By Tanya Gray, Performance Manager & Team Leader

That time of the year has come again where we all look forward to the New Year ahead and take the time to reflect on key learnings and important milestones from 2018.2018 was certainly a big year for Vicimus, but more specifically, for our flagship product -Bumper. The newest and most advanced version called 3.0 was injected with many market leading features all while keeping the same easy-to-use functionalities that many dealers have grown to love. The Bumper platform not only went through a major facelift in 2018, but with multi-language capabilities now built in, we were able to expand into different countries, outside of Canada and the U.S.A., like Brazil and Mexico.Since both Bumper and our team have grown so much over 2018, we wanted to share with you some important insights we’ve collected from working so closely with many of our clients.

Our Performance Managers have assisted clients with over 1,000 marketing campaigns in 2018. We’ve learned a lot along the way about what makes campaigns successful and we would love to pass this information to you as you plan your 2019 marketing strategies.We believe there are three main lessons that all dealers should be aware of, whether you’re using Bumper or not. These lessons will hopefully help you build stronger relationships with your customers and generate higher incremental gross for your dealership.

Lesson 1: Not All Marketing Communications Need to Sell Something (Grooming your customers for the long haul)

When a customer buys a car from your dealership, there is so much potential for that individual to become a life-long buyer. This one individual could service with you for years to come, purchase a second, third, or fourth vehicle from you and also buy select finance packages and parts.
It is so important to build a strong foundation with a new customer right from the start and make the customer feel valued, appreciated, and recognize the major milestone that just happened within their life.

One of the best ways to start the relationship out right with a new customer is to send them a ‘Welcome to the Family’ campaign. These campaigns within Bumper were the top performing campaigns of 2018 by a landslide! These campaigns regularly saw 70% and above open rates on emails, and 20% and above conversion percentages when using email and dynamic mailers.

The best performing campaigns often times offered the new customer a discount on their first service appointment, or perhaps something small like a free car wash. The purpose of these campaigns is to offer something of value to the new customer and introduce them into the idea that your marketing communications will represent their interests and be of value to the customer.

Lesson 2: Smaller Campaigns Generate a Higher Return

We Performance Managers see it time and time again, a dealership will be having a slow month and want to push out a HUGE marketing campaign mid-month to try to increase their numbers and get a few more sales.
The dealer will pull a big database export and launch their campaign to everyone, with one message, to all recipients.

Within every dealership database, there are always a certain group of individuals who are in-market to buy, who are in-need of service, who have their factory warranty expiring soon, and so on and so forth. Being able to identify which stage each customer is at within their vehicle lifecycle will save you marketing dollars by sending more targeted communications to a more specific group of individuals.

Take, for example, a person who purchased a vehicle from you. This individual purchased a new vehicle, with no extended warranty, and is currently 3-years in to an 8-year finance term. This individual probably isn’t in the market to buy, but yet just received a marketing email about a weekend sale at your dealership. The individual might be interested in your promotion and end up purchasing, however, a way more likely result is that this individual is probably going to assume that your marketing communications aren’t of value to them and not at all personalized to their needs and either unsubscribe, or start to ignore your emails/ direct mailers.

This individual, however, is probably coming close to their factory warranty expiring and would find much more value in an extended warranty offer, rather than purchasing a new vehicle. Being able to identify when to target your customers, and for what offer, will make a huge difference to how your campaigns perform by launching smaller, more relevant campaigns to your customers. Our research shows that targeted campaigns of under 500 invites will generate, on average, 4000% higher ROI, in comparison to campaigns that have 2000 or more invites.

Lesson 3: Less is Always More

So, you spend around $1,500 on launching a dynamic mailer and an email campaign to around 500 customers. With that kind of spend it sounds ridiculous to not include an offer within the body of your email and mailer. If your OEM is offering a $1,000 loyalty credit on new vehicles, you want to post that offer EVERYWHERE. However, based on our analysis from over 1,000 marketing campaigns in 2018, we have concluded that this is NOT the best performing strategy.

Why? Displaying your offer in an email and dynamic mailer will essentially provide your prospect will all the information they need to know about what you’re offering at the dealership, and this means your customers will decide whether or not the OEM incentive is a good deal for them, without speaking with you. You’re removing the possibility of your customers reaching out to you for more information, because, they don’t need more information from you.

When campaigns don’t include an offer within the body of the email, we see click-through rates jump from around 15% to 40% and above! That’s an extra 25% of customers you are now able to identify as being interested in your potential offer. Now you’re able to perform follow-up calls and put your sales team to work on converting these leads into appointments, and hopefully, sales!

Following these 3 key tips can have a tremendous impact on the performance of your Bumper campaigns, as well as increase your incremental gross within your dealership.

If you want to find out more about our 2018 lessons and best practices, reach out to your Performance Manager to schedule a 2019 campaign strategy and discuss how our 2018 analysis can help YOU.