Posts Tagged ‘automotive’

Welcome Automotive Sales & Marketing Newsletter Visitors

September 16, 2008

If you are here because of the link in the latest Hill Marketing Automotive Sales & Marketing Newsletter, then please accept our warm welcome and invitation to browse our site. You will find many informative articles on automotive direct mail, auto sales indutry news, marketing and advertising, sales training, and more.

We only publish quality content related to automotive direct mail that is designed to create traffic at your location so that you can increase your auto sales.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us…

Why Some Auto Dealers Survive While Others Go Out of Business

August 20, 2008

We’re halfway through Q3 and we are approaching the final stages of planning Q4. Certain industry factors have left some craters in the wake, but the moon-walking automotive direct marketer feels at home in such conditions. Let me explain.

Soaring fuel prices and economic uncertainty led to a sharp decline in U.S. auto sales in general, but truck and SUV sales in particular suffered the most. At this point there’s no need to recap this summer’s auto sales woes, but add in the stricter lending guidelines and loss of lease business, and we can say with assurance that the “car business” is hurting right now.

But from our perspective, our interaction with U.S. auto dealerships and what is being reported in the national media do not necessarily match up. For example, earlier this month a Hyundai dealer in Tennessee did a 5,000 piece targeted direct mailer, and from the first half (2,500) they got 36 responses (1.44%), which isn’t bad. It’s above industry average, and it yielded double digit sales. But there’s nothing too special about that (our direct mail has been called the best in the business, and over 90% of our programs have performed in this manner for over three straight years!).

The amazing thing is that with a tweak in the data for the remaining 2,500 pieces, the dealer got 175 responses (6.99%) and is still selling units to this day from the mailer we sent out! In the end, the dealer will probably end up with 30 or 40 retail deliveries. This is in addition to the traffic produced by other advertising mediums and daily walk-ins. This dealer will gross over $100k from a dinky little 5,000 piece Hill Marketing mailer; just one of the reasons our clients love us so much!

On the other end of the spectrum is a Dodge dealer in NC. Only the man that has been hiding under a rock in a dark cave isn’t aware of the ultra-suffering and hemorrhaging that Dodge dealers have had to endure this summer. But as a Hill Marketing client, this Dodge dealer has had a steady flow of quality traffic from our mailers. We got a call at the beginning of the month and the dealer “TRIPLED” their normal amount of direct mail (they run with us every month).

Now, why would a Dodge dealer triple their amount of direct mail? Our answer: because our mailers out-perform anything else on the market! This Dodge dealer is enjoying over 3% response rates and is not firing salespeople, rather, hiring more! Try to tell this Dodge dealer that the market is soft and he’ll laugh at you. His salespeople and F & I team will average over $10k on this month’s paycheck – because they’re selling units with good grosses.

Another example would be a GM dealer in Louisiana that runs our mailer religiously. In the midst of all the trepidation they are laughing all the way to the bank enjoying a 3.74% response rate from Hill Marketing direct mail.

Then there’s a Texas dealer that can’t stop putting in orders for our direct mail. He’s a Chevy store, and he uses us multiple times per month (anywhere between 10,000 and 30,000 pieces). For over a year we have been providing direct mail for this dealer, and in his eyes, we’re his hero.

So it is with a major San Antonio dealer (tough market). We’re the ace in the hole for them because we’re the only direct mail provider that can get 5.34% response rates! To a bunch of savvy car people, leads are of essential importance. That is why the GM down there picks up the phone and calls Hill Marketing and orders direct mail from us – every month.

Anyone can say anything online. That’s just the way it is. So if you’re a dealer reading this and are considering doing direct mail but think I’m lying, do like they did at one point and call me and ask for references. The above referenced real life cases have been informed of this article and are willing to take reference inquiries. Nothing beats a real life testimonial from a peer, and now is your chance to check things out. Q4 will be here soon, and there’s still time to book Q3 events.

It’s either that or you’ll just keep reading about other’s success!



