If you balk at the notion of giving something away to customers – particularly current ones – then you aren’t aware of just how effective free gifts and incentives are to positively impact traffic, brand awareness, brand loyalty and sales.
Sure, you’ll likely see a lot of gift seekers – those folks who’ll go to any length to get a freebie. However, empirically speaking, most people are lazy when it comes to shopping – and unless they’re at least a wee bit interested in visiting your dealership and checking out your offers in the first place, they’re not going to be compelled to do so for the free gifts or incentives alone. Those offers are, however, something that could put them over the top – compelling them to visit your dealership now as opposed to later.
One of the key considerations to make is a giveaway that is somehow meaningful to your customers and purposeful for your business. Merely giving away a big screen tv near a major national sporting event isn’t usually enough to drive up quality traffic. However, giving away a big screen tv (or some other big ticket gift) to someone who comes in and takes a test drive or fills out a financing application presents an opportunity for your sales staff to make inroads with a prospective customer. And, to the earlier point about most coming in only when they are already somewhat interested in what it is you’re selling, the possibility of winning a gift is only an incentive and not truly the main motivator for their visit.
If you are doing a promotional tie-in with giveaways and incentives, remember to get the word out as far and wide as you can. Send current customers exclusive automotive direct mail invitations to the event and clearly spell out what they could qualify for/walk away with for free. Consider click-through microsites via your social media pages where prospects can easily sign up to RSVP for your promotional event. Collecting data this way can also beef up your overall marketing target lists.
Bottom line: don’t worry that your swag will invite only the freebie lovers. There will be a few, but the majority of your inbound traffic will be, at the very least, marginally motivated prospective customers that are ready to be talked into a sale.