The Right Marketing Mix

April 14, 2016

Acquiring and retaining your best customers 

As the leader of one of the fastest growing small businesses in the country, I am constantly challenged with how company earnings should be reinvested for maximum growth overall.

If you're like me, you spend a good chunk of your business earnings back in the business with the hopes of earning greater profits! Sometimes, the challenge is connecting the dots between how to reinvest business earnings and the impact on business growth. My team and I execute a broad marketing mix to acquire and retain customers. I am convinced there is no magic bullet for marketing, however, there are tried and true methods that have proven to generate sales growth year over year.

There are many marketing avenues for reaching your target audience. I would suggest using a variety of marketing channels to communicate. For example, I have found communicating simultaneously using digital and online channels such as emails, online native banner advertisements, pay-per-click advertising and direct mail marketing produce astounding response rates.

Finding the right marketing mix for your business may take some trial and error but here is a look at a few new and old methods I use.

Direct Mail:

Direct Mail is by far the best method for acquiring new customers. The power of direct mail in growing car count is unparalleled. Direct Mail offers a targeted approach by allowing you to get your message and offer in front of your most profitable, long-term customers. According to the Direct Marketing Association, the read rates on direct mail postcards are 56 percent. To achieve high response rates, you must include a strong call to action and make it visually compelling. It is important to use professional designers to help build your business credibility. The other big benefit of direct mail is the ability to track calls and measure the effectiveness of your campaign. You should only consider a provider that offers a variety of tracking tools to help you measure your campaigns. Direct mail tracking has become very sophisticated providing analytics such as:

  • number of call responses,
  • call conversation analysis for training purposes,
  • new customer acquisition rates,
  • estimated customer lifetime value,
  • market penetration rates and so much more.

HANDY TOOL: Visit to estimate your direct mail return on investment.

Custom Gift Cards:

These types of mailers are great for customer retention. When marketing to your customer database, you can achieve upwards of 900% ROI. Your message should focus on enticing customers to come back. The thick plastic card mailers should include an offer based on buyer needs and purchasing patterns. When mailing gift cards, I usually include a dollar-off incentive which accomplishes two things: serves as a reminder for a product and/or service that may be due and provides an incentive to consider our offer over competitors.

Email Marketing:

Every business needs an offline and online marketing strategy. A well planned and versatile approach allows multiple touchpoints to promote seasonal offers and any special incentives to stay top of mind. 67% of online searches are driven by offline messages, according to the 2015 Direct Marketing Association Factbook. We plan our email marketing around when our direct mail advertising is set to hit mailboxes. Timing of emails and direct mail should be in-sync, as well as the design and messaging of each. To optimize response rates, consumers should be able to recognize the similarity and make the brand connection.

Welcome Gifts:

Everyone appreciates a “Thank You”, but when it is communicated with more than words, the gratitude becomes tangible and real. One of the ways we distinct ourselves as a direct mail provider is sending a basket of gourmet cookies to all first-time customers. This may not be financially feasible for most automotive shops but the concept can be translated to meet your budget. With so much competition, the small things can make a big difference in customers buying decisions. Show your appreciation from the onset with a give-away for your first-time customers. Keeping our customers is priority one and the investment is a great way to encourage loyalty.

Using a combination of marketing tactics has allowed me to grow our company revenue and maintain solid retention rates year over year! To stand apart and sustain sales growth, it is critical to have a plan of action for new customer acquisition and retention. Success derives from managing acquisition and retention as two distinct efforts. Although you manage the two separately, each should be executed with the goal of maximizing impressions and building your market area dominance.

Tim Ross is the President of Mudlick Mail. He has 15+ years of automotive service sales and marketing experience. Tim holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Dayton. He has spent the last eight years building Mudlick Mail into one of the fastest growing small businesses in the USA! Mudlick Mail specializes in automotive service marketing and has partnered with thousands of shops in North America to develop sustainable sales growth. Tim hosts a series of learning webinars for shop owners, covering a range of topics on front counter responsibilities, operations and marketing. Visit for FREE shop owner resources and tools

Sponsored Recommendations

Free Resources for Shops Like Yours

View insights, research and solutions curated specifically for shops like yours.

Restore & Protect: The Powerful Revenue and Profit Accelerator for Your Business

Restore & Protect is a major business opportunity for Valvoline installers with positive impact on profit growth as well as customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Deliver a First-Class Guest Experience

Our dedicated Valvoline Trusted Advisor Sales and Support Team provides hands-on classroom and targeted in-store coaching to help your employees become more skilled at selling...

Promote Growth on Two Fronts: Existing and New Customers

Increase Sales and Customer Traffic To Your Store(s).