap and effective ways to do it.

If you do hire a CRM company they can over do it. It is also costly for what you can do yourself. I personally believe you need to really get involved in it before you randomly hire a company to do it for you. The education will allow you to guide the direction once it becomes a common, ongoing occurrence.

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Hi tirengolf! I find your comments pretty much the same as what I hear from countless other repair shops. Not your fault - because nobody ever think's that "the well will run dry", right? But it's time to face a few facts. 

Those are:

1) Your list is probably about 1/2 of what you have. By that I mean, it's fact that about 10% of America moves every month. So of those 3,500 contacts there's going to be a lot of "dead wood".

2) You don't own the customer. I know it's pretty harsh - but I don't often candy coat things. The fact is - people shop. They don't tell you that - but they do. Even though YOUR SHOP can do everything (I am assuming you're full service) people get dragged away for a number of different reasons. One of the biggest is that they don't think you care. Again... it's not your fault...but you're not staying in touch. What would you want them to think?

So where do you start? 

1) Do the cheapest mailing to your list that you can do. That is a 4x6 postcard. Nothing fancy - just black on one color paper stock. You can get those mailed for about 50 cents each - including USPS first class postcard postage. That means you're going to get the return mail - or "dead addresses"

2) Keep track of this mail and returns in a mailing list program. At least you will have (what will turn out to be) a "master list" of good addresses.  

3) Do a sort to get everyone who has been in your shop from about 3 month ago to about 6 months ago. That's your short list. Probably better information (more accurate mailing addresses) and they still remember being in your shop. In other words, they know and trust you. Use this list to send out immediate reminders. They are in need of some service - oil change - whatever. I just responded to Joe's Article here.

And with that, you have the start of a marketing campaign that will generate results. I am am NOT talking about Facebook likes or Youtube Views - I am talking about +ROI and money in the bank. 

Please understand, the shorter mailing - cost less - but will have a better ROI. The entire list - just a postcard - is more about cleaning up the list and getting it right. I know it's a lot of work - but that's what America was built on, WORK. If you're looking for a silver bullet - there isn't one. 

Hope this helps!

Matthew Lee
"The Car Count Fixer"

Get "The Official Guide to Auto Service Marketing"

The Shop Owner's Unfair Advantage FREE Access


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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

      It always amazes me when I hear about a technician who quits one repair shop to go work at another shop for less money. I know you have heard of this too, and you’ve probably asked yourself, “Can this be true? And Why?” The answer rests within the culture of the company. More specifically, the boss, manager, or a toxic work environment literally pushed the technician out the door.
      While money and benefits tend to attract people to a company, it won’t keep them there. When a technician begins to look over the fence for greener grass, that is usually a sign that something is wrong within the workplace. It also means that his or her heart is probably already gone. If the issue is not resolved, no amount of money will keep that technician for the long term. The heart is always the first to leave. The last thing that leaves is the technician’s toolbox.
      Shop owners: Focus more on employee retention than acquisition. This is not to say that you should not be constantly recruiting. You should. What it does means is that once you hire someone, your job isn’t over, that’s when it begins. Get to know your technicians. Build strong relationships. Have frequent one-on-ones. Engage in meaningful conversation. Find what truly motivates your technicians. You may be surprised that while money is a motivator, it’s usually not the prime motivator.
      One last thing; the cost of technician turnover can be financially devastating. It also affects shop morale. Do all you can to create a workplace where technicians feel they are respected, recognized, and know that their work contributes to the overall success of the company. This will lead to improved morale and team spirit. Remember, when you see a technician’s toolbox rolling out of the bay on its way to another shop, the heart was most likely gone long before that.
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