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We’re getting plenty of inquiries recently regarding winter advertising. How do we recommend doing it for self-advertisers? What kinds of things can a dealership print or promise that will bring more customers out to the lot? What kind of value proposition is worth getting folks to brave the cold?

We can tell you what you should do, and what you should not do. In fact, many dealerships print things on their automotive direct mailers year after year that cause problems with the way customers perceive their dealerships and their cars – and they don’t even know it!

Here are some things to consider when coming up with artwork for your winter automotive direct mailers.

Don’t Show Them Snow.

We need to lose this perception that snow is delightful, charming, and that everyone loves it. That might be true if we’re sitting by the fireside reading Dickens around the holidays, but it’s not true if you’re trying to sell a car.

Snow and cars don’t necessarily mix. Many automotive direct mailers have snowflake or wintry backgrounds, with pictures of cars in the foreground. Think about how this kind of imagery resonates with your customers on a subconscious level.

Do cars plus snow mix and create a good correlation? Not in the minds of most car owners. Unless you’re trying to sell the effectiveness of a four wheel drive truck in snow, it’s best to leave the snow imagery alone. Cool, blue and white colors that are reminiscent of winter are okay. Falling leaves are okay. But be careful about how you use snow.

Pictures of the Family.

A season’s greetings from your staff, with pictures of your salespeople and administrative staff, are a nice touch. The holidays are a family time, and giving that impression that you’re family can be really helpful to getting customers to your dealership.

Sometimes, marketing managers – particularly when working for a small dealership – will have the dealership owner and his or her family pose for Christmas or holiday pictures that go out on a mailer. In smaller, tighter-knit communities, this could be effective. However, think about what you feel might be more effective – the dealer owner’s well-to-do family positioned around the holiday tree, or your sales and admin staff pictured together, smiling, in the middle of your showroom floor? What if the staff is surrounded by your high value, high performance stock of vehicles? You make the call.

There’s no easy way to get cars off the lot this holiday season, but it’s definitely easier to select images that resonate with customers in a different way than you might be thinking. If you need to revamp your advertising to better accommodate what the customer is looking for, why not do that now? There’s never a better time than the present to create effective winter promotions.