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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

 

 

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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  • 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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  • 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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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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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         5 comments
      I recently spoke with a friend of mine who owns a large general repair shop in the Midwest. His father founded the business in 1975. He was telling me that although he’s busy, he’s also very frustrated. When I probed him more about his frustrations, he said that it’s hard to find qualified technicians. My friend employs four technicians and is looking to hire two more. I then asked him, “How long does a technician last working for you.” He looked puzzled and replied, “I never really thought about that, but I can tell that except for one tech, most technicians don’t last working for me longer than a few years.”
      Judging from personal experience as a shop owner and from what I know about the auto repair industry, I can tell you that other than a few exceptions, the turnover rate for technicians in our industry is too high. This makes me think, do we have a technician shortage or a retention problem? Have we done the best we can over the decades to provide great pay plans, benefits packages, great work environments, and the right culture to ensure that the techs we have stay with us?
      Finding and hiring qualified automotive technicians is not a new phenomenon. This problem has been around for as long as I can remember. While we do need to attract people to our industry and provide the necessary training and mentorship, we also need to focus on retention. Having a revolving door and needing to hire techs every few years or so costs your company money. Big money! And that revolving door may be a sign of an even bigger issue: poor leadership, and poor employee management skills.
      Here’s one more thing to consider, for the most part, technicians don’t leave one job to start a new career, they leave one shop as a technician to become a technician at another shop. The reasons why they leave can be debated, but there is one fact that we cannot deny, people don’t quit the company they work for, they usually leave because of the boss or manager they work for.
      Put yourselves in the shoes of your employees. Do you have a workplace that communicates, “We appreciate you and want you to stay!”
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