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Posted by: Roberta AT 11:42 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, June 11 2008
Please read and reflect. Perspective can be very difficult to keep especially when so many have none. 

Jay Leno's stirring questions and comments about living in America. 
No matter what your political convictions are this is eye opener.

What a thankless people we are!!!

Jay Leno wrote this; it's the Jay Leno we don't often see. ...

As most of you know I am not a President Bush fan, nor have I ever been, but this is not about Bush, it is about us, as Americans, and it seems to hit the mark.

'The other day I was reading Newsweek magazine and came across some Poll data I found rather hard to believe. It must be true given the source, right?< BR>

The Newsweek poll alleges that 67 percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction the country is headed and 69 percent of the country is unhappy with the performance of the President. In essence 2/3 of the citizenry just ain't happy and want a change. So being the knuckle dragger I am, I started thinking, 'What are we so unhappy about?''
A. Is it that we have electricity and running water 24 hours a day, 7 Days a week?

B. Is our unhappiness the result of having air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter?

C. Could it be that 95.4 percent of these unhappy folks have a job?

D. Maybe it is the ability to walk into a grocery store at any time and see more food in moments than Darfur has seen in the last year?

E. Maybe it is the ability to drive our cars and trucks from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean without having to present identification papers as we move through each state?

F. Or possibly the hundreds of clean and safe motels we would find along the way that can provide temporary shelter?

G. I guess having thousands of restaurants with varying cuisine from around the world is just not good enough either.

H. Or could it be that when we wreck our car, emergency workers show up and provide services to help all and even send a helicopter to take you to the hospital.

I. Perhaps you are one of the 70 percent of Americans who own a home.

J. You may be upset with knowing that in the unfortunate case of a fire, a group of trained firefighters will appear in moments and use top notch equipment to extinguish the flames, thus saving you, your family, and your belongings.

K. Or if, while at home watching one of your many flat screen TVs, a burglar or prowler intrudes, an officer equipped with a gun and a bullet-proof vest will come to defend you and your family against attack or loss.

L. This all in the backdrop of a neighborhood free of bombs or militias raping and pillaging the residents. Neighborhoods where 90% of teenagers own cell phones and computers.

M. How about the complete religious, social and political freedoms we enjoy that are the envy of everyone in the world?

Maybe that is what has 67% of you folks unhappy.

Fact is, we are the largest group of ungrateful, spoiled brats the world has ever seen. No wonder the world loves the U. S. , yet has a great disdain for its citizens. They see us for what we are. The most blessed people in the world who do nothing but complain about what we don't have, and what we hate about the country instead of thanking the good Lord we live here.

I know, I know. What about the president who took us into war and has no plan to get us out? The president who has a measly 31 percent approval rating? Is this the same president who guided the nation in the dark days after 9/11? The president that cut taxes to bring an economy out of recession? Could this be the same guy who has been called every name in the book for succeeding in keeping all the spoiled ungrateful brats safe from terrorist attacks? The commander in chief of an all-volunteer army that is out there defending you and me?

Did you hear how bad the President is on the news or talk show? Did this news affect you so much, make you so unhappy you couldn't take a look around for yourself and see all the good things and be glad? Think about it...... are you upset at the President because he actually caused you personal pain OR is it because the 'Media' told you he was failing to kiss your sorry ungrateful behind every day. Make no mistake about it.

The troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have volunteered to serve, and in many cases may have died for your freedom. There is currently no draft in this country. They didn't have to go. They are able to refuse to go and end up with either a ''general'' discharge, an 'other than honorable'' discharge or, worst case scenario, a ''dishonorable'' discharge after a few days in the brig.

So why then the flat-out discontentment in the minds of 69 percent of Americans?
Say what you want but I blame it on the media. If it bleeds it leads and they specialize in bad news. Everybody will watch a car crash with blood and guts. How many will watch kids selling lemonade at the corner? The media knows this and media outlets are for-profit corporat ions. They offer what sells, and when criticized, try to defend their actions by 'justifying' them in one way or another. Just ask why they tried to allow a murderer like O. J. Simpson to write a book about how he didn't kill his wife, but if he did he would have done it this way...... Insane!

Turn off the TV, burn Newsweek, and use the New York Time s for the botto m of your bird cage. Then start being grateful for all we have as country. There is exponentially more good than bad. We are among the most blessed people on Earth and should thank God several times a day, or at least be thankful and appreciative.' 'With hurricanes, tornados, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks, 'Are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?'

Jay Leno
Posted by: Roberta on behalf of Jay Leno AT 11:41 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, June 05 2008
Our Blog
Wednesday, June 11 2008

For those of you I did not have the pleasure of meeting, at the recent GMMDA Convention  I wanted to bring you up to speed on a "No Fail" Mail program.  To my knowledge, no other mail company offers this "Complete Mail Solution". From Mail leads, phone leads and even "email' leads, this program offers much more than you are accustom to.


