Month: November 2009

Stop wasting your advertising dollars. Start profiting from measurable and compelling results

How well do you identify with this quote, “50% of my advertising doesn’t work.  The problem is, I don’t know which 50%.“  Well get ready for some good news.  eMail Marketing is changing automotive retailing right now.  Forever.

Many technology fads have come-and-gone—like the DotComs, CRM vendors, BDC trainers, and Internet sales gurus.  But despite the efforts of many dealers looking for silver bullets in technology, few expenditures paid back as promised.

Yet quietly and largely unnoticed by most Dealer Principles, you’ll discover that eMail marketing has already produced dramatic results.  A few innovative dealers have already moved aggressively.

One stellar example is Beshoff MotorCars in San Jose, CA.  Citing just one recent experience, Dody Abshir, the Internet Sales Director, sent out a broadcast eMail to a small segment of their client base on a mid-month Friday night.  By Sunday night, they had sold 9 cars sourced directly back to that email.  By Wednesday the total had grown to 12 units—that’s incremental sales on top of the showroom and other lead providers.

At another dealer—Mercedes-Benz of Laguna Niguel—sent out a very simple email.  Basic.  No fancy video or gimmicks.  Just a plain, straightforward sales pitch to their client base on a quiet Thursday night.  The very next day, over 30 phone calls came in with callers stating, “I’m calling about the email I received…”  And, throughout the weekend, the phone kept ringing.  How much would you spend on radio or newspaper to pull over 30 phone calls in a day?

These examples illustrate the potential for true incremental sales.

If you’re not taking action now, then change your priorities today.  To help get you started, follow these simple steps:

  1. Identify your email coordinator.  You need someone with real world sales experience.  This person needs to fulfill 4 critical responsibilities:
    • Ensure that the email content makes a compelling offer—providing judgment to determine whether consumers will respond to the offers
    • Ensure that the offers meet legal standards–like lease terms, payment assumptions, stock numbers, etc.
    • Ensure that each email maintains consistency with your branding standards—like logos, pictures, colors, etc.
    • Ensure any pricing in your email offers does not conflict with your website specials, print ads, and other publications.
  2. Hire someone capable of merging quality content and compelling writing.  Don’t send out a hodgepodge of pictures and grammatical errors.  Keep your messages concise and maintain consistency with your store’s overall branding, other advertised pricing, pictures, colors, etc.
  3. Prepare your staff to measure results.  Train your sales managers to source every write up and every deal.  Evaluate results for 7 days following your broadcast.  Assess what went well, and what to improve.
  4. Repeat the cycle of constant improvement.

So get started. Don’t make excuses. Just make it work.

Rethinking the marketing of your store through new media technologies

Finding sales prospects has changed dramatically in the past few years.  Retaining the loyalty of past customers has become a necessity to remain a viable enterprise.  Reaching out to find potentially new customers has become more difficult.  Newspapers ads, radio spots and TV just don’t generate the results they once did.

The industry has transitioned into a new era of automotive marketing. And this new era continues to evolve and change.  But some fundamentals are permanent–such as nearly every car buyer turning to Internet sources while conducting research.

To tap into that consumer enthusiasm and influence potential buyers, successful stores need to become a trusted source of information.  Once engaged in dialog with past customers and new prospects, such stores can sustain an invaluable marketing advantage over their competitors.

To get your store moving in the right direction, consider following this 7 step process:

  1. Establish your marketing goals.
  2. Define your strategy and priorities.
  3. Create a plan that includes a timeline of milestones and expected accomplishments.
  4. Execute your plan.
  5. Assess your results (actuals vs. goals).
  6. Revise your plan (what assumptions proved true vs false, what lessons were learned) .
  7. Repeat the process.