3 Rules for Success Your Dealership Cannot Ignore

Marketing has changed so much with car dealerships today.

Just a few years ago, many marketing methods were considered “free” or “optional”.

Now they have their own budget. For time and money.

1. Define your marketing mission.

Your mission should not be something like “Sell my stuff.” No, no, NO! This is so 2005.

Here’s a great mission statement:

To engage, educate and entertain our customers and prospects by giving them extraordinary and unexpected value.

Before you pull the trigger on any marketing campaign, compare it with a clear purpose like this one.

Really ask and answer this question each time.

If it doesn’t fit, send it back to the drawing board.

And yes, this work will truly pay off in sales and happy customers.

2. Pick your people.

Social media, email, direct mail, TV, radio – especially if you control multiple dealerships – requires many good people.

If you think you can depend on just one “marketing” person per dealership these days, you’ll soon be broke.

Two can’t do it all either.

You need a team to handle it.

That’s why today in many dealerships you find Digital Marketing Managers, Graphic Designers, Community Managers and Social Ambassadors.

Or they simply hire a great agency to handle all these roles.

3. Be helpful, don’t just “do marketing”.

As Zig Ziglar often said, “If you help enough people get what they want, you’ll get what you want.”

Keep your focus on this.

The moment you set your marketing on cruise control and just do marketing, you’ll slowly start to lose your audience.

Yep. Guaranteed.

When the email leads come in, respond immediately. When someone calls your direct mail hotline, don’t let it go to voicemail – unless it’s 1AM.

Have you ever tagged an important person on social media and gotten an answer? Made you feel pretty special, right?

So respond! Every time. No exceptions.

If you’re not consistent, you’re nonexistent.

If you’re not mailing, emailing, posting and tweeting on a regular basis, you’re not going to reach your audience at all.

Notice that in all of this, there’s no mention of selling cars. Why?

That shouldn’t be your marketing goal. Really.

If you focus on selling, it won’t work. Lots of dealer experience proves this.

You must rather pay attention to connect with customers and impress your prospects. Build a value-based community.

That’s what works now.

Are you using all of these techniques to your advantage?

Contact National Auto Data for a free, no-strings-attached consultation.

We’ll examine every inch of your marketing goals, look at your competition and tell you something new.

Call us today at 866-363-9578 to get things started.


Why Direct Mail Beats Email, Eight of Nine Ways

Digital ads grab attention quicker, but that’s about all, says a new Temple University study.

Physical mail pieces hold attention longer, cause a greater emotional response, and are more memorable according to this neuromarketing study.

Not only that, the study shows that direct mail is perceived as more valuable, and even plays a more direct role in purchase decisions.

Nothing could make the US Postal Service happier, as a third of their revenue (about $20 billion) last year was from ad mail.

Temple connected lab subjects to eye tracking, fingertip sensors for heart rate, respiration, sweating, and even used MRI’s to reveal brain activity.

Study subjects examined a mix of 40 email and physical advertisements.

Granted, email and postcards scored about the same for engagement, accuracy of remembering the ad, and subject’s willingness to pay.

However, direct mail was the clear winner in a number of areas.

MRI scans found that looking at a postcard you hold in your hand lights up parts of the brain associated with desirability and value – far more than email does.

Direct mail cards were also more quickly and confidently remembered.

All of this confirms the same findings in an earlier study done by Royal Mail in the U.K. in 2009.

How can you use these findings?

The one thing these studies prove is this:

You should be testing direct mail.

Do your own testing. Everything varies by industry.

And you’ll certainly get better results with better data and smarter use of it!

Vary the color, shape and use of white space.

With direct mail, when people call your tracking number or go to a specific web page, you have concrete proof of a response.

Use sequencing. Add direct mail at different points in your marketing sequence.

Do people respond better to direct mail after they get an email or vice versa? How does this fit in with other media channels, such as TV or social?

Are you using this information to your advantage?

Contact National Auto Data for a free, no-strings-attached consultation.

We’ll examine every inch of your marketing goals, look at your competition and tell you something new.

Call us today at 866-363-9578 to get things started.

How to Get Millennials to Buy the Most From You

Did you know that 99% expect their car shopping experience to be a hassle?

This is what Driving Sales found via their recent consumer experience survey.

Another helpful stat?

There are now more Millennials (born 1981 to 1997) than there are Baby Boomers.

How do you sell to Millennials?

Here are three things you’ll need to change about your marketing.

