That is a great question and we get this all the time. The reason why we mail to the same areas consistently is that a good portion of the short term and long term success of direct mail is repetition. If we mail out to 5,000 households and 50 people come in, that means 4,950 people did not choose to come or need to come in. The next time you mail, you get a different set of 50 people to come in, so now you have increased your market share by 100, but there are still 4,900 households that have not chosen to use you. Each time you mail you create an impression on your customer base that starts to build credibility because they see you so consistently. It gets to the point where the customer all the sudden needs auto repair, you have been the only auto repair shop in front of the customer sitting on the kitchen table for months, so you earn the business. They will remember you and choose you because you have created market awareness. I always ask people, do you remember what was in your mailbox yesterday… last week… last month? People will forget quickly and they are being pursued by your competitors as well, so you need to stay top of mind to dominate the market.
The goal is to get the new customers through the door quickly to get the low spend first visit behind you, then we maintain a relationship with them and stay on their mind by sending them monthly low cost postcards, so when they come back for the declined service from the first visit or when they need more expensive repairs a few months later, you get the business. The average customer will spend at least $800 per month on auto repair somewhere, so when we target higher income customers with a compelling and professional looking direct mail piece, we ensure we get the business and not our competitors. It is ok to tweak a carrier route here and there for any obvious changes, but a majority of the success in direct mail is based on repetitive mailings, saying “yes” to customers when they call, and providing good service when they come into the shop. I use the example of a chain-link fence: each time you mail a household, you are creating a link on the fence that over time will cover the yard.Consistent direct mail “fences” in the customer (no pun intended) for the long-term. If you change routes monthly, you lose all the momentum you get from building your relationship with the customer because the ones who do not come in off the first mailing in general will not remember you 30 days later, unless we send out another postcard. The results from rotating mailings are really poor, so we try to avoid them or at least set the expectation. This is because consistent mailing is like compound interest at the bank; it gets better each month.