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Dealerships today are focused on digital marketing more and more. The world gets more digital every day, so the online attention makes sense. You always want to “skate to where the puck is going,” but what happens when all your competition is already there?

That’s when diversifying your strategies makes sense, even if it means pulling out an old playbook and sprucing it up a bit. The playbook we’re pulling out in this instance is direct marketing.

Direct marketing generally includes any direct communication to customers that doesn’t rely on third-party media advertising channels. You will find digital strategies included in the concept of direct marketing, and those are important to help you stay ahead of the game. But often when our industry talks about “direct marketing,” we’re still referring to highly targeted print mail.

70% of consumers say direct mail is more personal than online interactions

At DriveSure, we make it easy for new car dealerships to offer unbeatable maintenance and bring customers back for service, tires, and unplanned repairs. So, the examples we’ll explore below are focused on firsthand experience increasing benefit package awareness and activation. But it’s important to note these direct mail tactics can be applied to many other areas of your dealership.


Prepare for the 5 make-or-break moments that can cause service customers to start going elsewhere.


4 Direct Mail Tactics That Work

1. Make sure your offer stands out.

Most of us take action as customers when it’s obvious there’s value we couldn’t otherwise receive. Your dealership’s customers behave the same way. Their mailboxes are full of the same old “junk mail.” To stand out, you need a message that promises unique and compelling value. 

Our minds tend to jump to things like discounts and coupons when we talk about grabbing customers’ attention. While that strategy can work, it has profit-eating downsides too. Plus, it’s what everyone else is doing.

Instead of simply mailing out a bunch of mailers with discounts or promotions, consider using a mix of personalization and differentiation.

For example, the direct mail we send out for dealerships that offer DriveSure are timed based on when the customer is due for service. The mailers also pack a 1-2 punch of value. Not only do they often include a coupon or two for service offerings, they highlight the suite of DriveSure benefits (renewable roadside assistance, tire protection, and alternate transportation coverage) that’ll be included with the service at no extra charge.

2 .Repeat and remind customers of conversations from the dealership.

Direct mail is a great reminder channel for customers and prospects. New car buyers are the perfect example of who can benefit from direct mail reminders.

Buying a new car can be exhausting no matter how polished your processes are. Buyers may be worried about negotiating the price, anxious about making a big purchase, and overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information they’re getting. Plus, all they’re really thinking about is getting behind the wheel of their new car.

If there’s a particular piece of information you want to make sure they understand and remember, it’s a good idea to send a reinforcing message later. A simple thank-you for their purchase along with a quick recap of what you discussed can make all the difference. This is especially true for information that’ll keep them coming back to you for service and future purchases.

3. Send print mail to customers without an email address on file.

Without a doubt, it’s always a good idea to collect email addresses from your customers – a solid benchmark is to have 75% of your customers’ email addresses.

But how do you reach the other 25%?  

Email is our primary channel for DriveSure benefit reminders so this is a question we’ve had to address ourselves. Personalized print mail has been a great backup for the dealerships we work with. This combination of email (and text messaging) and direct mail ensures you reach all of your customers through the best channel for them.  

4. Use your database to drive retention and revenue pushes.

Whether it’s sales or service, sometimes you need a revenue push to meet or exceed monthly, quarterly, or annual objectives. The best way get sales quick is to turn to the people who already know who you are. 

Here’s a direct mail example we call Traffic Driver campaigns. First, we work with dealerships to pull a list of customers from their database who haven’t visited the dealership in, for example, nine months. Then, we send a direct mailer to these customers – usually with an offer to reactivate their DriveSure benefits or to announce the introduction of DriveSure benefits if it’s a new initiative for the dealership. It’s that simple, but effective.

To see a strategy like this in action, check out how Mazda of Orland Park used DriveSure direct mail to help generate a 6x return-on-investment in this case study.

The Goal of Dealership Direct Marketing

As we’ve covered before, digital marketing strategies do work. Channels such as text messaging, mobile alerts, and email are all effective because most customers spend time on those channels already. But it would be a mistake to abandon direct mail.

There are many tactics to consider for business development and customer retention. The question is: which ones are right for your current situation and needs? Pay attention to market trends and how things are changing, but don’t lose sight of the ultimate goal – business growth.

Master These Moments to Keep Your Customers

Discover the 5 critical moments causing customers to abandon your dealership service department, and how you can overcome them.   

Join us for a free online event on July 28th!Battling 5 Dealership Service Defection Points with DriveSure