I've created literally hundreds of auto shop marketing campaigns and strategies. I've discovered 38 critical details as a result of tracking, testing, measuring and verification. I've already shared the first 24. Below I detail what I've found works best in print and direct mail—and it also can be used online.
25. Problem, agitate, solution—and don't cheat! You start with a problem that the consumer recognizes. Remind them of the pain, inconvenience, cost and bother it creates—in other words, agitate the problem. Then show how you solve that problem.
This technique has always provided above average sales results, and it still does. But don't use it unless you can do it without cheating. The consumer isn't a moron—she is your wife!
26. Headlines. On average, five times as many people will read the headline as read the body of your message. It follows that if you don't sell your service in your headline, you have wasted 80 percent of your marketing money.
27. Headlines with benefits. Headlines that promise a benefit sell more than those that don't. The best solution is to be sure your headline includes benefits and your promise.
28. News and headlines. Time after time I've found that it pays to inject genuine news into headlines. The consumer is always on the lookout for new services, new improvements in an old service or new ways to use an old product. It's informative advertising. Consumers like it—ROI proves it.
29. Simple headlines. Your headline should convey what you want to say in simple, conversational language. Readers do not stop to decipher the meanings of cute headlines, hidden messages or obscure statements.
30. How many words in a headline? In tests, it was found that headlines of 10 words or longer sold more than short headlines. In terms of recall, headlines with eight to 10 words are most effective—they're just easier to remember.
In direct mail, headlines between six and 12 words get the most coupon response. As a general rule of thumb, long headlines sell more product than short headlines.
31. Localize headlines. For most auto repair shops, when marketing and advertising locally, it pays to include the name of the city in your headline.
32. Select your target and prospects. When you advertise your services to a special group, it pays to flag that group in your headline—as an example, "Attention all Import Car Owners."
Any other tips and tricks about mail and print?
33. Yes, people read the text and copy. It's proven that readership falls off rapidly up to 50 words—but it drops very little between 50 and 500 words.
This contains more than 2,300 words, and you're still reading it. I've used a lot of text and long copy with good success. Why? Because “the more you tell—the more you sell!”
34. Before and after. Before and after marketing and advertising has always proven somewhat above average in attention value. For repair shops I've found that any form of visualized contrast seems to work very well.
35. Photographs versus graphic art work. I've found that actual photographs work better than drawings and illustrations, almost invariably.
Photographs attract more readers, they generate more appetite for your message, they are more believable, they are better remembered, they create more response—they just sell more.
36. Use captions to sell. On average, testing shows that twice as many people will read the captions under photographs as read the body copy.
Knowing that, it follows that you should never use a photograph without putting a caption under it. Each caption should be a miniature advertisement, complete with your promise.
37. Editorial layout. When compared, an "editorial" type advertising layout is more successful than those that are full of 'hype' and look “salesy.” They get higher readership than conventional type advertising.
38. Repeat the winners. Knowing that tracking, ROI and results are everything, great pieces of marketing should never be discarded. But even old advertisements that have been discarded can be used again, and they'll continue to pay off. Readership, attention and response can actually increase when repeated.
Matthew Lee, is an automotive service marketing specialist and author of the book, “The Official Guide to Auto Service Marketing,” which offers “no-cost” and “low-cost” marketing strategies for auto service businesses. For a free copy of the book, visit www.JustTheBestMarketing.com.