John Greenleaf

Marketing Director

Hill Marketing Group

(866) 572-4861 ext. 4127

Meeting the Challenge of Automotive Direct Mail and Online Marketing

June 11, 2008

Rock and Hard PlaceAuto Dealers are truly between a rock and a hard place (see image of auto dealer to the left). On the one hand, they know that good direct mail works, and on the other hand they know that some good online marketing works too. This forces some dealers into having to make a decision because since neither is free, and since most dealers don’t have an unlimited advertising budget, most stores will be able to only utilize one or the other. But if the decision needs to be made, which should they pick?

First, let’s take a quick look at some of the features of each that make them successful. Then we will consider a proposed solution of integrating the two and synthesizing the successful features of both direct mail and online marketing.

Automotive Direct Mail: There isn’t a conceivable scenario in which direct mail can become obsolete all together for the automotive industry. Think about this, if everyone decided to stop doing it, it would create an open market with no competition and before you know it everyone would be mailing again. Unless some kind of law or restriction on who can mail what is legislated, direct mail isn’t going anywhere and will still remain one of the more preferable means of automotive advertising.

Successful Features of Direct Mail: 

  • Delivery is straight to prospect in the home
  • Tangible means that can not only be seen, but felt, handled, etc.
  • Direct Mail is received and reviewed at a specific time of day allocated for such things as opening and reading mail
  • Variable printing makes offer personalized
  • Control of geographic distribution
  • Results are immediate compared to other means

Online Marketing: This can be a broad descriptive category, but for our purposes here we will limit the term to include email blasts, third-party leads, SEO, microsites, and spots. This medium has potentially unlimited possibilities and is limited only by the imagination of the developers. It is obviously inevitable that the day will soon come when a nationwide de-sensitization of internet users will lead to the ignoring of such ads that say, “Click Here For A Free Vehicle Delivered To Your Home!” With so many unlimited opportunities for marketers online, internet users are quickly becoming aware of scams, tricks, and “specials” that are perceived as over-promising and under-delivering. The skill for online marketers will be in separating dealer ads from the rest of the online ads that users will become conditioned to viewing as literally invisible.

Successful Features of Online Marketing: 

  • Large audience is online
  • Internet is used for research
  • Prospects prefer internet to respond online vs. calling toll-free
  • User controls the pace online
  • Internet is interactive

These highlighted features of the two mediums of direct mail and online marketing provide a framework for us to explore the consideration of a synthesis of the two. This consideration is what led to the development of Hill Marketing’s progressive line of automotive marketing tools. We have masterfully produced colorful customized mail pieces that maximize personalization while providing customer response options both by toll-free numbers as well as online.

The toll-free number doesn’t need explanation at this point, so I want to take a look at the call-to-action response online option. In addition to top-performing direct mail design, prospects are provided with a website to visit that contains their name in the url. This is bound to get their attention and worst case, due to sheer curiosity, provoke them to visit the site online. This transition from direct mail to online is prompted by the prospect’s own personal name in the url on the mailer. Example, if the prospect’s name is John Greenleaf, his mailer will have a url in big letters that says: Hey John, be sure to visit to get your personalized message from ABC motors.

When the prospect logs on to his personalized url, he will find a customized landing page that is designed to look like the direct mail design. This maintains the theme of the campaign and immediately strikes familiarity on the subconscious level of the prospect’s mind. The customizable, personal landing page will have a personal message in the prospect’s name and will correspond with any other pertinent information.

The landing page will feature an interactive section where the prospect will be able to fill out a form with survey and comment box. This landing page, due to the specific route the prospect used to get there, can employ many of the great tricks of the internet such as, “As soon as you complete the form below, you will be eligible to win one of the following prizes!”

The prizes will be the same prizes that are used in standard direct mail, the biggest difference is that instead of having to visit the dealership to become eligible to win, all the prospect has to do is visit his personal website from the convenience of his leisure. This will substantially increase response rates and allow dealers to capture valuable information that direct mail could never do.

