Atcheson: How Newsletters Can Increase Referrals, Payments & Customer Loyalty
When you read the headline of this article you may have felt some doubt. What could possibly offer all of the benefits mentioned? They are not even in the same category.
It may not be anything you have ever thought about seriously doing, but it could be the “Best Idea Winner” at your next 20 Group meeting. Creating a printed newsletter can highlight a wide array of parts of your buy-here, pay-here dealership and customer base.
More possible benefits including those mentioned in the headline are:
• Earn more referrals.
• Collect more payments.
• Increase customer loyalty and retention.
• Brand awareness
• Improved customer relationships.
• Fight off dealers with bigger budgets.
• Advertise in a vacuum (competitors won’t be able to figure it out).
• Customers update their mailing address voluntarily.
The one tool that may give you all of these benefits is a printed monthly customer newsletter delivered via postal mail. Of course, it has to be done right.
Before you move on because this sounds like a simple approach to a complex set of benefits, consider each bullet point benefit on an individual basis.
Earn More Referrals
Every month, your newsletter will have a reminder that referrals are welcome and rewarded (if that is something you offer.) Yes, I know, you have already told your customers that you pay for referrals, and it says so on your website.
Well … you are not occupying as much time in your customers’ heads as you would like. A printed newsletter can serve as a constant reminder. How many referrals per month would it take for you to start sending printed newsletters right now?
Collect More Payments
As part of your printed monthly newsletter, you have a customer of the month contest and offer prizes. One of the requirements for earning the title Customer Of The Month is to make all payments on time.
People love to win prizes. Often times, your customers have the money to make their car payment to you; they just choose to pay someone else.
Every month is a juggling act for your customers. By sending out a monthly newsletter and highlighting and awarding on-time payments, you can be the first to get paid in their juggling act.
Increase Customer Loyalty and Repeat Business
Your newsletter should have some personality, fun and entertainment value. This leads people to want to read it. It also continues to build the relationship you have with that customer and the familiarity and comfort level they have with you.
Currently, probably the only time your customer hears from you is when you are asking for money. During the recent BHPH Report Training Series Webinar, Brent Carmichael of NCM Associates said repeat business should account for 25 percent of your sales.
If you have heard me speak or you have read our Dealer Profit Pros Newsletter, you know I do not like to see dealers waste money on brand advertising. Wasted branding is when you are promoting your brand to people that will never buy from you.
You should be selling cars to build a brand, not branding to sell cars. Your existing customers care about your brand and are more likely to refer to your brand in a positive way, when you focus on building your brand to them, and let them build the brand to others.
Improved Customer Relationships
A newsletter can transform you from a nameless, faceless dealership into a group of human beings that customers can relate to, trust, and refer to.
Fight Off Dealers With Bigger Budgets
More than once a dealer has come to us with the task of having to maintain or grow their business even though the “big” dealer just moved in down the road with a massive advertising budget.
The best way to get your customers to cover their eyes to other dealer advertising is to have a relationship with them. A newsletter with personality can strengthen relationships.
Advertise in a Vacuum
Competitors won’t be able to figure it out.
When your competitor sees you doing something that is wildly successful, expect them to mimic you. The more visible your marketing and advertising are, the easier it is to copy.
When you send direct mail to a targeted list, your competition is not able to figure out what is leading to all of your success unless they are willing to camp out at your customer’s mailbox and snatch the newsletter out of their hand.
Customers Update Their Mailing Address Voluntarily
When your newsletter has personality, entertainment value and prizes to win, your customers want to receive it.
As they move around, some of them will contact you to let you know where to send the newsletter.
Kenny Atcheson is the president of Dealer Profit Pros. He teaches workshops, speaks at 20 Groups, and his company offers several done-for-you marketing and advertising programs for the buy-here, pay-here industry. His website can be found at www.DealerProfitPros.com.