Car dealerships send and receive emails all day long.
Between communicating with prospective leads and keeping in touch with current
clients, email is a vital part of any automotive operation.
An estimated 4.3 billion people will use email by 2022. Can you guess how many of those users are in the market for a new or used car?
A successful email marketing plan can be the difference
between a one-time purchase and a lifelong customer. Additionally, email
marketing works to inform current customers about other offerings at your
dealership, such as automotive maintenance or accessories.
However, without a proper email marketing plan in place,
your efforts can easily blur the line between helpful content and spammy sales
To ensure your car dealership uses email marketing properly and to its fullest potential, keep our seven tricks and tips in mind.
1. Find the Right Email Marketing Platform for Your Dealership
According to the Direct Marketing Association, email
marketing boasts an extraordinary ROI of 3800%. As a result, there are hundreds
of email marketing tools, software, and platforms on the market.
With so many features, pricing tiers, and integrations to
choose from, it’s in your best interest to take your time to decide which email
marketing platform works best for your business.
When comparing email marketing tools, consider the
First and foremost, will your car dealership be able to
justify the cost of an email marketing platform? Do you have enough funds to
cover the monthly or annual cost of this tool? If the tool is wildly out of
budget, you’ll need to find an alternative or find other funds to allocate
towards the cost.
Fortunately, there are free email marketing tools available.
However, these tools often come with functional limitations or are only free
for a trial period.
Email marketing platforms offer features ranging from
customizable template designs to sophisticated drip campaign tools.
Other standard email marketing features include:
- Drip campaign planning & execution
- Personalization capabilities
- Spam management
- In-depth analytics
- CRM integration
- Lead scoring
- List management
Before purchasing a specific platform, make a list of the
features your prospective email marketing tool must-have. This will ensure you
review each platform thoroughly before spending your marketing budget.
A few of the most popular platforms and tools include:
Your email marketing platform of choice must be able to
integrate with other areas of your sales and marketing efforts seamlessly. From
exporting key customer data from your CRM to signing up new subscribers via a
blog post, make sure your email marketing platform works with and benefits your
existing sales and marketing strategies.
Reviewing each platform’s features, pricing, and integration
capabilities before signing up for a subscription ensures you choose the best
option for your car dealership.
2. Have an Email Marketing Strategy
After your car dealership has selected an email marketing
platform, it's all too tempting to begin playing around with the tool
Before you begin designing and sending out email marketing
messages, you should create a campaign strategy. Each campaign you create must
have a purpose, a goal, and a
For instance, customers walking into car dealerships or searching online already have a good idea of the vehicle they want to purchase. In combination with VIN Specific Advertising, you can develop an email marketing campaign which sends the interested customer info about that particular car.
Or, if the customer has all the info they need and still
hasn’t made the purchase, develop a relationship through email marketing. Send
emails related to your business practices, professional staff, and the wealth
of maintenance/service offerings you provide, to educate the customer further
and drive additional sales.
Without an email marketing plan in place, you’ll waste time
and marketing dollars on emails with little to no results.
3. Focus on the Subject Line
Have you ever received an email, only to send it to the
trash solely based on the subject line? You’re not alone! We’ve found that 35% of email
recipients open an email based on the subject line
Your email’s subject line can make or break an entire
campaign. No pressure, right?
To remedy this, spend time brainstorming different subject
lines for each email. And, if your prospective email marketing platform allows
for it, test out different subject lines to determine which copy generates the
When working on your email subject lines, keep these tips
and tricks in mind:
If you would see your name in the subject line, you’d be at least a little curious about what’s inside, right? Campaign Monitor reported that emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened than general subject lines.
But don’t worry — you don’t have to write out each person’s
subject line one-by-one. Email marketing platforms have personalization
features which allow you to import a list of recipients, and place their name
or other details into an email and subject line using conditional content.
Consider Using Emojis
Although once touted as taboo, brands are using emojis in email subject lines to drive higher open rates and engagement. The use of emojis in email marketing messages increased by 775% from 2015 to 2016, according to MediaPost.
