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5 Digital Steps to Generate Massive ROI from Direct Mail

Automotive Mailer
Automotive Service Mailer from 1928

As you can see from the image, direct mail hasn’t changed much in the past 90 years (except for the prices!).  Why should it?  It works to get good looking information in front of a lot of people very quickly, and consumers have a financial mindset when looking through their mail because that is how all their bills come.  I've done a $4,000 minimum trade-in guarantee direct mail piece that had a higher ROI of any digital advertising all year long.

Direct mail is also not what you would call bargain advertising.  There are creative costs if you have an agency design it, production costs depending on card stock, and mailing costs with higher postage fees.  However, the problem with direct mail is not the cost, but the lack of digital strategy to enhance the effectiveness of it.

It doesn't matter if you put an address or a QR code on the mailer, the consumer is still going to search online for your dealership and possibly any competing offers in your market.

  1. Two weeks before your direct mail ships out, you should have a Google indexed landing page on your website
  2. One week before your direct mail ships out, you should have a Paid Search campaign started that emulates the messaging on your mailer
  3. Three days after your direct mail is sent, you should have three email campaigns sent with the same offer, but personalized for different segments of your database
    1. Customers who have purchased from you in the past 3 years
    2. Customers who have inquired, but not purchased from you
    3. Customer who are servicing their vehicle with you, but have never bought
  4. Custom remarketing banners matching your direct mail offer for at least two months after it is sent
  5. Social Media promotion to snap a picture of the mailer to receive an increased discount, or enter into a contest

Last but certainly not the least, TRACK everything from the direct mail promotion so you know what works and what doesn't.  You should have a tracking code or marketing source inside your CRM dedicated to this direct mail piece.  Any forms from your custom landing page should be tracked separately from internet leads.  Make sure your staff knows what marketing campaign is being sent out, and have a talk track available for phone leads.  I have even gone as far as to offer a spiff to the sales staff for the most tracked direct mail conversions.

Focusing on your whole marketing strategy and making sure you are aligned on every medium will get you the most traction out of your direct mail while generating massive ROI.

Brad Hampton

KPA Marketing Manager

Views: 806

Tags: Dealer, Direct, Internet, Mail, Marketing, Websites


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Comment by Mark Tewart on March 11, 2013 at 4:56pm

Excellent post Brad! I love to see a post on a digital forum about conventional advertising. Never forget that you should use all mediums and not just digital. Also, if you have call to actions that combine conventional and digital you create a multiple step marketing sequence that builds intentional congruence to your marketing. Good post and good comments by all.

Comment by Greg Wells on March 11, 2013 at 3:20pm

This is awesome, thanks for sharing Brad. 

Comment by Mathew Koenig on March 11, 2013 at 3:08pm
Great tips but a major one is missing: SMS. Mobile is where much of the consumer shopping experience takes place and with a 1% response rate from direct mail, we need a way convert buyers. Rather, we need a way to contact buyers instead of waiting for them to respond.

With an SMS call to action you can offer an incentive to people who text your code, then you'll get a lead notification when they text in.

This not only generates more opportunity but it lets you know whether or not people even see your direct mail, or if they trash it.

Want to see an example? Text the code AC13 to the phone number 71441

Digital doesn't only revolve around landing pages and email, SMS is the #1 way people speak to one another, digital coupons have a huge redemption rate and Combining these as your #6 step will make that direct mail campaign even more effective.

Helping the best get better,
Mat Koenig

Comment by Thomas Reidy on March 11, 2013 at 2:32pm

I really like the list segmenting--one list doesn't do all.

Comment by Clay Ferrer on March 11, 2013 at 2:29pm

All good points.  I would add unique qr codes for each mailer recipient for tracking, fraud prevention and code redemption for prizes, etc.  All form fields from mobile optimized landing page links would also pre populate for personalization.  Know me or Know Me.

Comment by Brad Hampton on March 11, 2013 at 2:19pm

Thanks Ray.  If mobile is executed well I can see it doing great things for Direct Mail.  Most of the time I see it stop at QR codes that go to the mobile home page.

Well executed would be making a video that the user can get to via mobile from the mailer, and creating a mobile landing page with a contact form and unique URL.  You start running into technology short falls down this path though.  Mobile dealer sites are still getting caught up.

Comment by Ray Fenster on March 11, 2013 at 2:15pm

The impact of including mobile would increase response by at least 15% to 20%.

Comment by Brad Hampton on March 8, 2013 at 8:54am

TV and Radio have their place, but I don't believe any direct offers should be used on those mediums regardless if a mailing promotion is being done or not.  TV and Radio should be branding focused to compliment any offers you are doing.  Mobile marketing is still in it's infancy.  Mobile ads are still clunky and most websites are still struggling to provide unique mobile URL's for landing pages.

Comment by Brad Hampton on March 8, 2013 at 8:51am

Thanks Manny!

Typical mailers that I produced had the following price structure.

10,000 names and addresses

$2,700-$3,000 for production and .25 - .30 cents per mail piece for postage.

Total costs were generally in the ballpark of $5,000 - $8,000 depending on if you purchased a list or used an internal list.

A significant investment for a limited run time marketing promotion.

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