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Direct Mailers worth it?


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Hey guys just wanted to get some opinions. My shop is located in Queens, NY. There are a ton of people in and around my shop as well as lot of competition. We are a relatively new shop (6-7 years old) and just moved into our new location in the summer. It was a nice upgrade from our very old and run down and Very small shop. Now we have approx 5,000sqft with a lot of new equipment, renovated office, lounge area, epoxy floors, etc. We mainly specialize in BMW work however I have been trying to open the doors to other German car makes. Although our new space is great, it is not in the most desirable location in terms of curb appeal. I sent out a direct mailer with Mudlick Mail to about 5000 homes. The mailer was sent out at around November 12. I have yet to really get much of a response from the mailer and I am rather disappointed. There are a number of factors that might have been attributed to the low response such as the mega storm that hit over here and also going into the holiday season.

 

My main goal is really to drive new business to the shop. I have been on a on going campaign to stay in touch with our old customers however with the new space and new bills, I see the need to increase my customer database. Has anyone had any experience with direct mailers in the NYC or highly dense metro areas? I am reluctant to try again due to the costs of sending out mailers but I was thinking of maybe giving it another shot toward the spring time.

 

Thoughts?

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Great Tire Deal

Hey guys just wanted to get some opinions. My shop is located in Queens, NY. There are a ton of people in and around my shop as well as lot of competition. We are a relatively new shop (6-7 years old) and just moved into our new location in the summer. It was a nice upgrade from our very old and run down and Very small shop. Now we have approx 5,000sqft with a lot of new equipment, renovated office, lounge area, epoxy floors, etc. We mainly specialize in BMW work however I have been trying to open the doors to other German car makes. Although our new space is great, it is not in the most desirable location in terms of curb appeal. I sent out a direct mailer with Mudlick Mail to about 5000 homes. The mailer was sent out at around November 12. I have yet to really get much of a response from the mailer and I am rather disappointed. There are a number of factors that might have been attributed to the low response such as the mega storm that hit over here and also going into the holiday season.

 

My main goal is really to drive new business to the shop. I have been on a on going campaign to stay in touch with our old customers however with the new space and new bills, I see the need to increase my customer database. Has anyone had any experience with direct mailers in the NYC or highly dense metro areas? I am reluctant to try again due to the costs of sending out mailers but I was thinking of maybe giving it another shot toward the spring time.

 

Thoughts?

Welcome to the site. Glad your on board. One of the keys to a direct mail campaign is to figure out what you are trying to accomplish with the mail piece. If you are looking to drive car count you have to have a compelling offer, if you are trying to establish a brand image for your shop you may not see an uptick in your car count right away. I've had good luck with a "Birthday Mailer" to a targeted demographic. I've also have good results with Mudlick Mail with a $19.95 Oil Change. We actually have an ARO of $125 on our Mudlick Mailers. That offer may not work for you with Euro cars, but you need to find some offer that would get them to try a different facility from where they are going now.

 

What type of offer did you put on your Mailers?

Did you do just one mailing or have you continued mailing?

 

I'll be happy to share other things we have done if you are interested.

Good Luck,

Russ

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Welcome to the site. Glad your on board. One of the keys to a direct mail campaign is to figure out what you are trying to accomplish with the mail piece. If you are looking to drive car count you have to have a compelling offer, if you are trying to establish a brand image for your shop you may not see an uptick in your car count right away. I've had good luck with a "Birthday Mailer" to a targeted demographic. I've also have good results with Mudlick Mail with a $19.95 Oil Change. We actually have an ARO of $125 on our Mudlick Mailers. That offer may not work for you with Euro cars, but you need to find some offer that would get them to try a different facility from where they are going now.

 

What type of offer did you put on your Mailers?

Did you do just one mailing or have you continued mailing?

 

I'll be happy to share other things we have done if you are interested.

Good Luck,

Russ

 

 

Russ, Thanks for your reply! I worked with my Mudlick rep on what was offered with my mailer. Through his recommendations we went with a 49.95 synthetic oil change offer as well as money off offers (example $25 off $100 or more service). As far as I can tell I have only received 3 calls from the mailer since it was sent out on November 12. One was from a more or less senile old lady who called up 3 times asking the same questions pretty much forgetting she ever contacted us. Another was from a guy who was outraged that our oil change offer was only up to 5 qts. The last was a gentleman who stopped by the shop and guaranteed to be back after the holidays (who knows). So far we have only done one mailing. I can't help but think that the storm with the damage it brought and also a gas shortage not seen in NY area since the 70's had something major to do with the amount of response.

