Response-rates might seem like a fickle number that’s affected by everything from complicated data analytics to slight changes in time and weather. Maybe you’re content with your current response-rates. Maybe you’re constantly seeking the algorithm that will solve the problem of the empty showroom and forever change the game.
Chances are, you’re all-too familiar with the age-old problem of response rates. After all, getting current or prospective customers to respond to your offers is what your dealership depends on!
As a dealer, you’re probably already aware of each best-practice recommendation for hosting a private sale and the latest trends in digital and direct marketing that you need to incorporate for success. Maybe you’re already implementing these keys to successful marketing campaigns.
Unfortunately, the latest gadgets and trends can’t overcome common best practices. In the race to keep a competitive edge in a digital world, age-old practices have been forgotten, even ignored.
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- Consider Each Word
Words are powerful. You’ve probably learned the power of words when talking to a potential customer. In the same way, your marketing could be saying the right things or the wrong things, depending on your copy.1 How often do we underestimate the power of words and lose sales because of it?! Studies have shown that single words can determine whether someone will take action or not.2
If your response-rates aren’t reaching their potential or have consistently stayed relatively the same, you might consider changing the message that you’re sending. Using words like you, free, because, now, amazing, secret, instantly, etc. will produce more results. It’s been proven.3
Consider the following phrase:
“Because you are a valued customer, we’d like to give you this free $10 Gift Card and offer you a chance to enjoy exclusive discounts and never-before-seen savings opportunities – but hurry! These offers are only available for [X] hours at [Your Dealership’s Name].”
As opposed to:
“You are a valued customer. We’d like to give you a $10 Gift Card and invite you to enjoy discounts and savings at our dealership’s savings event.”
You can achieve so much more with your marketing and reach goals you never thought possible, simply by putting a greater emphasis on copy and analyzing the power of each word.4
- Short and Sweet
Keep your writing short and to the point. Anything beyond a page or that requires scrolling will probably never be read… much less responded to. Keeping your readers engaged is the key to achieving a response and when you’re writing to readers with a smaller attention span than goldfish (around 8 seconds), you don’t want to overdo it.5 In fact, data shows that the optimal length of an email is between 50 and 150 words.6 For reference, this paragraph is 79 words.
- Make Your Message Clear
Ever heard of KISS? Not the band… The acronym: Keep It Simple, Stupid. KISS is meant to be a simple writing rule for marketing.7
You’re invading their territory. Your marketing is sitting in their inbox while they’re at work and waiting in their mailbox when they get home. Remember that you’re interrupting the normal structure of their day. No matter how amazing your offer might be, your marketing is still a distraction from something they’d rather be doing.
Don’t overload your reader with information. Present the information to them like you would a marriage proposal. You’re going to want to present this offer in an appealing way. They have the right to say no or stop to consider your offer for days, weeks, even months. Consider how you can present this information in an easy, simple way that will evoke a positive response. You certainly don’t want to confuse your reader or make him or her work to understand the message of your content.
- Start At the Top
Are your headlines and subject lines up to par? This is the first impression your readers will have. What message are you hoping to get across?
You’ll want to consider what will compel your reader to action – in this case the action is to continue reading or to click your email. What’s in it for them? What are you offering? Is it information or a free car wash?
The key to a good headline or subject line is the curiosity gap.8 This means your headline or subject line should be tantalizing enough to get a reader to continue reading or to click through, but it shouldn’t give away the whole story. After all, you want to raise their curiosity – you don’t want to tell them everything they need to know in one line. You want them to read more!
Much like the actual body of your messaging, you need to keep these babies short and sweet.9 Subject lines should be no longer than 50 characters and headlines with around six words tend to have the best performance.10
And don’t overdo your excitement. One study revealed that more than 85% of respondents prefer an all-lowercase subject line to one in all caps.11
- Remember Your Call to Action
It’s important to have one clear call to action. What are you asking them to do? If you want them to RSVP, make this clear. Make it easy for them to do, make it clear that that’s what you want them to do, and make sure they know what they will get in return for their action.12
Again, it’s best to be brief and to the point. You should use no more than five words and your first word should be action-oriented. Begin with a clear action-verb like “call now” or “RSVP here”.
Make sure that readers will understand your CTA without having to read you entire message. Your CTA should be bold, easy to find, and easy to read – make the font bigger if you need to.
- Draw The Eye
In the same way, it’s important to observe that where you write matters just as much as what you write. I’m not referring to the difference between writing in an office and writing in a coffee shop.
A good headline and/or well-written CTA will only go so far towards gaining and retaining your reader’s interest. Where have you placed your CTAs? Will your readers see your offers, or are they buried amongst a plethora of other phrases and words that distract from the actual message of your copy?
Readers quickly move from reading to scanning (it only takes about eight seconds) and if your marketing isn’t drawing their eyes to specific offers, incentives, and CTAs, it will be tossed aside and forgotten.13
- Avoid the Junk Box
While the junk box is definitely reserved for email marketing, these tips can be applied to most marketing efforts. If you’re following best practices for avoiding a spam filter, you’ll probably avoid the trash bin as well.
Did you know that there are specific words that trigger spam filters? Words and phrases like “opportunity”, “free”, “save up to”, “no cost”, “no strings”, “no questions asked”, etc. will likely land you in the trash.
Avoid using all caps and multiple exclamation points. Not only will spam filters flag you, you’ll also annoy your reader and they’ll flag you.
Additionally, you might want to review your headlines and subject lines. Sixty-nine percent of email recipients report email as spam based solely on the subject line.14
One Last Thing
The truth is, there’s an endless list of possible factors that could influence the response-rates of your marketing. You probably already know many of them. But, if you’re following these best practices for your copy, you’ll be better able to filter through which marketing strategies are working and which ones are not. You will no longer have to worry whether your copy is affecting your response-rates and you’ll be able to move quickly to the factors that could actually be causing problems.