Don’t shout your own praises.

How many times do you see the big, irritating, flapping windsock? Followed by the huge sign: “We’re the best!” (Or insert other gag-me superlatives: lowest prices, biggest selection.)

Replace these poke-in-the-eye methods with plain ol’ questions. Millennials love to interact, to be involved, to be asked versus told.

Questions such as: Do you love getting a good deal? Does a bigger selection make car buying easier?

Whether you’re building a radio or TV ad or even Twitter.

How about:

“Tell us how you’d like to buy your next car @NorthFortyFord #carshoppingfun”

Respect people.

“We do that already,” you say? Please go back and look at the opening statistic here.

Uncomfortable fact, isn’t it?

So kick this thought around: Just about every point in the buying funnel has room for improvement.

Are your ads/responses thoughtful and intelligent? Do you encourage further conversation?

For example, do your online ads include links to one of your videos? How about personalized pictures?

Or how about personalized quotes on rates and payments?

These days you can easily do soft pulls of consumer credit (just name and address, no social security number required). Just a thought.

People now expect their online music stations to learn which songs they like.

Why not make their car buying experience personal too?

Ask a Millennial.

Or better yet, hire one.

Put them in your TV ads. Your radio spots. And in your show room.

And even a jingle that Millennials can identify with.

That is, if you want to pull in millennials.

Start seeing your marketing as a mirror to the kind of people you want to attract.

Get rid of the ol’ dealer on the lot thing. Millennials will absolutely tune that out.

They want to see that you’re part of their village, their community.

Still have a Millennial living under your roof? Hey, you’ve got a free focus group!

Ask them how they want to be marketed to.

Are you using all of these techniques to your advantage?

Contact National Auto Data for a free, no-strings-attached consultation.

We’ll examine every inch of your marketing goals, look at your competition and tell you something new.

Call us today at 866-363-9578 to get things started.

Get More Vehicle Buyers: Why You Should Personalize Your Emails

“It’s kind of the ultimate marketing strategy, right?”

“The ability to put the right product in front of the right customer at the right time – personalization is the epitome of that now,” says Daniel Neukomm, CEO of La Jolla Group – the parent company of action sports apparel brands Metal Mulisha and O’Neill.

How do the discoveries of the clothing industry apply to automotive marketing?

At first, La Jolla Group sent emails in a batch-and-blast style and only segmented its customers based on gender. This wasn’t very successful in targeting the younger age group they were after.

However, through experience the company learned the importance of dividing their prospects up into more groups (segmentation).

They also took advantage of what’s called aggregated consumer data.

As people shop and browse, they voluntarily leave behind info useful for sellers.

The best data companies put these puzzle pieces together and offer a gold mine of information to help merchants better target consumers.

Store owners can learn so much about their ideal customer’s interests and lifestyle. And all of this is so powerful in predicting who will buy and when.

Neukomm adds:

“For a long time people thought that email was going to get phased out by social messaging, text, and other dominant channels. But the reality is our consumer is a media snacker. They consume content through so many different mediums – a lot of which they don’t really want commerce-type communications through….  I don’t know that a consumer wants to be sold something on Instagram; Facebook notoriously failed at trying to provide a shopping environment. It’s just wrong place, wrong time. Email is a place where consumers expect to talk about commerce.”

Yes, increasing open rates, click-throughs and conversions are all good goals. Yet more important than this is customer experience.

How will your communication make them feel about your brand?

Sure, recommending the right car to someone is important.

But making people happy and putting your brand in the back of their head?


Are you using all of these techniques to your advantage?

Contact National Auto Data for a free, no-strings-attached consultation.

We’ll examine every inch of your marketing goals, look at your competition and tell you something new.

Call us today at 866-363-9578 to get things started.

How to Harness Big Data for New Profits & Success

What is big data, anyway? Put simply, it’s every piece of data that makes its way to the internet.

Not necessarily available for everyone to see, but on the internet.

Not only is there structured data, but unstructured data: Facebook status updates, Tweets, that book you purchased online.

More and more of this data actually is available for everyone to see. It forms a great grid, now being called the Internet of Things.

How can you use this? Here’s an example.

Twitter analytics now describes in detail your followers interests, gender, household income, consumer buying styles, net worth, marital status, education and wireless carrier.

All for free.

Not only does the GPS in your cell phone transmit your location coordinates. Your car also sends data to the manufacturer via OnStar or other services.