 

 

All great comments. Direct mail, as in any other forms of advertising takes time to develop, and the more consistent you are with your message on a continual basis, the better. Don't give up on advertising. I do agree that you need to identify your profile customer and then find those pockets of your demographics that fit that profile. You will need to try different things, some will work, some will not.

 

ID your ideal profile customer, create the message you want to give, give an offering and commit to continual advertising. Metro areas like yours (I'm from the Bronx originally, so I know Queens) are bombarded with so much advertising, it's tough to get thru to your target audience, but it can be done. Can Mudlick help you understand your ideal customer and then target them? This is a question I would have for them.

 

Another thing to consider: A consumer is not ready to buy until he or she realizes a need or an awareness of your product or service. That's why you need to constantly advertise. Look at it this way: you are sitting watching the football game and a commercial comes on about Home Depot. Home Depot does not expect you to jump off your couch and run down to the nearest Home Depot, just because it aired a commercial, right? No, it's just sending a message, reinforcing its brand.

 

Hope this helps and makes sense. Great post and good luck!

 

 

Hi Joe. I originally went with Mudlick because i heard some good things about their service and they target higher income individuals/households. I spoke to my rep on exactly what my business was about and we together formulated what he saw that worked for his previous clients whom have a similar business model as mine (less car count, higher ARO).

 

I simply can't afford to send out Direct Mailers every month. I could possibly stretch it out quarterly intervals. It is just disheartening that I didn't get even one response that generated any money.

 

 

-Adam

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For what it's worth, I used Mudlick for about 2 years. It took about 3 months before I started to see a response, and worked very well.

After about 18 months the new customers dwindled, and the majority of the response to the mailers was for the low cost oil change we offered. These were repeat customers with multiple previous recommendations for basic maintenance, but would decline anything other than the oil change. Some would price shop and have work we recommended performed elsewhere, others wouldn't do it at all.

 

Overall I think it worked well, brought us a lot of new customers that didn't know we were here, but it reached a pint of diminished return. I stopped about 6 months too late, but I don't regret using them, and probably will again in a year or so. Now I plan to work a little harder on internet marketing and better targeting my existing customer base.

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For what it's worth, I used Mudlick for about 2 years. It took about 3 months before I started to see a response, and worked very well.

After about 18 months the new customers dwindled, and the majority of the response to the mailers was for the low cost oil change we offered. These were repeat customers with multiple previous recommendations for basic maintenance, but would decline anything other than the oil change. Some would price shop and have work we recommended performed elsewhere, others wouldn't do it at all.

 

Overall I think it worked well, brought us a lot of new customers that didn't know we were here, but it reached a pint of diminished return. I stopped about 6 months too late, but I don't regret using them, and probably will again in a year or so. Now I plan to work a little harder on internet marketing and better targeting my existing customer base.

 

 

 

Ok thanks Dan that gives me some hope haha.

 

Dan, how many mailers did you send out before seeing a response? Was it 1 mailer in 3 months? Did you send them monthly? Quarterly?

 

I have heard of Diminishing returns after a year or so however the few people who i have spoke to said they got a very good initial response. So far for me, nada. I am thinking of doing another mailer in February/March which would make it around 3 months since my first mailer. I just hope business stays up so my marketing budget will have something in it by then!

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Like you, I have a low car count, higher ARO with euro cars only. These didn't seem to work well for my clientel. Most of our customers talk about their Bimmer to their friends, they for on forums and talk, and the word of mouth will carry you the best and give you high end clients that will spend the money on their cars.

I sent out 380 to BMW owners in my area and got 2 cars to come in. Cost $312 and turned $450 in gross sales... so I almost broke even... sure left something to be desired, but I was new and willing to try anything to get more cars in the door. The only thing that has consistently brought in new people has been my old ones...

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Like you, I have a low car count, higher ARO with euro cars only. These didn't seem to work well for my clientel. Most of our customers talk about their Bimmer to their friends, they for on forums and talk, and the word of mouth will carry you the best and give you high end clients that will spend the money on their cars.

