April 19, 2019 at 5:00 pm #88276
After speaking to a number of Euro & Specialty shops recently about executing targeted direct mail campaigns, I’ve realized there isn’t a clear understanding from the shop owners perspective about the capabilities and source of targeted auto lists. I hope to add some transparency to the subject here.
1. What type of targeted auto data is available?
Below is a list of 6 categories available to select specific vehicles to target, with the top 3 being the most widely used. I have also attached a sample report that illustrates an example of data from a list that was run by make, model & year.
4. Fuel Type
5. Auto Class
6. Auto Style
2. Where does this information come from?
This seems to be the point of the most confusion. Targeted auto data is NOT available from any DMV. This is due to what is called the Shelby Act AKA Data Access Act. You can google Shelby Act and read a plethora of information about it on google.
Since the DMV does not release this data, the actual data that is available is compiled using multiple sources. The following list includes the primary sources of where this data is derived from. This list includes but is not limited to:
1. Co-Registration: When someone goes to specific auto service businesses for example, they take down the vin number and car info and then sell this info the list compilers. That is just one example. Over 90% of lists will come from service industries that report the vin info. Info is lacking on new models because they didn’t go to a service provider that releases the data.
2. Responder info: Someone who fills out form from a magazine, surveys, or forms they filled out somewhere, etc.
3. Online insurance quotes
4. Warranty Companies
5. Transactional data: If the consumer has purchased something for their car such as a stereo or running boards, etc.
6. Major Car Clubs of America.
7. Aftermarket Repair Companies
Questions to ask your direct mail &/Or List provider before purchasing a targeted vehicle mailing list.
1. Is your list triple verified? This means your list must have come from and have been verified by three sources in order for the record to be included.
2. Is your list NCOA’d? To NCOA a list means to utilize the post office data to validate that the recipient’s name matches their current address. This ensures that the owners of the vehicles haven’t moved and are in fact located at the address confirmed.
3. Is your List Shelby compliant?
In summation, I can tell you first hand that not all list providers are created equal. I have personally vetted over 10 of the top list vendors to choose our resource for targeted lists. Therefore, my strong recommendation is to do your research, ask all of the questions listed above and get a list count from more than one vendor to compare.
I hope this helps and if there are any questions, please let message me.
Executive Vice President of Sales
Email: [email protected]
Web: TheMailShark.com/AutoApril 25, 2019 at 5:56 pm #88428
Thank you for your post. I enjoyed it. While what you say is true, there are also other ways around the law, specifically the 1994 Driver’s Privacy Protection Act.
Companies like yours fill a need for any shop seeking to grow and understand there are other shops that have been successful with a direct mail campaign. Many direct mail companies are built around this concept. I assume your company provides specific addresses for specific vehicles.
First, let me state that due to the nature of our business, our needs aren’t the typical shop’s needs. We target a specific vehicle age group more than a specific type of vehicle.
It is not a wholly-true statement to say DMVs don’t sell data; they do. What they don’t do is sell any Personally Identifiable Information. (PII) What I mean by that is that we purchased over 22 million records from 2 states directly from those states’ DMV that have all of the DMV data, excluding PII data fields of the owner’s name and street address. City & Zip are included. All other data fields are freely available. Total investment: less than $600.
As a side note, this is how some SMS’ acquire plate-to-VIN matching data.
“What good is it if you don’t have an address?” you may ask. Because we are a transmission repair specialist, the very nature of our business doesn’t exist unless there is an immediate need. For example, we could direct mail an entire zip code with a 50% off offer and nobody is going to take us up on that offer unless they are experiencing transmission problems. Hence, direct mail isn’t very effective for us due to the nature of our business, not because direct mail doesn’t work.
Because we target 10-year old and newer vehicles, we can create a select query for those vehicles and find the zip codes that have the highest population of the age of vehicles we target. We have learned that late model vehicles tend to congregate in certain zip codes, which most of the time, are higher income as well. Instead of using those zip codes for direct mail, which we could if we were a general repair shop, we target those zip codes in our Google AdWords and MSN Advertising PPC campaigns.
Admittedly, creating SQL select statements and reports is beyond the technical ability of most shop owners. However, it can either be hired out online on Fiverr.com or Upwork.com for a relatively nominal fee. I did like many do today, I watched training videos online at LinkedIn/Lynda.com to learn how to do it along with buying a book. There’s also the tried and true YouTube. Shop owners wishing to do as I did can pick their poison. 🙂
I learned my PPC skills from the free Google AdWords training they provide.
In closing, let me say a couple of things. In my opinion, the most positive, productive, and effective use of a shop owner’s time is to engage in the activities that make the shop phone ring off the hook. The second most important activity is to make sure those answering the phone have been thoroughly trained in how to convert a caller into an appointment, and how once at the shop, close that former caller into a sale. To me, those two activities of generating and closing sales leads are a full-time job in of themselves.