For those of you who visited the Auto Technologies Inc booth,  you know exactly what I???m talking about .

First let me tell you what the Complete "No Fail" Solution is... 


Auto Technologies creates a great mail piece. Nothing spectacular about that. All mail houses have some great graphics people. It???s the rest of the campaign that makes it different. Bear with me, while I explain.

 On that mail piece itself there are several ways to capture the car ??" shopper???s attention... Let me explain... some of you may have seen similar programs but please stay with me, because I promise you, this is different.   Remember... I told you it was "No Fail".


Like some competing mail companies, the piece will have an activation code. Wait.... this is different. You are not simply provided with your "Postal Mail Pieces", better known as ???Snail Mail???, you are additionally provided with  approximately 100,000 "Email Pieces" and SEVERAL ways to capture the contact information of your recipients. 

How it works:

1st  the customer may choose to go online and activate the code, thereby generating a "lead" to your dealership with the shoppers "contact information".


2nd the customer may choose to call the dealership, to activate his/her code... wait....Auto Technologies also provides a national toll free number and or  local #'s, so even IF, the call does not get answered... the callers "ID" is captured in the system! You never miss a call!!!


3rd the recipient may bring their code to the dealership for activation. Wait...,  There's so much more!


Now, as you may recall I indicated there are 100,000 Email Pieces sent out also.  Those email pieces correlate with the Mail Piece offering the same incentive, or can lead to a Credit Application! You can???t lose! You get email leads, ups, calls, and applications!!!


The program offers an incentive of your choice. A "Highly Perceived Value Premium??? works best. For instance $1000 online Shopping Sprees or Mini Vacations, etc...."Pre - Loaded" Visa or Wal-Mart Cards, etc....


In order to receive the Incentive, the customers have to activate their code.


All incoming calls from Email and Postal mail are captured in the tracking system and it comes with a  "Follow Up" mailer! That's right.  Remember I told you if they call the number the customer???s info is captured? That info is exported  into labels and the customer is sent  a follow up letter !


On top of all of this, you are provided with a 40 inch "REUSABLE "fabric sign for your window. It's made from the new innovative Fabric Media you've been hearing so much about. It sticks to any surface and leaves no residual! You can use it over and over.




Posted by: Roberta Long AT 02:28 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, June 11 2008

An interview with email newsletter pro Michael Katz

by Amy Black, Constant Contact Editor, Hints & Tips e-Newsletters

At Constant Contact, e-newsletter expert Michael Katz is something of a legend. I may be overstating it a bit, but it's true that several of our executives mention Michael's newsletter often as an excellent example of compelling content.

Michael also uses his newsletter skills on behalf of the clients of his business, Blue Penguin Development. In our interview, he shares some of the same pearls of wisdom with us that he does with his clients.

Why are you so passionate about email newsletters?

I stumbled onto the power of e-newsletters by accident. In 2000, I was writing a newsletter that went to about 30 people. After a little while, I noticed that people I'd never heard of were asking to be added to the list. I also started getting requests from readers to help them develop a newsletter for their own client base. Eventually I switched to doing email newsletters exclusively.

What I love about e-newsletters is how well this one tool covers so much marketing ground. A newsletter keeps you in front of clients, prospects, and colleagues; gives you a platform for sharing your focus and perspective; and helps you clarify your point of view. On top of that, it's easily forwarded, easily archived, interactive, and has almost zero variable cost. For a small company, a newsletter all by itself can serve as a powerful marketing program.

What do email newsletters have the potential to accomplish?

They can help you break through the clutter so your company stands out in a memorable way. A newsletter is a way for those who read it to check you out and get a feel for you and your company. In this way, the newsletter is a proxy for an ongoing relationship. It's word of mouth on a large scale.

What are the top three things to keep in mind when creating an e-newsletter?

Number one: Content is what matters most. It's no longer a technical challenge to publish a newsletter. The challenge is getting someone to stop what they're doing and read what you have to say. Sending content that the reader values is the only way to gain permission to stay in the inbox.

Number two: You have to stay focused. It's tempting to cover lots of topics and involve lots of voices within the company. That's a mistake. If you want to stand out as the publisher of essential information, you need to write to a specific target with a narrow topic focus.

And number three: Think of publishing a newsletter like exercising. It only works if you keep doing it. The good news is if you can make it a part of your life, after a while it gets both easier and more effective. So commit to a monthly schedule and a year of publishing.

What are some common mistakes people make in their newsletters?

The most common mistake is writing too much about themselves, what I like to call a "Me-Newsletter." All about what we're doing and who we're working with and why we're so wonderful. It may be true, but your readers don't really care. I recommend companies think of their newsletter as a magazine: It's about something in particular and it's written for a specific target.