I sent out 380 to BMW owners in my area and got 2 cars to come in. Cost $312 and turned $450 in gross sales... so I almost broke even... sure left something to be desired, but I was new and willing to try anything to get more cars in the door. The only thing that has consistently brought in new people has been my old ones...

 

 

I got my first appointment yesterday. Lets see where this goes !

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Ok thanks Dan that gives me some hope haha.

 

Dan, how many mailers did you send out before seeing a response? Was it 1 mailer in 3 months? Did you send them monthly? Quarterly?

 

I have heard of Diminishing returns after a year or so however the few people who i have spoke to said they got a very good initial response. So far for me, nada. I am thinking of doing another mailer in February/March which would make it around 3 months since my first mailer. I just hope business stays up so my marketing budget will have something in it by then!

 

I will say that you need to give it at least 3 months, mailing every month, for it to work. Not everyone that gets the card will be in need of service at the time they receive it. Not everyone will react to the first card.

 

My experience was that most of the first time visits were for an oil change, just checking us out. The sales began at the second visit, of if they had a breakdown. You will be surprised at how long they hold on to those cards. Look at the date code when they come in. 2-6 month old cards are the norm.

 

I sent out about 5k mailers a month for the first three or 4 months. Then I increased the count, first to 7500 mailers, then to 10,000 per month. Those I split the drops to twice a month to spread them out. I was getting too many to handle initially then they would drop off towards the end of the month. Then towards the end I spread them out to every 3 weeks.

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I will say that you need to give it at least 3 months, mailing every month, for it to work. Not everyone that gets the card will be in need of service at the time they receive it. Not everyone will react to the first card.

 

My experience was that most of the first time visits were for an oil change, just checking us out. The sales began at the second visit, of if they had a breakdown. You will be surprised at how long they hold on to those cards. Look at the date code when they come in. 2-6 month old cards are the norm.

 

I sent out about 5k mailers a month for the first three or 4 months. Then I increased the count, first to 7500 mailers, then to 10,000 per month. Those I split the drops to twice a month to spread them out. I was getting too many to handle initially then they would drop off towards the end of the month. Then towards the end I spread them out to every 3 weeks.

 

 

I definitely understand what you are saying. I am just very surprised to see how ridiculously low my response has been (2 calls, 2 walk ins, 1 appt) since November 12th. Everyone other than 1 walk in (potentially) and the 1 appt have been quality customers. I really have no problem sending out more flyers however I was hoping to get something of around atleast 10 responses from the mailers. So far its been pretty bleak. I was advised by the mudlick rep that i SHOULD have gotten some response even though I sent out heading into the holiday season. At this point over a month into the mailer I have received .1% response out of 5000 mailers which is rather discouraging.

 

 

We are always trying something new, but you must track it very closely to see if it works. One of our best is what we call our 3 step letter. It goes out to new move in a 3 mile radius, about 350 each month. We do it in house, in an envelope with a 1st class stamp. The 3 letters are with a 2 week expiration. You must have urgency. We put a magnet in the first letter. We do not get a great response off the 1st letter, 2nd letter much better and the 3rd letter they come in. Of course that has the best offer. We send a coupon page with our 2nd letter that extends longer. On an average get 10 a month back and average ro is $256 for the 1st time in. Last year we went back and figured what each 1st time customer came in later and how much he spent. Most became good customers with multiple cars. We showed this to our flat rate techs who hate doing the low ball offers, how this made more money for them in the future. On our European coupons, we always use a $20.00 off regular price synthetic oil changes. This is because some oil filters are much more expensive.

 

We have been approached to do a 3 time large postcard. I don't like them and throw them away, but am willing to try and see if other people respond to it. It would be targeted to a specific vehicle such as honda, VW or Mercedes. Not sure if we are going to do it or not. Please let me know if anybody has done this with a postcard and mailing it 3 times to the same people.

 

 

Where did you get the mailing lists?

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I get our list each month from the list lady [email protected]. We get 3 zip codes. Then I clean out the ones that are too far away. We then cleanse it against our own customer list. Sounds like a lot of work, but really it is not. Once you get the hang of it, goes really fast. She charges us for the 3 zips $125.00. It was cheaper to do this then to do 3 miles from our shop. I can take off the names or address that I want off. If you have any other questions call me 503-646-2940 Nancy or TEE

 

 

Thanks, I will most likely give you a phone call tomorrow if thats ok.