The internet itself is often referred to as the cloud. Why?

Every day there are more servers and computers placed on this giant network.

Since your data isn’t exactly all in one place, this huge network is aptly described as a large, constantly changing and growing cloud.

At first, we stored our data on floppy disks. Then there were CDs. Then DVDs. Then Blu Ray discs.

These worked well for the old desktop computers.

Yet today, we use laptops, tablets, smart phones, smart watches and other wearable tech.

We take our devices everywhere. And we want every one of these devices to access our data.

Years ago, all our software came on disks.

Later on, we began downloading our programs from the internet onto our desktops. (Where we still kept our data.)

Today, the cloud houses our data and our software. Software makers update their creations without there even having to be an Update button to press.

Nor do we have to reboot.

And, we can use our data and apps anywhere we take our devices.

All of this is known as Software As A Service (SaaS).

How is all of this an advantage to you?

First of all, you can use all this data from anywhere, with fewer interruptions.

You can use the data to find people who are more likely to buy your products and services.

More importantly, you can know exactly when they want to buy.

It gives you customer service and customer relationship management ability you’ve never had before.

You can tell when someone places something in a virtual shopping cart, but doesn’t actually hit the Buy button.

Why not email them a special offer?

Or, your car signals the dealership that it’s low on oil.

All of a sudden, they automagically get an oil change reminder and a coupon.

As you look around, you probably see your life being impacted by these changes more and more.

Are you using this data to your advantage?

Contact National Auto Data for a free, no-strings-attached consultation.

We’ll examine every inch of your marketing goals, look at your competition and tell you something new.

Call us today at 866-363-9578 to get things started.

Unexpected New Secrets To Success With Your Emails

Let’s face it. The email “tips” you find online are awful.

You know, the ones that say: Build a strategy. Use A/B testing. Blech!

Of course you’re going to use a strategy! And you’re going to try different stuff. Duh!

To grasp what’s working, think for a moment about why you check your own inbox.

Is it to get the latest marketing emails?

You don’t watch TV for the commercials. Neither do you race to the computer each morning to see what “offers” await.

Emails shouldn’t sell.

At least not blatantly.

You’ll sign up for the occasional app, service or gimme.

But what emails do you really open? Emails from your friends, your coworkers. People who actually communicate and help you.

Even the latest app or service email should be helpful.

Offer people real information. Offer your help. Invite them to talk to you.

Never ever send email from an address like “noreply@you.com.” That’s a painfully obvious way to let your subscribers know your email is merely a one-way conversation.

Here’s another truth:

Email doesn’t drive traffic very well. Unless…

Tests show that email brings far less people to websites than social media or Google searches.

However, here’s the good news:

Let’s say you start out with a rented list of emails. You get the recipients to opt in to your own brand.

Then you send them multiple emails. Guess what?

These people are more loyal, avid fans than your Googlers and social media looky loo’s.

What does this mean for you?

SEO and social media have their place when it comes to getting new leads.

Direct mail and rented email lists work well for getting initial traffic. However…

The real power of email happens when you maintain and work your list. You use multiple campaigns and build brand awareness.

But hold on…again put yourself in the shoes of the recipient.

Do you want 2-3 emails a week from the same pushy company? Probably not.

Build trust, not annoyance. Create ways for people to expect more emails from you.

Now you’re starting to nurture relationships and you’ll actually see sales.

That’s what you wanted in the first place, right? Sales?

Anyone (even with a small budget) can send friendly, well written, truly personalized and helpful emails.

Will you?

Contact National Auto Data for a free, no-strings-attached quote.

We’ll examine every inch of your email goals, look at your competition and tell you something new.

Call us today at 866-363-9578 to get things started.

How Do You Know if Your Direct Marketing Campaign Was a Success?

Here’s a big myth about email marketing and direct mail. Some say it’s impossible to measure.

How in the world would you know if the email or postcard you sent someone got them into your showroom?

As you know, ability to measure your automotive marketing success is critical. You can’t pump a lot of money into something that might work – or might not.

To bust apart this myth, here are five ways you can specifically measure your direct mail success.

1. Call Tracking

You simply assign a unique, trackable phone number to your marketing campaign. Do you send out multiple campaigns? No problem.

Phone numbers are inexpensive. Simply assign a different number to each campaign. Then you know exactly who responded to which campaign.


2. Promo Codes

Another great way to prove the success of your campaigns? Promotional codes. For each campaign, assign a unique code to the postcard or flier you send out.


