Should You Include a Giveaway In Your Dealership’s Next Direct Mail Promotion?

automotive direct mail

automotive direct mailEverybody likes something for nothing and FREE! is the most powerful word in advertising so should you include a FREE PRIZE promotion in you car dealership’s next automotive direct mail campaign?

The short answer is it depends entirely on your salespeople and the culture at your dealership.

We can take the same mailer with the same prizes and offers and mail it for two different dealers and get polar opposite results.

One dealership will call me absolutely livid because their staff spent the day wasting time talking to people who had zero interest in buying a car and only called or stopped by the dealership to see if they had won a free trip.

The second dealership will be ecstatic because they had a showroom full of people and a couple of hundred ups to talk to.

My personal preference has always been to not include prizes and sweepstakes. We want to create urgency about the sales event and attract traffic that is there because of the vehicle offers in the mailer, because they know that you’ve brought in special appraisers to get them top dollar for their trade, because bankers are on site to accept every credit application.

But, I know dealers who swear by sweepstakes and promotions. Giveaways absolutely, 100% will boost traffic on the floor, on the phones and on the web. Now the truth is most of the folks who call or come by aren’t coming in to buy a car, they’re only there to win a car, or a trip, or some cash or at the very least a free set of steak knives. But hey, free is free.

If you’ve got the kind of sales staff who’s going to work every up that calls, get them into the store to check their numbers, take the time to find out what they’re driving now, why they’re hoping to win a new car and present them with something exciting that they can afford, you’re going to close some percentage of those tire kickers.

mega-red-tag-saleAt the very least activity creates excitement. Excitement creates enthusiasm. And enthusiasm makes the order bell ring – Ding, Ding, Ding!

But if your staff isn’t going to put in that kind of effort, if they just let the receptionist check the winning numbers over the phone or post the prize board upfront were anybody can take a quick look and head back out the door, then the extra expense of a scratchoff and prize insurance is just a waste of money. You’re better off hammering home the great deals, financing, and sales deadline to bring in the low hanging fruit.

If you’re willing to put in the extra effort on the sales floor, here are a few tips to make your next direct mailer a hit

Give Away A Car

Cold hard cash is cool, and everyone wants a vacation, but if you’re giving away a car, you’re going to attract people who need a car. And since you’re in the business of selling cars, you’ve automatically got something to talk about. You can cover the cost of a $20,000 car with prize insurance for well under a thousand bucks.

Use Multiple Prizes

Offer secondary prizes of lesser value or even purchase discounts so that every mailer says WINNER under the scratchoff. If you tell people they’ve already won, they’ll come in to find out which prize.

Never Give Out the Winning Numbers on the Phone

You’ve got to get them into the store and log every up.

Then work every up to make it work.

Terry LancasterTerry Lancaster is the VP of Making S#!% Happen at Instant Events Automotive Advertising, father of 3 teenage daughters and a Beer League Hockey All Star, as if there could ever be such a thing.

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