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  • 9 months later...

I get our list each month from the list lady [email protected]. We get 3 zip codes. Then I clean out the ones that are too far away. We then cleanse it against our own customer list. Sounds like a lot of work, but really it is not. Once you get the hang of it, goes really fast. She charges us for the 3 zips $125.00. It was cheaper to do this then to do 3 miles from our shop. I can take off the names or address that I want off. If you have any other questions call me 503-646-2940 Nancy or TEE

 

I just got off the phone with Anna Mae. Great lady and very knowledgeable on lists. My only complaint is that she is not a one stop shop. All she covers is lists. It is then up to you to bring that list to the printer to get the postcards addressed.

 

I'm a bit hesitant to call Mudlick, simply due to not wanting to get on their mailing list ... are they able to handle it all (ie designing, printing, addressing, and bulk mailing)?

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Yes Mudlick will do it all. New Customer's Now is another company I've used. They are really flexible in working with you on a mailing program. They will be more per piece than Mudlick, but very good to work with. The postal service has a new program EDDM - every door direct mail - that is very cost effective, but you will need to get a printer to get the cards done.

517.546.7900 | www.NewCustomersNow.com

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The postal service has a new program EDDM - every door direct mail - that is very cost effective, but you will need to get a printer to get the cards done.

 

I had not heard of this USPS program yet. Thanks for posting. $0.149/ea to mail to every house in a zip code. Add around $0.06/ea for printer, and you're in the $0.20/ea range for this mailing.

 

I would really like to hear from someone that has used this program, as it mails to EVERYONE, not just a subset of a demographic.

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Mudlick had given me a break down by postal carrier route of the number of single family homes, apartments units, business addresses. They also had average home value and average household income. You can then choose which routes to mail to. I'm not sure how easily that info can be obtained, but I'm sure there is someone who knows.

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  • 1 year later...

I tried Mudlick per the recommendation of a friend and marketing professional. I changed what I was doing amidst several competitors opening up inside of a mile of my shop within a year. My car counts are down 25%. I have done two mailings with them and have seen less than ten come in with our mailer offer, have logged 12 calls from offer recipients, and have not improved my car counts in the least. I would like to continue but at over $3k per month to send these out (6,000 mailers) I can't afford to keep hoping. I'm going back to my customer base and inserts in my local paper that always drive customers. Sure, we get some oil change only customers but we convert many of these customers to higher tickets in time. I also feel that if I do a good job on oil changes and this customer is pleased they will tell others to come to my shop for service. Somewhere in that referral chain is a great customer or two.

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I sent out 2 campaigns with mudlick recently. I have seen some response, less than 10 so far out of two 3,000 mailers however a few of those customers ended up being $1000+ ROs. I average high ROs so if I can convert 2-3 per mailer as regular customers I've made money. I am going to give it a real effort and see what I can get out of it. Also for me I use it for brand awareness purposes. I want to be in front of as many people as possible to the point where they may think of me and google my shop when they need service which will then bring them to all of our reviews and internet marketing pieces.

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  • 2 months later...
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This post is a description of a very successful direct mail program we run consistently. If you're contemplating a budget for direct mail, it's worth the read.

 

There's a lot to say about direct mail pieces, but some of the very best postcard mailings I've seen, are overshadowed by a micro-mailing program someone turned me onto years ago directed at acquiring new customers. The premise is simple, actually.

 

Of course, we all know that the quality of your list is paramount, but without reitterating some of the most common aspects or practices of a program like this, I'll tell you what I really liked: Once you have a quality list defined, buy only a small portion of the target. In this example, let's say that it's 250 addresses. Scrub it against your own customer database - for our purpose, there's no need to solicit to anyone who's been to your shop before. Assume you need to drop 50 addresses (good for you...they've already been to you before, and if you like...you can mail them folks something different later.) This brings your usable control group down to 200 addresses.

 

Now here's the exciting part - prepare 4 or 5 ad pieces (postcards work well for all but the final one). Create a marketing message that expresses who you are as a company, but DO NOT advertise any discount offers with fun little dotted lines around them. The point of the mailing is to introduce yourself to the prospects ONLY.