How do you get people to tell you what their code is? Simply offer a discount for telling you the code.

Without fail, your responders will be happy to give this info to you!

3. Campaign Specific URLs

For each campaign you send out, make a landing page on your (or your promotional) website.

This is great for any sales campaign, and especially events at your dealership.

Make the URL of the landing page easy to type in. For example:


The “12345” in the URL above is a special code that’s unique for each person you target in the campaign. Your call to action on the flier will include the URL.

Your prospect simply has to type in the url with the promo code (once again offering a discount for the correct promo code). Again something people are happy to do in order to RSVP, get more information, claim a prize or get a discount.

Keep in mind that “promo10” would ONLY be used on that printed piece for everyone in that campaign. You would not mention or link to this page from anywhere else on your site.

This allows you to see the overall campaign success (promo10) and the response of each individual (12345).

4. Geographic Info

If your campaign was limited to a specific area or region, watch your showroom traffic in that region after sending the campaign.

5. Google Brand Searches

Even with specific instructions on your mail piece or email, people will still Google and go to your website. Even though they didn’t go to the landing page set up for them, you may still see a spike in your traffic.

With Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools set up, you’ll see this. Years of ad wisdom prove this out: people need to see your brand a few times before they respond. So, this is also a measure of success for your campaigns.

Yes, you can measure your direct mail and email results.

With the simple methods described above, you’ll see what you’re doing right and where you can improve your marketing.

Contact National Auto Data for a free, no-strings-attached quote.

We’ll examine every inch of your ad goals, look at your competition and tell you something new.

Call us today at 866-363-9578 to get things started.

Create Great Ads: Keep It Simple

Resist the urge. The one every salesman has.

 What urge?
 To stuff your ads, commercials and communication with too many facts.
 Do you have the biggest dealership, the largest selection, the most helpful salespeople, etc., etc.?


How do you get all that info into your ad?

 Whether it’s a print ad, a video or radio ad it doesn’t matter: you have a teeny, tiny window of opportunity to grab attention.

The headline or the first few seconds is all that counts. And what follows better be pretty good to keep their interest.

You have seconds or just a handful of words to make your point, present an offer and close your ad somehow. (And if you have co-op limitations to follow, you’ll have even less time to talk about your dealership.)

Easy, you say? Of course, you’ll just hire a fast talking voiceover to announce all of your info in an irritating way, right?

Sure, you could pour dollars into this, and maybe see a marginal benefit. People might recognize your dealership a bit more.

Or they might just run away from it!

Don’t kid yourself.

When people see or hear something, their brain immediately runs it through the filter:

Can I tune this out?

Between your eyeballs and the part of your brain connected to your wallet is a ruthless editor.

Here’s its job:

Severely cut out the details. Am I bored or overwhelmed?

Then forget it! I’m ignoring what I see!

To get past this indomitable gatekeeper, you must beat it to the punch.

Don’t give it all those details about how you’re the best. Just focus on one or two things.

Severely cut out the details.


Keep it entertained. Hit it with, “Wow, this is new. I have to act on this!”

If you get people thinking about a couple positive things in your ad, it doesn’t matter they don’t know all the other great things about you.

Because they have such a good reaction…


They’ll assume everything else about your dealership is top notch.

So, are you spending your marketing dollars the best way? Is your dealership overstuffing your ads with too much info?

Contact National Auto Data for a free, no-strings-attached ad review.

We’ll examine every inch of your ads, look at your competition.

Call us today at 866-363-9578 and we’ll tell you something new.

Auto Service Leads – New Buyers

I was running some quick numbers on new records coming into the database. In just the last 30 days we have over 60,969 New Car buyers that purchased a 2014-2015 vehicle. Now you may not think that is alot of data. However these are upto three times verified already. And they are compliant records.  Considering all that they have been thru already they are GOLD records!

Gold I say? Why might you ask?

In the first sixty days these New Car buyers will be buying everything from Weather Mats, Tint, Car Alarms, Car Seats, New Insurance, Accessories, and even possibly changing who they do service with. This is a great opportunity to find out who else bought a Ford or Chevy or any other make and are not currently doing service with your dealership.

How do these records play out by type?

New Truck Owners = 5,740

New Car Owners = 19,776

New SUV Owners = 14,283

New CrossOver Owners = 17,709

New Van Owners = 2,017

Give us a call and see what we can do for you!