The other common mistake is taking all the personality out of the writing in an attempt to sound "professional." I'm not against being professional, but it tends to be dry and boring. Drop the jargon, write in the first person, and talk about the things you really believe in.

What types of information do you advise your clients to include in their newsletters?

Useful information that your target audience values. What do you know that I need? If you are a service organization, develop a reputation first as someone with a useful and interesting perspective and when there's a need you can fill, the phone will ring.

If you are a retailer, help me become a better consumer of what you sell. Give me your insider's perspective in an interesting, informative way. Don't worry about selling me on buying your stuff; teach me. The funny thing is, I'll buy more of your stuff when you do that.

Coming up with content can be a challenge. What do you do to make it easier?

Use your own experiences. If you know enough to run a business in a given industry, you have a lifetime of content. Those who buy your products and services will always be novices, so use that gap between your expertise and my interest in learning more.

Are there any secrets you can share with our readers to help them find greater success with their email newsletters?

The bottom line is that this tool only works to the extent the recipients want what you have to say. If you can develop a reputation as a source of useful, interesting, unbiased information within your area of expertise, you'll expand readership and your customer base too.

Posted by: Jenny AT 12:09 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Special Finance Insider Insights
June 11, 2008
In This Issue
Bankruptcies Big in First 5 Months of '08
The Westlake Waterfall
Comparing Average Gross Profits
Ensuring Quicker Funding
Bankruptcies Big in First 5 Months of '08
The first quarter of 2008 was a busy one in all bankruptcy court districts. According the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI), "The total number of U.S. bankruptcies filed during the first three months of 2008 ... Continue Reading
The Westlake Waterfall 
Like many finance companies, Westlake has a full spectrum of products available. To read in-depth information on their programs,  click here.


Comparing Average Gross Profits
How do your average SF total-deal gross profits in May 2008 compare to your average SF total-deal gross profits in February 2008.
  • Up $250 or more per deal
  • Up slightly                
  • About the same
  • Down slightly
  • Down significantly
  • Down horrifically

Click here to submit your answer

Ensuring Quicker Funding
Log into to view this Best Idea
To ensure quicker funding is to maintain a deal checklist system. No, this isn't the funding checklist most every lender has. We have actually put it into place with every retail deal we contract - including conventional.

There are two checklists. One for the salesperson, and one for the finance office.  Continue Reading
Greg Goebel
Special Finance Insider

How to Write a Killer Car Ad: The Classic AIDA Style Never Goes Out of Style

The more things change in business, the more they stay the same. The things that worked in advertising 50 years ago continue to work today. Yes, times and technology have changed, but people haven't?at least, not the way we react to effective advertising. An effective ad for a car dealer will have even more impact since there are so few ads out there that are well done. In the sea of auto advertising, a well-done ad will stand out and get noticed.

When writing any type of advertising, there are two critical points you must never forget:

1. Most people don't make a buying decision based on logic. They buy based on their emotions.

2.  People don't want to feel like they're being coerced or pushed into anything. They want to feel like they arrived at a buying decision completely of their own free will. They need the freedom of choice.

Now go back and read point number two again. There's a very fine line between the customer's choice and persuasion. However, if you are going to have success in special finance, you must learn the distinction and master the art of vehicle selection and re-selection. You must realize this distinction in your advertising and understand that the attention-getter in a car ad is how a certain car will change a person's image. A vehicle says a lot about someone's personality. Even though people need reliable transportation, they want image. Looking good and feeling good are important emotional influences to consider when writing effective sales material in the car business.


Writing an effective car advertisement is really quite simple. In fact, you can learn all of the basics in this article. If you consistently apply these basic fundamentals, you will see your traffic rise and your phone ring more often. 

You must write every single ad using the classic AIDA formula:


Let's break down each letter to provide a better understanding of the formula:

A = Attention
The very first thing your ad must do is grab your prospects attention. The very best way to do that is with an effective headline that answers this question: "What's in it for me?" That's all your prospects really care about.

What makes the title of this article an effective headline? Two things: First of all, I answered the "What's in it for me?" question. Secondly, the headline made you read this article. That is the whole point! You want your prospects to read your ads. For example, if you offer guaranteed financing at your store a good headline would be:  "$100 Credit Guarantee." 

I = Interest
After you get your prospects' attention, you want to get them interested in your dealership, your vehicles and your sales program. You do that by immediately telling them what your headline promises. Get to the point! Tell them what they want to know, starting with the very first word, and continue to tell them throughout the ad. If you keep them interested, they'll keep reading and start building a desire to learn more about you. Continuing with our example, the information/interest section would be something like:

"We guarantee financing that will help you re-establish the strong credit you deserve. In order to qualify, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Two Weeks on the Job
  • Take Home at Least $200 per Week
  • Qualifying Proof of Residence
  • Valid Driver's License"

Be careful to stay away from the perception of a gimmick. These simple parameters let the prospects qualify themselves, which brings credibility to your offer. If you claim that everyone qualifies for a loan regardless of their credit, it will come across as a gimmick and won't be believable. Too many car dealers over-promise and under-deliver, especially when it comes to special financing.

