At your dealership, the focus of most of your sales isn’t solely on the new vehicles on your lot – so why is the focus of most of your marketing aimed at gaining new customers?
Growing a business is important – but repeat business is where the real profit margins are. The cost to acquire new customers can be tremendous, seeing as it often takes multiple messages across a number of mediums – from automotive direct mail to social media and broadcast – to convince a prospect to pull the trigger on your calls to action.
However, if you focus a lot of your marketing efforts on keeping business – and maintaining current customers as active customers, you’ll see your business grow as well. In fact, as we mentioned in an earlier post, your service department can sell a great many cars for you. The service they provide and the goodwill they hopefully foster will create a brand loyalty that’s second to none. And, if your sales and marketing departments work in tandem with your service department – knowing where a prospect’s car is in its lifecycle and the frequency with which that prospect comes in for service, you’ll have a good idea of how and when to target them with their next great automotive deal.
And, don’t forget about “lost” or “inactive” customers. Whether they’ve defected to another brand or dealership or simply stopped coming to you after their warranty’s expired, remember, they still know who you are and they’ve done business with you before. So long as they didn’t have a terrible experience with your brand or dealership, the potential that they’ll at least pay attention to a targeted automotive direct mailer or email is there. One great way to woo inactive or lost customers is to hold a sale catered entirely to their market group. Send out a direct mailer inviting former customers to “come back” to your dealership and promise to make it worth their while. Better yet, add a few concrete examples of how you intend to make it worth the trip.
Finally, no matter how you plan to bring in repeat business – make sure you target those prospects thoughtfully. Send service deals and warranty reminders to those nearing the ends of their warranties – or – provide them with a tantalizing array of new vehicles with untapped warranties. Find out the driving habits of some of your service department’s customers – for example, if they put on a lot of miles in a year, send out an invitation to view and test drive some of your most fuel efficient models. The more you show that you’re willing and interested in meeting the customer where they are – the more likely they’ll be to pay attention.