For instance, the survey on the landing page can determine whether the prospect owns or leases, whether they will be in the market in the next 30 days, 4-6 months, over 1 year, or over 2 years, whether they prefer new or used, etc., as well as whatever comments the prospect wishes to submit. Over time, the data captured here can become the dealers most valuable list, and the web traffic to this page can far exceed the dealer’s own website, virtual showroom, online inventory, etc.

We will also offer a customizable “Thank You” page upon exiting that can offer a link to dealer website along with any message desired. We will also provide dealers with a stat page that tracks all the action (traffic activity) that the mailer generates. This comprehensive statistics page is a great tool for managers to follow-up with on leads given to the sales staff.

Now, I have leaked just about enough information to scratch the surface of the intelligent person’s curiosity. If you don’t get it, yet, you will soon – but probably in the mail from a rival competitor. What we have accomplished is the perfect balance between direct mail and online marketing without raising the investment one would have to make for a very inexpensive direct mailer. For samples and more information, or to quickly set something up at your store, click here and we’ll send you our media kit.


November 8, 2007


Do you want NEED to sell some lots of units next year NOW?

At pennies-per-piece, small to medium size dealers can afford to drop 50k to 100k of these high-impact postcards that do absolutely NOTHING except drive customers to your store that are starving for a car deal.  All you got to do is make ’em one!

Call today and put cash into your salespersons wallet.  Keep the staff pumped up and motivated this winter.  Put the pressure on your F&I department to hang that paper.  Stock up on Sharpie’s for your desk-men.  Clear out the bullpen and make room for all them trades! 

This kind of marketing is the lubrication that keeps the machinery of a dealership moving.  Without it, parts start to rub against eachother, creating heat and friction.  Ultimately, if you don’t squirt a little oil in there now and then, viscosity and thermal breakdown becomes inevitable causing the parts to damage eachother and sieze.

Take care of your machine and call Hill Marketing Group TODAY!

866-572-4861 – mention the “Sheriff Postcard” when you call.  Click pic for sample.

Auto Dealers: Strong Finish to 2007

November 5, 2007


This blog post is intended for automotive retail dealers only. 

I am excited to announce that our end-of-the-year mailer is just about ready for release.  This piece that I’m talking about will work in any market because of the fresh and unique approach and design.  This year’s piece does not use credit data, which will allow many more dealers to participate.  We have joined forces with one of the top-rated cutting edge design firms in the world, and as a result, your next mailer will be received with the highest honors, resulting in many great grossing deliveries!


We will not be including samples on our blog anymore.  Too many copycats are visiting our blog and ripping us off.  We are beginning to see our ideas on our competitor’s websites.  Although we are flattered that we have such an influence on our competition, we are not in the business of providing creativity for our competitors. 


Dealers Only!  To receive samples, click on the “Buy Our Stuff” tab above our logo and request samples.  What you will receive is a sneak-preview of how we are going to shake things up in 2008, and become your first choice when it comes to direct-response marketing.  Dealers that are added to our core-group in November will gain a ridiculous competitive advantage in their markets because we will be shooting over pre-release samples by email about two months before the rest of the world sees it.


Being seen first in your own market is the key to the mystery of direct mail.  So, join our core group today by requesting samples by email and you will be added to the private email list that will receive pre-release samples two months ahead of time, plenty of time for you to view it, and respond back with a yes or a no.


There are over 20,000 dealerships in the U.S. and we only have about 1100 or so in our core group.  That means that there are thousands of dealers that do not receive our updates.  Join today by following the instructions here.  There is no cost or commitment to join.  Even if you never decide to run with us, at least you’ll know what’s going on out there.

John Greenleaf

Dealer Support Manager

Hill Marketing Group


October 22, 2007


Zip codes are filling up fast!  We just had to turn away our first dealer today.  Based on last week’s surge in orders, it doesn’t look like this will be the last time. 

Here’s what happened:  An import store in a metropolitan market found our website through a Google search and filled out our order form.  Here’s what we received:





Message:  Hi, this is BLOCKED FOR PRIVACY from BLOCKED FOR PRIVACY in BLOCKED FOR PRIVACY.  I need pricing for 30,000 Turkey Blitz 2007 mail campaign.  Email me BLOCKED FOR PRIVACY.  I need 300 free turkey certificates.  Make sure price includes everything.


