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Why Your Auto Dealership Needs a Holistic Direct Mail Strategy (And How to Design One)
It’s popular among digital marketing professionals to pronounce the death of direct mail strategy. This shouldn’t be too surprising. The focus of marketing has generally moved away from snail mail. These professionals have a vested interest in promoting their preferred digital tactics, often because they aren’t familiar with more traditional practices.
However, ignoring direct mail marketing isn’t doing their clients any favors. Direct mail is still a valuable addition to any marketing plan. What’s critical for these digital agencies and the clients they serve is to design a holistic direct mail strategy that integrates direct mail with modern digital technologies.
Businesses of all stripes can benefit from an integrated approach, but this article focuses primarily on auto dealerships because of the unique challenges they face. All dealers, but particularly those in the used market, have to find ways to distinguish themselves in a dense marketplace. Consumers need to see their messages in various places, through multiple tactics, to build brand awareness.
Direct mail strategy is a critical component that, on its own, can be very effective. As a part of a larger, holistic marketing strategy, however, it shines. Direct mail both supports and is supported by newer digital tactics. And when you include handwritten direct mail, your results can scale far beyond what you thought was possible.
WHY a DIRECT MAIL STRATEGY?
It might seem odd to send physical mailers in a digital-obsessed world, but their rarity is the key to their success. People get hundreds of emails a day, dozens of text messages, and near-constant alerts from their social media accounts. Your message is easily lost against this sea of digital noise. Including direct mail in a more holistic marketing strategy allows you to speak more directly to your audience. Once they’re paying attention, your digital tactics will penetrate more effectively.
Recent studies bear this out. One poll found that 70% of Americans find snail mail more personal than email, and 70-80% of respondents will open and read all of the mail they get, even if they suspect it’s “junk.”
And when you add handwritten direct mail, the numbers get even better. Handwritten mailers enjoy a whopping 99% open rate. As astounding as that figure is, it shouldn’t be surprising. Hand-addressed envelopes feel as if a close friend or family sent them. If 75% of people will open standard direct mail, a far larger percentage will open examples that are hand-penned.
Simply Noted offers highly personalized handwritten mailers created by automated handwriting machines. They work their magic with real ballpoint pens and AI-powered smart fonts. The cards they pen appear authentic down to the most delicate details. Most importantly, they allow handwritten cards to be included easily in any digital marketing strategy.
HOW TO INTEGRATE DIGITAL INTO A HOLISTIC DIRECT MAIL STRATEGY
A holistic direct mail strategy includes curated physical mailers tied to and supported by more verbose digital tactics. It also should attempt to communicate with your prospects and customers at as many touchpoints as possible.
Use Email to Support Your Direct Mail Efforts
Emails often get ignored unless your recipient is already looking for them. You can prime them by sending them direct mail first and following up with supporting email messages. Because direct mail is more likely to be opened than email, it makes it an effective introduction.
Some customers will respond immediately. Others may need deeper messaging, which you’ll provide with your follow-up emails. Be sure these include a call to action, and reference the original mailer. With automation and the integrations provided by Simply Noted, you can easily include both handwritten direct mail and email in one campaign.
Personalize Common Reminders
You could use email to remind your customers of scheduled maintenance appointments and upcoming purchase anniversaries, but there’s a good chance they’ll never see your message. Instead, send a handwritten reminder. Not only is it more likely that your customer will see your efforts, but they’ll also respond more favorably.
Plus, you can use marketing automation to send your reminders automatically. With Simply Noted, you can link your CMS to our servers and create rules to guide your mailings. You might trigger automated handwritten reminders whenever a customer is two weeks out from a service appointment. One the automation is running, your customers will get handwritten reminders, on time, every time, with no further effort on your part.
Drive Prospects to Digital Offers With Direct Mail
Your direct mail pieces don’t have to exist in a vacuum. You can drive people to your website, a landing page, or a digital offer by adding a URL. In this way, your web tactics become extensions of your direct mail messaging.
This tactic works particularly well with a handwritten direct mail strategy because it allows you to strip your mailed message down to essential information. The card need only pique the recipients’ curiosity and drive them to your digital content, which will complete the story and make it easy for them to contact you.
SEE ALSO: Simply Noted Makes Snail Mail Easy
Include Links to Valuable, Free Digital Content
An educated consumer knows quality when they see it. If you help them get the information they need to make an informed decision, there’s a good chance they’ll give you their business.
One excellent way to start a dialogue with prospects is to send them a warm, handwritten introduction card and a short informational card with important automotive facts. With Simply Noted, you can include inserts as long as you provide them to us.
You might include a schedule of common maintenance procedures, a description of your unique selling proposition, or a “dos and don’ts” list of buying a new vehicle. At the bottom, include links to digital tactics that can provide extra information. If you have a blog, add a link to that as well. The goal is to establish yourself as an expert. Once they trust you, they’ll be happy to buy from you.
BOTH TRADITIONAL AND HANDWRITTEN DIRECT MAIL HAVE THEIR PLACE...AND DIGITAL
Handwritten direct mail is the best way to get your message in front of the greatest number of eyes possible, but sometimes traditional mailers are more appropriate. They allow the inclusion of photos, graphic imagery, charts, and more. A holistic direct mail strategy will include both — as well as a healthy dose of digital to round out the menu.
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