Always Selling,April 25, 2019 at 6:40 pm #88434Alan Ollie Gelfand Pres.Participant
Another good idea is you can buy a list of everybody who got traffic tickets for some weird reason personal identifiable information is available right there. It’s very inexpensive you could also get with some law firm’s and get their old data because they don’t use it except month after the person got a ticket.April 25, 2019 at 8:52 pm #88441
Hi Larry, Thanks for your reply. My post was intended to be specific to data regarding vehicle makes, models, etc. and then appending them back to a specific physical address that can be used to target with direct mail so thanks for clearing the air about other specifics that are available to the public from the DMV upon request.
That said, I certainly agree with you that your advertising dollars and efforts are best spent on google AdWords, local seo and a sharp website of course. Direct mail isn’t a good resource to target prospects for transmission issues as you are fully aware.
I also couldn’t agree more regarding your thoughts on converting leads into appointments. We utilize call tracking on our direct mail campaigns which of course allows us to listen to the phone calls as well and boy oh boy, I cringe when listening to some of these calls. I heard a call last week where the service advisor asked the client his name. The client was a bit old and it almost seemed like he didn’t hear the question and went ahead and asked the service advisor a question about his vehicle and the service advisor said “excuse me, I was talking?” Talk about losing a potential repair order in a split second. Spending money to acquire leads and not effectively converting the lead to an appointment is certainly not the outcome any owner/manager is looking for. This also of course pains me as a marketer because we did our job to drive the lead and the marketing worked, however, the deal could not be converted.
In summation, if I were to continue with your list and add a third most important thing not only a shop owner but any business owners/managers should spend their time on, is client retention. Communication after the service or sales, not only over the short term but over the long term is extremely important in my opinion and critical to retain clients as repeat and lifelong customers.
Thanks, JoshApril 25, 2019 at 8:56 pm #88443
Wow Alan, now that is a first. I have never heard of anyone buying a list of traffic offenders to obtain vehicle info. I love the outside of the box thinking. Maybe you can freelance as private investigator in your free time, haha. Thanks for the info.
JoshApril 26, 2019 at 10:14 pm #88473
Thanks for the reply. I know what you mean about listening to call recordings. I did that for a while and to be quite frank, we were getting so many calls it was impossible to listen to them all. That was back when I was first learning to put all the pieces of the puzzle together. I knew there had to be some technological solutions, somehow.
Out of all the places on the internet, I stumbled upon a company right around the corner from our shop that was doing Conversation Analytics. The best I can describe it, is it was enhanced call scoring. It not only scores the quality of the incoming call, but it scores our service writer as well. I had finally found the solution from listening to hours of call recordings. They changed their algorithm to include my custom request. I wanted my people to say the word “appointment” at least 3 times, which is easy in normal conversation.
- “Would you like to set an appointment?” I have an opening at 8, or would 1 in the afternoon be better for you?”
- “OK, I have you down for a X:XX o’clock appointment on [day]”
- “When you come in for your appointment, ask for me, Larry.”
Long story made short, I also had to change the expiration of the cookie they dropped in peoples’ machines to match the length of our average sales cycle, which was 5 business days. (7 calendar days as far as the cookie was concerned.) Otherwise, keyword, raw search, and caller data were all wrong. That also meant I had to buy enough phone numbers for our phone pool to last 7 days. “Crap.” I thought.
I decided to settle on 104 numbers and it was a deal @$500/mo. Then, automagically, I was able to only listen to phone calls where we, not necessarily the caller, scored low. It really opened my eyes to a lot of stuff that was flying under the radar because I wasn’t listening to every single call. After a while, I was only listening to only half a dozen or so calls a week because I could look at Conversation Analytics scoring.
I don’t do this for a living in the normal sense, but I did try to help a fellow local shop owner do this himself and everything fell apart the moment they’d answer the phone. Because the owner and his son answer the phone, they went into instant denial and abandoned the whole concept altogether. That was the first and last local shop owner I helped or tried to help. I learned to leave helping shops to companies like yours.
In all, we were spending about $50K/yr. for everything. It sounds like a lot but it was a small price for admission to increasing our sales beyond the capability of our shop. I’m not kidding when I say I had to “throttle” our PPC campaigns, sometimes completely pausing them for a week or two while we caught up. In the end, it generated all the extra business we could handle and allowed us to pick and choose what kind of jobs we took in. The bottom line was sales increased slightly over 58%.
Shop owners should take advantage of you and companies like yours have to offer.April 28, 2019 at 3:52 pm #88500April 28, 2019 at 8:47 pm #88505
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