Not all automotive direct mail marketers are created equal. Many promise amazing results but offer no tangible guarantees. Others can dazzle dealerships with flashy copy and design but fall down on the follow through. And then, there are the firms that entice new clients with incredibly low introductory prices – but watch out! Once you see results, they jack up their fees to astronomical levels.
So, how to you choose a direct mail marketing vendor with scruples and a proven track record of success?
Well, as an entrepreneur and automotive dealer, you know the art of the sale. Tune into those instincts when communicating with prospective new vendors. You can often smell a bait and switch from a mile away.
If you think a vendor is trying to dazzle you with style and little substance, ask for case studies from other clients and a clear and itemized list of services.
Find out what they are willing and able to guarantee in terms of results and how they intend to back up said promises if, for some reason, they aren’t able to deliver. If a vendor isn’t willing to put these stipulations in writing, then you should be willing to work with them.
These are just a few of the more obvious things, of course. You’ll also need to do a bit of shopping to find automotive direct mail marketers in the first place. Here are a few tips on how to do that.
Ask fellow auto dealers. Chances are, you have some friends and colleagues in the automotive dealership business – so, ask who they use, who they like, who they absolutely do not want to work with again and who they vetted.
Locally, you can ask around to other non-competing businesses as well – they all likely have their opinions on the best marketers (and worst) to work with.
Web searching for vendors is also a great place to start. Marketers who share their practices via a blog or social media are often more trustworthy than the “cloak and dagger” types.
Also be on the lookout for marketing firms who market themselves well. If they pop up on the first page of a web search, that’s a great sign that they know what they’re doing.
Typically, the best automotive direct mail marketers are willing to pull the curtain back and walk you through their process – on what it is they do that makes them truly great. So, when you’re considering a new automotive marketing firm, always ask lots of questions and expect lots of clear and thorough answers. Ask how they perform their demographic and market research. Ask for references from other clients – if they don’t share any, that’s a huge red flag. Ask about their relationship with the Postal Service (this is a biggie). Ask how the design process works. Ask about their production timeline. Ask about how they plan to prove your ROI. Ask if the point person on your projects will actually be someone working directly on your project or merely someone on the sales team. Ask about how they come up with their pricing.
Remember, putting your faith in a direct mail vendor is quite literally you putting the reputation of your business on the line. The pieces you create together is putting your dealership’s name and messaging into the hands and homes of your most important asset – your customers – so treat this decision with great care and you’ll be more likely to get a great result.