There’s an old truism in business: “your best customers are the people who have already bought from you.” Hence, one of the smartest things any business can do is “upsell” their existing customers, encouraging them to buy more parts whenever you have their attention.
And one of the best times to get your customer’s attention is when they’re opening a box full of parts that they bought from you.
Why You Should Include Some Freebies in Every Auto Parts Shipment
One of the biggest challenges in advertising is making sure that the right people (potential customers) actually see your messaging. Whether it’s an email newsletter, a magazine print ad, or a national TV campaign, getting the right people to actually notice your advertising is hard. If can advertise to a captive audience – like the people opening a box of parts that they ordered from you – your advertising is far more effective. They’re absolutely the right people, and odds are very good they’ll see whatever you put in the box.
What’s more, the response to marketing materials you place in a customer’s package is usually much better than marketing materials sent after the fact. A flyer or a postcard in a box might be important and deserves a quick review, while an email or postcard that shows up without any sort of prompt is just another piece of mail.
Finally, including a nice free gift in the customer’s package can really “WOW” the customer and give them a strong incentive to like your company and buy from you again.
- Marketing materials you include with orders are more likely to be noticed
- Marketing materials you include with orders are more likely to be acted upon
- Free gifts you include with orders can surprise and endear your customers to you
Box Inclusion Materials – Examples and Best Practices
First, some ground rules:
- Don’t include anything that doesn’t make sense. If your customer ordered a supercharger for a pickup truck and you include a flyer about discounted Prius accessories, that’s a fail. A truck customer interested in maximizing performance isn’t likely to care about a sale on Prius floormats (or vice versa).
- Don’t include too much. There are no hard and fast rules about how many pieces of marketing material you can include, but you don’t want to overdue it. Try and limit yourself to 2 or 3 messages. Anything more and your customers either a) won’t bother to review it or b) won’t remember the message.
- Give the customer some encouragement. You can include a statement on the invoice that says “Be sure to review ALL included materials” to encourage customers to study everything you sent them, and you can also tell them to do this in your order confirmation (or shipping confirmation) email(s).
Next, some examples of materials and swag.
- Flyers, postcards, and brochures are relatively cheap. The trick is to get them professionally designed and to make them relevant. You can either pay someone to modify a quality template (like this one, this one, or this one) or just use those links for inspiration. Also, be sure to give whatever offer you include a unique tracking code (or phone number or URL) so you can measure it’s effectiveness.
- Catalogs are a good idea, but they’re expensive and hard to track. Print catalogs are expensive, they can increase shipping costs, and they’re hard to track. However, if you’re already mailing catalogs out on request, why not include one in the box?
- Consumer survey forms can be a great source of data, only you have to give the customer an incentive to fill them out. Many companies offer some sort of warranty coverage in exchange for a completed survey – they call them “warranty registration cards.”
- Stickers work. It’s kind of hard to believe how popular stickers are in the automotive parts industry, but people love them. You can send customers a branded sticker, a sticker from the company that made whatever part(s) they bought, or a sticker that promotes a lifestyle, and they’ll put these stickers on their vehicle, their toolbox, or up on the wall in the garage. Every time they see the sticker, they’ll think of you.
- Magnets are good too. Magnets stick to metal tool boxes, and metal tool boxes are the norm. A branded magnet with a phone number or URL is surprisingly cheap to have printed too.
- Everyone loves XL t-shirts. If you order them in bulk, a cheap XL t-shirt is a $5 gift that you can include on orders over a certain dollar amount. For an additional fee, you can have the t-shirt compressed into an interesting shape (see below).
- Depending on how generous you want to be, you can send your customers branded flashlights, tools, or even roadside emergency kits. We’ve used 4Imprint for various promo materials and have no problem recommending them (hence the links), but there are LOTS of companies that offer this stuff.
- Pens and notepads are boring, but they’re still around because they work. Odds are good you’ve got a free pen and/or notepad at your desk or at home right now. They’re also very affordable.
Our best suggestion is to get some stickers created and include these in every order along with a flyer of some kind. For your larger purchases, throwing a $5 t-shirt in the box is a great way to say ‘thank you’ and make a friend.
But the big takeaway here is that you ought to be putting something in the box you send to your customers besides the part(s) they ordered and an invoice. It’s a cheap and easy way to give your company a boost with the people who are most likely to buy from you again.