Your Newsletter – It’s About Branding
How important do you think your dealership’s branding is to your future business success? Some people would say that it’s very important. Others might say that they don’t understand what branding is all about and they definitely don’t understand how it might relate to a dealership e-newsletter. The truth is that anything you put out in to the public including a dealership e-newsletter is all about branding and differentiating your dealership from the one down the street. With that in mind, you’ll want to take a look at your advertising and communications to ensure that each piece counts. Here are some suggestions.
“The brand is a special intangible that in many businesses is the most important asset. This is because of the economic impact that brands have. They influence the choices of customers, employees, investors and government authorities. In a world of abundant choices, such influence is crucial for commercial success…”
Rita Clifton and others. Brands and Branding. (United Kingdom: The Economist in association with Profile Books Ltd., 2009)
So in this world of “abundant choices” what can you do and what are you doing to create a positive influence in your marketplace? Truth is that you are already doing something. You are sending out an e-newsletter. The next thing, however, will be ensuring that each issue is helping you create a positive impression and build a lasting relationship with your clients and prospects. You’ll want to show them what benefits come with choosing you over your competitors. By doing so you’ll protect them from the negative influence of your competitors and reward yourself with their future business.
One sure fire way to set your dealership apart from another is to tell your readers about something that is unique to you – your staff. After all, your staff members really are what people will remember about your store. Include tips from a Service Advisor or Tech. Write an article about the soccer team your Sales Manager coaches. Perhaps one of the Sales staff has a prize winning chilli recipe to share? Some dealerships have started a staff member of the month section in their newsletter and include a brief bio on the person and their history at the dealership. Introduce your readers to your staff so that they can recognize them during their next visit and put them at ease.
We all love a bargain and your readers are no different. Some of the most popular items we see in our newsletters are coupons and specials. Will everyone who gets your newsletter jump at every coupon? No. Not everyone is going to be ready for their next oil change or tire rotation at the same time but by including coupons each month, you’ll be setting your dealership up as the source for valuable savings and your newsletter will be more worthwhile. Your readers will look forward to receiving your newsletter each month. You’ll keep them engaged and reinforce your branding as the dealership to choose.
Do you offer services or programs that are unique? A service loyalty program? A sales referral program? A free carwash with each service? Monthly New Owner Clinics? Or Ladies Only Service Clinics? Use your newsletter to get the word out and run an article each month on one of these unique features. Remember; you only get points for being different if people know that you’re different.
Brand yourself as the dealership with all the latest news and information your readers want. Use your newsletter reporting to determine what interests your readers most and then customize your content to reflect those preferences. Do the articles with tips from the service department consistently perform well? Then include more. Concentrate on the items that get the most positive results.
Many people feel that car dealerships are only interested in one thing – getting their money. Your newsletter can show readers that you are actually interested in building a relationship with them and welcome their feedback, suggestions and comments. People feel valued and respected when they get the opportunity to get involved and have a voice. Invite readers to write vehicle reviews and provide testimonials for you to use in your newsletters. Or go one step further and let anyone interested provide their feedback on a particular subject by using the survey function of your newsletter. “How do you like our recent changes to the Service Department hours?” “Please give us your feedback on our shuttle service.”
Today it is becoming more and more difficult to brand your dealership apart from others with many dealerships selling the same car in the same colour at the same price. Your newsletter is one tool that you can use to help you do that quickly, economically and effectively – and if you are trying to keep a client engaged for the next 3, 4, or 5 or more years, it just makes a lot of sense.
Article by Morgan van Holst, Operating Partner of MyAutoNews.ca a Canadian-based company that specializes in E-Newsletter communication and marketing solutions for auto dealerships across Canada.