D = Desire
You have to make your prospects desire more information about your dealership and want your vehicles. The way to do that is with benefits! Now that doesn't mean you need to list options like PW, PL, Tilt, Cruise, etc. These mean nothing and do not build desire.. Instead, use powerful imagery to describe the vehicles. Describe the color with words like "Cobalt Blue Clearcoat Finish" instead of "Dark Blue." Describe the image of the driver instead of the options: "Perfect for today's busy family," for a mini-van, or "Slide into the cockpit of this incredible machine, built for performance," for a sports car. 

The primary concern of customers who buy pre-owned vehicles is the fear of getting a bad deal. Realize this and do everything you can to build value in your image and reputation to alleviate this fear and increase desire. Remember to keep telling them what your headline promised and push their emotional hot buttons. Let them imagine what they stand to lose if they don't purchase. Use emotional impact words or power words:  new, save, amazing, free, guaranteed, security, no-risk, look younger, feel better, absolutely, just in, enormous, etc!.

A = Action
You want to close your ad with a call to action! All effective ads need to do so. In other words, ask them to do something: "Call today. Visit our Web site. Apply now for your instant approval. Don't waste another minute! Call our Finance Specialist NOW!"

Follow this formula faithfully and it will not let you down.

The fuel that ignites an effective ad is the message contained in it. This message must get through to your prospects one at a time. These people react to your message once they connect with you and feel compelled to act. So, the real key to your success is connecting with your prospects one-to-one. Take a look at your own buying behavior and you will realize that you buy from people who you connect with, people you trust. You feel good when you buy a product that you could have purchased from hundreds of different individuals, but instead you chose to buy from someone you have gotten to know a little bit.

An effective ad captures a prospect's attention among the competition and creates a desire for your product that leads that prospect to act and become your new customer. Advertising is an absolute necessity in business. However, don't expect it to do the job of your sales force. Effective advertising will bring prospects to you, but you need trained people to sell and serve these ready-to-buy customers.

One last thought on writing ads is that many of the people who sell advertising know very little about effective advertising. They will offer to create your ads for free, which is usually not a great deal. These are sales reps who make money by selling, not writing. Occasionally, you may find a fantastic writer who also sells ads, but it's not very likely. My advice is to follow these simple guidelines yourself and get your staff involved in the process. Let the creativity flow and dare to be different.

Vol 5, Issue 4

Posted by: Roberta AT 05:05 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email


Email Marketing Done Right - We've been lied to - It's not all about the "Open",...initially

Toyota & GMC; Preferred Vendor- Marketing & Eccomerce

What emails yield the highest open rates, and which are relevant to your campaigns success? 
Let's begin by addressing the "Open".
It's not enough to get the email solicitation (for lack of a better word... perhaps informational piece? Nah.. we all know it's a solicitation... 

Any email deployment company can promise high open rates, but if they aren't opening the message for the right reason it will yield limited results. We have tested this time and again. 

Example Market Test: 

We deploy an email campaign with the subject line: "What do you think of Candi's new Bikini?", and yield an impressive 15% track-able open rate. Not bad ... if that's my only goal... We'll call that subject line "A". 

We launch another email to the same business prospect list, this time with the subject line "B"; "Dealers add profit with Security System Installs". "B" yields a mere 2.5% open rate... but wait...

Now you may think the first subject line is the way to go, however let me share further results...

Test Subject line "A" received 5 click-throughs to the landing page with further details and order options.

Test Subject line "B" received 200 click-throughs to the landing page with further details and order options 

The question is.. what are we trying to sell? Security Systems? or "Pictures of girls in Bikinis"...
Which yielded the best return?.... 

The fact is, "it's not all about open rates"... It's about relevancy. Now.., what could we do with the contact records of those who "Opened" our email based on a relevant Subject Line?.... We now know they are in the market or have a need or interest in what we have to offer, based on the fact that they opened, our relevant subject line... and what could we do with the contact records... the knowledge of which business prospect took further action; i.e. clicked through, based on that 'relevant" subject line?

This leads me to the final word in my headline...'initially"... Once an email is opened based on a relevant subject line....action was taken (click through), the highest yielding "OPEN", on an outbound email marketing lead generating initiative is the "follow-up" email to those recipients who opened and read your initial email based on a relevant subject line. We've seen anywhere from 35% clear up to 65% open rates on follow up letters... Now how could this change your prospecting efforts?