 

You're going to mail out 200 postcards to people who have never been to your shop. Tell them where you're at, what awards you've won, how much you care about your customers, maybe offer a list of the services you offer...but NO discounts or "special offers". Just introduce your shop, and ask them to consider visiting you for service. "Does your mechanic not seem to care as much anymore about keeping you happy? Give us a try!" Give the post office 3 days to make sure they reach the prospects, then add a solid business week to the timeline, and make sure your staff is asking how new customer heard about you, so you can tell who's responded to the postcards.

 

Let's say it was miserable. All that hard work, planning, and design work...netted you 3 responses. (Could've been 2 oil changes & a price shopper, doesn't matter). After a solid week goes by, send out your 2nd postcard to the same list, minus the ones who already responded to the first one. Mail out 197.

 

The 2nd card is kind of like the 1st one - You talk about how much your customers appreciate your hard work – maybe even include a testimonial with a picture of one of your customers. Emphasize the flexible scheduling, your staff’s training & certifications, & tell them what hours you’re available to service their needs. NO DISCOUNTS.

Wait 3 days for delivery, start tracking the response from the postcard again for a solid week, and tally them up. Maybe the 2nd mailing only netted you 1 more response. Maybe it was a brake job, though. Of course, your first postcards are still out there, too, so this week, maybe you got another one from the first round of cards. That’s only a total of 2 more…but it’s 5 altogether.

Subtract the responding addresses from the list, and (you guessed it) send out the 3rd card. This one is really special, though…it has the American flag on it, and your face, and you’re smiling. There’s a short comment from you about how much you’ve been looking forward to meeting them, but you haven’t seen them. Tell them you’d like to personally invite them to come in for a cup of coffee, a brief tour of your shop, and that you’d like them to tell you EXACTLY why their old mechanic has let them down. NO DISCOUNTS, and send it to the remaining 195 folks on the list. Wait 3 days…then track the results for at least one solid business week.

Now, a really cool thing will start to happen, and you have to try it to see for yourself, but people will start to respond! The right message sent to the right prospect, at the right time…and a direct mail program comes to life! I’ve seen the 3rd step of the program personally work to bring in a response of as high as 2% without offering an discounts or offers. Afterall – PRICE isn’t all they’re bargaining for, right? So if you’ll let me finish the story…a 2% response on 195 addresses is a whopping 4 responses! This one can be fun, though, because they want to talk to you about why they hate their old mechanic. Got time for that? Aren’t you going to tell those 4 people how horrible that is, and how YOUR shop works hard to prevent EXACTLY those kinds of issues? You’ll sell them more than an oil change, for sure.

So after 3 mailings, you’ve received a total of 9 responses. (I won’t speculate on the gross sales…there’s too many variables, and that is truly up to your sales staff to control) Now you only have 191 addresses left.

I’ll spare you the longer version of the remainder of the program, and just tell you to repeat the process of mailing/tracking for the last 2 pieces, but the nature of the pieces will change.

#4 – You use a headline on the postcard that says, “We really want the chance to show you how hard we’re willing to work for you!”, and then you can finally add a SOFT discount on the card. Either give away a congruent service like a tire rotation, with their oil change, or offer a soft dollar or % discount off another, common service. Brake work? 5% off. Fluid services? $10 off. Give them the call to action they’ve been waiting for. Whatever response rate you’ve been seeing on average for the first 3 mailings will DOUBLE on the 4th.

#5 – The rope-a-dope. Prepare a letter. Really – a personal letter, on stationery, with your company’s logo on it. Let the “Title” of the letter be something that pops, like, “Did we do something wrong?” Tell them in a paragraph or two about all the new faces you’ve been seeing, and let them know how much you want the chance to earn their business, and show them that what they’ve been reading about your company is true. Tell them that you’re SO ready to prove it to them that you’d like them to take advantage of you by redeeming a discounted oil change at your shop, and that you’re doing so only as a last ditch effort to meet them, shake their hands, and prove to them how hard you’re willing to work for them. Now, I use a $10 synthetic blend oil change (up to 5 qts. Includes filter, on most cars), and give them ONLY 30 DAYS to redeem it.