Use emojis that resonate with your audience and align with
the purpose of your email. Try using emojis in your subject lines to see if
they improve your email marketing results.
When it comes to email subject lines, short and sweet does
the trick. We’ve discovered (in testing millions of emails each year) that
3-word subject lines received the highest open rate (23.6%), while 7-word
subject lines (the most common) only
garnered a 14.2% open rate.
Keep your email subject lines concise and to the point.
Describe what’s in the email without the fluff or hard sell, and you’ll see the
results roll in.
4. Use Actionable Language
The automotive industry is all about actionable language.
With promotions using words and phrases like “Buy Now!”, “0% APR Today!”, and
“Drive Away in a New Car!”, customers are used to the speedy nature of car
However, when it comes to using actionable language in your
email marketing efforts, you don’t need to be as forceful. Many of your email
recipients will be existing customers with whom you have already built a
relationship. You don’t need to hard-sell these individuals
Instead, use phrases that drive users to take a specific
action with respect to that particular email. For example, let’s imagine you’re
sending out an email for 50% off an oil change for all existing customers. Your
email can include copy such as:
- Schedule your appointment now
- Call us to schedule your appointment
- Reserve your spot today
- Limited spots available, schedule your oil
- Offer valid for a limited time only
Using passive language won’t lead to the marketing results
your car dealership desires. Urge your customers to act accordingly and take
advantage of the deal you’re offering.
5. Provide Educational Content
Many car dealerships make the mistake of only sending
promotional emails. After a while, customers tune these emails out and send
them straight to the spam folder.
Instead, improve your customer relationships, email marketing
results, and overall ROI by sending educational content to your audience.
Create and share valuable content regarding the automotive industry, such as:
- Blog posts explaining regular maintenance topics
such as oil changes, tire rotations, air filter replacements, etc.
- Videos answering commonly asked questions about
specific cars, mileage, service, warranties, etc.
- Infographics with step-by-step instructions for
at-home DIY maintenance.
Taking this avenue does more than educate your customers; it
also improves your brand awareness. Email subscribers are three times more
likely to share your content via social media than visitors from other sources.
6. Don’t Spam Customers
Many brands in the automotive industry send far too many
emails to current and potential customers, resulting in reduced open rates and
failed client relationships.
Instead, leave ample space between emails in your campaigns.
If you’re running a campaign designed to remind customers about your oil change
promotion, your email marketing schedule could work as follows:
- Email 1: Introduce promotion
- Email 2 (Sent
three days later): Educational content related to oil changes
- Email 3 (Sent
four days later): Promotion reminder
Providing space between your emails gives customers time to
think about your offer or content and decide if they should make a purchase.
Sending too many emails becomes intrusive and bothersome and positions your
company negatively in the mind of consumers.
7. Analyze Everything
Since your chosen email marketing platform should provide
analytics capabilities, you’ll have the ability to track your progress,
failures, and successes. The only way to improve your email marketing and drive
better results is to analyze your previous campaigns and messages.
Go ahead and analyze everything about your email marketing
- Subject line language
- The time and day of the week in which you sent
- Email template design
- Email content and language
- Email functionality
- The email address used to send messages
- Click-through rates
- Email open rates
- Email marketing video analytics
Since there’s so much to analyze with regards to email
marketing, do yourself a favor and first select a few KPIs that indicate
success in your car dealership. Common KPIs include click-through rates, open
rates, and CTAs (i.e., a maintenance service scheduled) related to the success
of your business.
Keep a detailed log of your email marketing reports and
analytics so you can track your progress over time. You’ll be able to go back
and see the strides your dealership has made once you implement these email
Put Our Email Marketing Tricks to Use
Email marketing is a necessity for car dealerships. From sending educational content and increasing the lifetime value of a customer, to converting those on the fence about a purchase, email marketing is a valuable asset and tool. When you’re ready to take the next step with your car dealership’s email marketing efforts, the team at J&L Marketing is here to help