It’s summertime, summertime, sum, sum, summertime…well, almost. Millions of families are planning their vacations, and according to AAA Travel, more than 80 percent of people surveyed say they are planning a road trip this summer.
For dealers, this presents increased opportunities for customer-pay ROs and revenue. It also means that it’s time to roll out your summer service marketing campaigns.
To attract these hordes of road-trippers into your service lane, your best bet is to stick with tried-and-true strategies. In our experience, the top three performing summer service campaigns are the same ones you’ve probably been doing for years now. However, you may want to review the way you are marketing them, especially when it comes to messaging, leveraging your customer data and execution.
1. Radiator/Coolant Flush
For travelers, nothing is worse than visions of being pulled over on the side of the road with an overheated engine and a back seat full of cranky kids. Talk about a road trip buzz kill.
Apparently, there are still some people out there who believe it’s okay to use only water in their engine’s coolant system in the summer. Big mistake, as you know.
As you’re planning your summer marketing campaigns, remember that not everyone out there is a mechanic. Many people have no idea why this service needs to be performed, and why they still need antifreeze in summer. Try to include language that helps to educate consumers about the “why” and the “how often,” in addition to the “what.” Emphasize safety and convenience.
2. Air Conditioning Check
A 2017 study by Hankook Tire revealed that more than 50 percent of American travelers prioritize vehicle comfort over fuel efficiency, with one of the major contributors to comfort being temperature. In fact, 61 percent of travelers prefer having their air conditioning on instead of having their windows open.
In other words, nothing ruins a vacation faster than being a hot, sweaty mess. Create a special offer to have your customers’ A/C system inspected and charged. Promote the fact you have a Master Technician with the tools, technology and experience to do it right.
3. Oil Change/Multi-Point Inspection
Just about everyone knows they need an oil change before they head out on a long road trip. It’s what they don’t know they need that worries them. Offer a free multi-point inspection (MPI) with oil change and list everything that entails; including topping off fluids, inspecting belts, checking tire pressure and tread depth, etc.
Best Practices for Best Results
Summer services haven’t changed, but hopefully the way you market them has. To maximize your results, experiment with messaging, create targeted lists and use a multi-channel strategy.
I’ve already mentioned how important it is to educate your customers on why it’s important to get these services done. It’s also critical to include messaging about why you are the better option than independent repair shops. Coupons and discounts may help to get some people in the door, but not everyone is a price shopper. Many people are value shoppers so remember to promote your unique value propositions. Certified technicians, expert advisors, OEM parts, loaner cars, comfortable waiting rooms…if you got it, flaunt it.
One of the best ways to lower your marketing costs and increase response rates is to create targeted lists. There’s no need to do mass email blasts or direct mail to everyone in your database. Use advanced search functions and service op codes to find customers within specific mileage ranges, who have not had these services yet. They say timing is everything for a reason. When your customers receive a coupon at the exact time they need that service performed, they are much more likely to use it.
Of course, not every prediction model is 100 percent accurate. For this reason, you may want to consider adding “wild card” offers to your campaigns. Maximize the impact of each communications with three or four offers, rather than just one.
Finally, leverage the power of multi-channel marketing. Drop a mail piece and follow up in a few days with a phone call to see if they received their special offers in the mail. Send emails directly after that. Invite them to schedule a service.
Make the most out of summer service opportunities with fun, frequent campaigns. A well-maintained vehicle provides peace of mind and comfort for everyone, so the only things your customers will have to worry about on their road trip are finding clean bathrooms and the best places to eat.
Author: Mark Queen
Mark Queen is a Partner at ELEAD1ONE, a leading vendor of automotive software and CRM solutions. Queen is a fixed ops strategist and runs the ELEAD1ONE Service CRM division, helping dealerships establish proven profit-generating strategies. A native North Carolinian, Queen resides with his family in Raleigh.