If you track new customers, and you track average repair order figures, and you’ve been tallying up what the 5 mailings have cost you out of pocket, by the time you have the 5th mailing out to them, you’ll smile as you realize that the return you’re getting on a direct mail program is 6-8 times higher than those reported as averages by the DMA.

I’ve seen total program responses of as high as 20-25%. (That’s 40 responses on your list of 200). You MUST remove people’s address who’ve responded, and keep track of sales, profits, etc., as well as keeping your schedule. 5 mailings in 6-8 weeks.

The beautiful thing is that once you’re “finished”, you’ll be managing your new customer followups like normal…and you can start with 200 more that meet your list requirements, and do it again.

Sorry about the long post. We’re currently managing a list of 300 at a time, and have 2 campaigns running concurrently. Our average response rate per campaign is 9-10%.

 

Just one man’s (really long) story.

Edited by stowintegrity
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This sounds really cool. Curious for anyone, who do you use to manage your post cards and who do you use to grab mailing lists? I personally would need addresses that own German cars.

 

 

 

This post is a description of a very successful direct mail program we run consistently. If you're contemplating a budget for direct mail, it's worth the read.

 

There's a lot to say about direct mail pieces, but some of the very best postcard mailings I've seen, are overshadowed by a micro-mailing program someone turned me onto years ago directed at acquiring new customers. The premise is simple, actually.

 

Of course, we all know that the quality of your list is paramount, but without reitterating some of the most common aspects or practices of a program like this, I'll tell you what I really liked: Once you have a quality list defined, buy only a small portion of the target. In this example, let's say that it's 250 addresses. Scrub it against your own customer database - for our purpose, there's no need to solicit to anyone who's been to your shop before. Assume you need to drop 50 addresses (good for you...they've already been to you before, and if you like...you can mail them folks something different later.) This brings your usable control group down to 200 addresses.

 

Now here's the exciting part - prepare 4 or 5 ad pieces (postcards work well for all but the final one). Create a marketing message that expresses who you are as a company, but DO NOT advertise any discount offers with fun little dotted lines around them. The point of the mailing is to introduce yourself to the prospects ONLY.

 

You're going to mail out 200 postcards to people who have never been to your shop. Tell them where you're at, what awards you've won, how much you care about your customers, maybe offer a list of the services you offer...but NO discounts or "special offers". Just introduce your shop, and ask them to consider visiting you for service. "Does your mechanic not seem to care as much anymore about keeping you happy? Give us a try!" Give the post office 3 days to make sure they reach the prospects, then add a solid business week to the timeline, and make sure your staff is asking how new customer heard about you, so you can tell who's responded to the postcards.

 

Let's say it was miserable. All that hard work, planning, and design work...netted you 3 responses. (Could've been 2 oil changes & a price shopper, doesn't matter). After a solid week goes by, send out your 2nd postcard to the same list, minus the ones who already responded to the first one. Mail out 197.

 

The 2nd card is kind of like the 1st one - You talk about how much your customers appreciate your hard work – maybe even include a testimonial with a picture of one of your customers. Emphasize the flexible scheduling, your staff’s training & certifications, & tell them what hours you’re available to service their needs. NO DISCOUNTS.

Wait 3 days for delivery, start tracking the response from the postcard again for a solid week, and tally them up. Maybe the 2nd mailing only netted you 1 more response. Maybe it was a brake job, though. Of course, your first postcards are still out there, too, so this week, maybe you got another one from the first round of cards. That’s only a total of 2 more…but it’s 5 altogether.

Subtract the responding addresses from the list, and (you guessed it) send out the 3rd card. This one is really special, though…it has the American flag on it, and your face, and you’re smiling. There’s a short comment from you about how much you’ve been looking forward to meeting them, but you haven’t seen them. Tell them you’d like to personally invite them to come in for a cup of coffee, a brief tour of your shop, and that you’d like them to tell you EXACTLY why their old mechanic has let them down. NO DISCOUNTS, and send it to the remaining 195 folks on the list. Wait 3 days…then track the results for at least one solid business week.