My response:  BLOCKED FOR PRIVACY, this is John Greenleaf, Dealer Support Manager at Hill Marketing Group.  Thank you for your request this morning for 30,000 Thanksgiving Turkey Blitz mailers.  I regret to inform you that on Friday, 10/19/07, another dealer within 5 miles of your location ordered 27,688 Turkey Blitz 2007 mailers.  The 27,688 is everything within a 10 mile radius for their store and exhausts our Title List data in your area.  Please try again next year.


John Greenleaf

Dealer Support Manager

Hill Marketing Group

Toll Free (866) 572-4861 ext. 4127

Email: jgreenleaf@hill marketing dot com


Don’t wait until the last minute just to find out that your market is taken by your competitor.  Fill out this form today to reserve your market.  There are only a few days left to place your order.

Thanksgiving 2007 EPK is Here. Get Your’s Today!

October 8, 2007

To receive your Direct Mail EPK (electronic press kit) for Thanksgiving, 2007, send an email to: info at (@) hill marketing dot com or contact us from the “Buy Our Stuff” tab at the top of this page.  Your EPK should arrive by email the same day.

Only five weeks left to order Thanksgiving 2007 direct mail.  All orders must be finalized by 11/09/07 @ 1PM PST.  You know how time flies, so don’t procrastinate!  Request your Thanksgiving, 2007, EPK from Hill Marketing Group today!

Just some of the Thanksgiving 2007 Direct Mail EPK features:

  • Brand new fresh pieces
  • Email address capture campaign/contest for your in-house email marketing
  • Custom theme oriented pieces designed to drive huge traffic
  • New and Pre-Owned fresh designs
  • Variable data included (except for postcards)
  • MasterCard Mailers by US Capital, Inc.
  • Card Mailers from Granite Bay Acceptance
  • $15,000.00 Swipe n’ Win insured contests
  • Free turkey giveaways
  • Available campaign thru New Year’s Day end of the year blitz

This year’s partners, US Capital, Inc., Granite Bay Acceptance Corporation, and Western Sierra Acceptance Corporation, require that participating automotive dealers are licensed franchise dealers only.  Used Car points that are not affiliated with a franchised dealer may not receive Thanksgiving 2007 EPK’s due to the lender involvement.  Above referenced lenders will only buy deals from licensed franchised dealers.  If you are a UC single-point standalone store, then contact us from the “Buy Our Stuff” tab at the top of this page and specify UC single-point in the comments section of the contact form.

TurnKey/Plug-n-Play Promotions

September 13, 2007

[rockyou id=83917192&w=426&h=320]

US Capital MasterCard Mailer, Granite Bay Acceptance, Hill Marketing Group.

MasterCard Mailer Sample

August 30, 2007

This is what your customer sees when they open the envelope.  Notice the US Capital MasterCard that is affixed to the top right corner.  This is a 30mm PVC Embossed card, which simply means that it is the same size, weight and thickness as a standard ATM or Bank Card.  To see a physical sample of the US Capital card, reach into your back pocket, pull out your ATM card or any standard credit card, then hold it up against your computer monitor.  Voilà!  There’s your sample 😉  (Imagine the US Capital logo)

Click Here To View The Sample of the US Capital MasterCard Mailer by Hill Marketing Group.

MasterCard Mailer: Snap-Pack

August 20, 2007

Here’s a quick description of our MasterCard Mailer by US Capital

This program is our top performer, hands down, bottom line.  We know why this works so well.  It’s because the US Capital MasterCard that is affixed to each mailer makes the package irresistible to open.  The higher the number of opened direct mailers, the higher the number of delivered units will be.  There’s no arguing that point. 

Below is a sample of one of the attractive packaging options that the offer comes in.  Ask yourself: would you open it?  I would.  And so will just about everyone that we send one to.   Add the snap-pack envelope by US Capital to your next Hill Marketing Group event.




Click here to see what the packaging looks like

US Capital MasterCard enclosed in the snap-pack.