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Simplicity Sells

Have you ever noticed how some automotive dealerships try to jam as much promotional information into one piece of content as possible? While you may have multiple promotions happening at once that you want customers to take advantage of, when it comes to marketing, simplicity sells.

Marketing messages should be clear and concise with a simple call to action. Your print collateral and digital images must also follow the same principles. When you’ve got a marketing message to deliver, incorporate these practices into your efforts to get the best results.

State your objective:

What is the purpose of your campaign? Do you want your audience to sign up for a contest, book and appointment, cash in a coupon or trade in a vehicle? Each objective should be a promotional piece on its own.

Maybe you think you are saving money by putting three objectives on one post card or email, but all you are really doing is wasting your time and money. Busy designs and wordy ad copy get no attention because they are confusing. The same rules apply for email campaigns. It’s much better to send out three separate campaigns instead of one complicated email.

Solve a problem:

Most of the advertising we see in the automotive industry is about how the customer can help the dealership. “Buy a car from us!” Ask yourself the following questions. What’s the difference between you and your same brand competitors? Why are you better? What problem are you solving for your customers? If you plainly state this on your website and in your marketing pieces, you will drive people into your dealership exclusively. On a piece of print collateral, it could be a simple statement like, “Don’t overpay for your new vehicle,” or “We make buying a car easy for you”.

Include a call to action:

Don’t assume your audience knows what you want them to do. Yes, they could probably figure it out, but chances are they won’t bother trying. The path of least resistance to bringing customers to your door is to show them the way. If you want them to check out your sale, then tell them to. If you want them to book an appointment or click a button, then spell it out for them. The more direct you are, the better.

Include a timeline:

Nobody likes to lose their chance to get a good deal. Make sure you remember to set a start and end date to every promotion and let your customers know when the offer ends. When crafting email or social campaigns, consider sending out two messages per campaign. One to let them know about your sale and another reminding them to come in before the sale ends. You could also do this with print collateral, particularly direct mail pieces.

Design Principles:

Clean designs with simple, direct messages get better results than cluttered images. Avoid placing multiple pictures and starbursts all over the place.

The easiest fonts to read are sans serif. In other words, no fancy fonts with curly feet.

See the examples below:

Bad font choices can really add confusion to a message.

We blacked out identifying information on the graphic image below to protect the guilty. We see this kind of design all the time in the automotive industry, but less is definitely more.

Just because everybody in the automotive industry advertises like this, doesn't mean it is best done this way. The success of your print campaigns can be hard to measure, but if you think about what you do when you receive similar ad material, you pretty much know that most print is wasteful.

But let us clarify that for you. Print done the way most people do it is wasteful. This particular piece likely hit a lot of garbage cans. A cleaner design and a more targeted approach would have produced a lot more sales.

The question then, is what does an effective piece of ad material look like?

For starters, it should be trackable. That can be done with a QR code or an offer that is only valid if brought back to your dealership. And of course, the design should be appealing. Use color wisely. Too many colors, or colors that don't match will turn off your customers. If it's a direct mail piece, then the finish on the paper will make it a more memorable piece. Consider using some soft touch lamination, raised spot UV or foil finishes.

The postcards below are some great examples of work we did for a client. Notice the elegant use of color, the simplicity of the font and the simplicity and quality of the images.

RMN Marketing is an agency filled with talented and knowledgeable professionals. Your marketing initiatives are important and should be optimized for results. Before you decide what you want, consider the value of consulting with our team. We're here to help you get the most out of your marketing efforts.

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