Now, a really cool thing will start to happen, and you have to try it to see for yourself, but people will start to respond! The right message sent to the right prospect, at the right time…and a direct mail program comes to life! I’ve seen the 3rd step of the program personally work to bring in a response of as high as 2% without offering an discounts or offers. Afterall – PRICE isn’t all they’re bargaining for, right? So if you’ll let me finish the story…a 2% response on 195 addresses is a whopping 4 responses! This one can be fun, though, because they want to talk to you about why they hate their old mechanic. Got time for that? Aren’t you going to tell those 4 people how horrible that is, and how YOUR shop works hard to prevent EXACTLY those kinds of issues? You’ll sell them more than an oil change, for sure.

So after 3 mailings, you’ve received a total of 9 responses. (I won’t speculate on the gross sales…there’s too many variables, and that is truly up to your sales staff to control) Now you only have 191 addresses left.

I’ll spare you the longer version of the remainder of the program, and just tell you to repeat the process of mailing/tracking for the last 2 pieces, but the nature of the pieces will change.

#4 – You use a headline on the postcard that says, “We really want the chance to show you how hard we’re willing to work for you!”, and then you can finally add a SOFT discount on the card. Either give away a congruent service like a tire rotation, with their oil change, or offer a soft dollar or % discount off another, common service. Brake work? 5% off. Fluid services? $10 off. Give them the call to action they’ve been waiting for. Whatever response rate you’ve been seeing on average for the first 3 mailings will DOUBLE on the 4th.

#5 – The rope-a-dope. Prepare a letter. Really – a personal letter, on stationery, with your company’s logo on it. Let the “Title” of the letter be something that pops, like, “Did we do something wrong?” Tell them in a paragraph or two about all the new faces you’ve been seeing, and let them know how much you want the chance to earn their business, and show them that what they’ve been reading about your company is true. Tell them that you’re SO ready to prove it to them that you’d like them to take advantage of you by redeeming a discounted oil change at your shop, and that you’re doing so only as a last ditch effort to meet them, shake their hands, and prove to them how hard you’re willing to work for them. Now, I use a $10 synthetic blend oil change (up to 5 qts. Includes filter, on most cars), and give them ONLY 30 DAYS to redeem it.

If you track new customers, and you track average repair order figures, and you’ve been tallying up what the 5 mailings have cost you out of pocket, by the time you have the 5th mailing out to them, you’ll smile as you realize that the return you’re getting on a direct mail program is 6-8 times higher than those reported as averages by the DMA.

I’ve seen total program responses of as high as 20-25%. (That’s 40 responses on your list of 200). You MUST remove people’s address who’ve responded, and keep track of sales, profits, etc., as well as keeping your schedule. 5 mailings in 6-8 weeks.

The beautiful thing is that once you’re “finished”, you’ll be managing your new customer followups like normal…and you can start with 200 more that meet your list requirements, and do it again.

Sorry about the long post. We’re currently managing a list of 300 at a time, and have 2 campaigns running concurrently. Our average response rate per campaign is 9-10%.

 

Just one man’s (really long) story.

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I use www.melissadata.com most of the time. The site has plenty of "lookups" that'll help you drill down and narrow your search parameters.

 

Also, Xrac - it's the only site I know of that will let you search by "People who own German cars". I've bought lists below of Ford owners, in a particular geography,making a certain out of money, and then scrubbed out my existing customers.

 

Then I sent out a cleverly designed letter (I can say that, because it worked) where I introduced myself, and then offered to do a free search for outstanding service recalls at the dealership.

 

The letter was designed to look very official, and the call to action was that if they were willing to let us change their oil, that while they waited one of our service advisors would review any open manufacturers recalls on their aging car. All matters of recall were of course, directed to the closest dealer, and if they wanted us to, we even called ahead and scheduled the appt.

 

Here's what we got out of it: A new customer who came in and paid for a regular-priced oil change. The results of our comprehensive inspection, and of course, had the privilege of letting our new friend experience just how hard we work for them, and how much we genuinely care about their family's safety.

 

Any recommend services, maintenance, and the ongoing care of their vehicle was ours if we took good care of them, because we know they won't stick with the dealer...

 

(A person with an aging car, out of warranty, needing service is generally more likely to be loyal to an independent operator that shows they care & will save them momey, than to go back to the dealer after a recall service.)

 

If the recall search comes up empty...everything else about the campaign still holds true.

 

Simply put:

The LOF is complete, here's your inspection report. We have you tentatively scheduled again in about 14 weeks to keep your oil change up to date. ...

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      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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