With the holiday season in full swing, automotive direct mail for the New Year is just ramping up – but flying in the face of this big marketing push are the Snowbird and Seasonal Address issues that often render our mailers undeliverable. Some of our best and most financial stable “older” customers tend to “winter” in warmer climates – whether it’s in the Southeast, Gulf Region, Southwest or even overseas – to get away from the arthritis intensifying chill that wintertime in the Northeast and Upper Midwest can bring.
These types of non-permanent residents can wreak havoc on our direct mail strategies year-round in many regions. For instance, if yours is an area with resort towns that draws tourists into residential properties that are only used as “rentals” during the high season, it might be difficult to know whether or not the direct mailers you’re sending are actually reaching their desired targets.
As it turns out, nearly a million of “seasonal” recipients are currently on the United States Postal Service’s rolls – and those are just the ones who take the time to register. Many others will merely opt to have their mail forwarded or held for the duration of their trips – and they can even opt to put a full stop on “Bulk” mail. So, how can we combat this?
One strategy is to make your direct mail more personal in nature. Send direct address letters and pay the full, non-bulk rate postage. This can get pricey – so it might serve you to hire a firm to also perform some market research to determine the number of non-permanent residents in your area. You can also perform demographic research and opt to send more personalized direct mail to the over 55 residents in your area, for example. Lakefront properties or those that are in the highly trafficked “resort” type areas might not be worth your time during the high season – whenever that may be. That said, if you’re looking to target anyone and everyone in those areas – perhaps sending direct mail to all of the residents might catch the attention of an out of town buyer in the market for a new car.
Bottom line, the more intimately you get to know your area and your neighbors – whether it’s through market research or simple zip code targeting – the more likely your automotive direct mail efforts will be not only worth the expense, but will also pay off by reaching their intended recipients.