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I am considering implementing a direct mailing campaign next year. I recently accuired the business along with the previous owner's Mitchell system and database which goes back 8 years. How far should I go back into the database when deciding who to send mailers to? I am concerned about changed addresses, people who moved, etc.

 

Does anyone have a suggestion on a vendor that does this?

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I use the Mitchell system to organize my service reminders: State inspections, recommended services and major services. I had the Mitchell Company doing it, but found that their CRM was overkill. I now have a company through CARQUEST Auto Parts called Auto Alert, manage my service reminders. I have more control and it costs less. I go back 14 months.

 

I also purchase a mailing each year list for a radius of 5 miles from my shop. For these people I send a quarterly newsletter. This helps prospects for new customers. The newsletter also goes to my regular customers.

 

Another thing I do is email blasts. I collect emails from my customers and all the local businesses in my area. Once a month I send an email newsletter which highlights seasonal tips, promotions and has links to my web site.

 

For the emails I use a company called Constant Contact. Check it out, you can create your own professional looking email and it's very inexpensive. The link is below:

 

http://www.constantcontact.com

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I use the Mitchell system to organize my service reminders: State inspections, recommended services and major services. I had the Mitchell Company doing it, but found that their CRM was overkill. I now have a company through CARQUEST Auto Parts called Auto Alert, manage my service reminders. I have more control and it costs less. I go back 14 months.

 

I also purchase a mailing each year list for a radius of 5 miles from my shop. For these people I send a quarterly newsletter. This helps prospects for new customers. The newsletter also goes to my regular customers.

 

Another thing I do is email blasts. I collect emails from my customers and all the local businesses in my area. Once a month I send an email newsletter which highlights seasonal tips, promotions and has links to my web site.

 

For the emails I use a company called Constant Contact. Check it out, you can create your own professional looking email and it's very inexpensive. The link is below:

 

http://www.constantcontact.com

 

 

I am going to check out these suggestions Joe, thanks. What would you estimate your response to the purchased lists is?

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I purchase around 5,000 names per year. The response rate is anywhere from 2 to 5%. That's about average with any direct mail program.

 

The response rate will get better the more you do it. The key is to have a consistent advertising program and balance it with other forms of media: print ads, radio, TV, flyers, newsletters, etc.

 

Advertising will not work if it's not consistent. Advertising builds on itself, month after month, year after year.

 

Don't worry too much about the response rate. It's more about branding and reaching people. The more people you reach and the more times you reach them makes the difference.

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I purchase around 5,000 names per year. The response rate is anywhere from 2 to 5%. That's about average with any direct mail program.

 

The response rate will get better the more you do it. The key is to have a consistent advertising program and balance it with other forms of media: print ads, radio, TV, flyers, newsletters, etc.

 

Advertising will not work if it's not consistent. Advertising builds on itself, month after month, year after year.

 

Don't worry too much about the response rate. It's more about branding and reaching people. The more people you reach and the more times you reach them makes the difference.

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  • 3 weeks later...
I am considering implementing a direct mailing campaign next year. I recently accuired the business along with the previous owner's Mitchell system and database which goes back 8 years. How far should I go back into the database when deciding who to send mailers to? I am concerned about changed addresses, people who moved, etc.

 

Does anyone have a suggestion on a vendor that does this?

 

Part of the consideration for how far back you go is based on the shop. For the most part the rule of thumb is to go back 12-18 months. It also depends on what your goal is. You can also do lost customer mailings. But if you are looking to start to send something 12 months is a good place to start.

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We go back 14 months for most in-house mailers. We try to be as consistent has possible. The key is to keep doing it. You can tweak the program from time to time, but once you start, keep it going. It will build on itself the longer you do it.

 

We also advertise, on the mail piece, a contest for a free oil change. We have a monthly drawing. Customers bring their post cards in and drop them into a box on the service counter. We announce a winner each month. It's a great way to track the effectiveness and to create excitement. It also increases your response rate.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 year later...

On the subject of direct mail I will mention the article by Bob Cerullo in The January edition of Motor Magazine. He mentions a recent start up direct mail company started by an automotive guy for automotive mailers. Might be worth checking out. It is called Mudlick Mail Company. Has anyone looked at what they offer or used them? I am going to check them out.

 

MOTOR Magazine Article | MOTOR Information Systems

 

I checked out Muclick. VERY hard sell in my experience. Plan on them calling and emailing you to death, at least until you tell them flat out, unequivocally NO, stop contacting me. And they only wanted to mail a minimum of like 10,000 pieces. NOT a good fit for a small operation. But their program did sound like it was pretty good, if you were big enough.

 

I am sure they aren't the best, but I use CustomerLink for my CRM. Only you will be able to determine what is the best fit for your operation. They are fairly reasonable and have a lot of filtering options. You can check them out at www.customerlink.com. If you are an ASA member they have a discount. Good luck.

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Joe - Are you still using Auto Alert? (http://www.autoalert.com) I called them up and they said they only deal with new car dealers... Are these the same guys?

 

Yes, we still use Auto Alert, but I also use Mechanic Net. That web site is not Auto Alert thru CARQUEST auto parts. Auto Alert is great for post cards, seasonanl promotions and other promotions. I use Mechanic Net for all me email remiders and promotions. Mechanic Net gets all the information from my Mitchell system. Plus Mechanic Net will organize all customer reviews for your web site, orgainize your online appointments, get your reviews on facebook, have a mobile app and a lot more. I don't know too much about Mudlic, not too much positve feedback. I hear good things about Customer Link.

 

CARQUEST Auto Alert web site: http://cqautoalert.com/

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I am considering implementing a direct mailing campaign next year. I recently accuired the business along with the previous owner's Mitchell system and database which goes back 8 years. How far should I go back into the database when deciding who to send mailers to? I am concerned about changed addresses, people who moved, etc.

 

Does anyone have a suggestion on a vendor that does this?

 

Try a company named Demand Force we have had great success for your Mitchell's system

 

Direct Mail - Go to PostCard Mania We have great succes and pricing is in line. They can scrub your list - would do all eight years.

My suggestion is get it scrubbed - do one mailing to all to try to connect with old clients or generate clients from the old street adress now living thier.

 

Company Called [ Mudlick has a good program ]

 

When mailing use a label the states [ name of person or Current resident ] this way it will get delivered.

 

Thanks Dan R.

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  • 2 months later...

I looked into Mudlick. It seemed nice and great. They were awesome at telling me to target areas within 3-5 miles. Only problem is they have a 5000 min. I am a small specialty shop and amost 4100 is outside that zone and I feel it would be a waste. So now I am still looking.

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Agreeed completely. When I talked to them they said they have dealers in Houston. Well I just moved from houston and there are more people in the city of houston than all of Utah where I live. I think they need to really sit down and look at what there asking. I was willing to buy a 1000 pieces, but they said it had to be 5000. Frustrating.

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