7 Email Marketing Mistakes that Might Cost You the Sale

From getting excited to hear “You’ve Got Mail” to scrolling through hundreds of junk messages each day, the landscape of email marketing has changed drastically over the decades. The medium is so popular that businesses spent an estimated $350 million on email advertising in 2019 alone.

As a car dealership, you already compete with other dealers in your area. Now, you have to compete with hundreds of messages in your customers’ inboxes, too. As a result, your emails must be noticeable, timely, and relevant to your customers’ purchase intent.

After your sales team worked so hard to move potential customers through the sales cycle, the last thing you want is an email mistake costing you the sale.

When crafting your next email marketing message or campaign, do your best to avoid these costly mistakes:

1. Skipping the Sign-Up

What’s the point in having an email marketing campaign if you have no one to send it to? Building out a robust email marketing list requires constant effort and diligence.

Sure, you can add a field to the footer of your website, but how often are users scrolling to the bottom of your site? Or, you could use a pop-up on your website. But that can get irritating for users. Instead, look for creative ways to capture customer email addresses in-store and online.

For instance, your dealership could offer a promotional event where all it takes to test drive a new car is to provide an email address (along with the necessary legal info for test driving, of course). Or, run an online giveaway where the only way to enter is by typing in an email address. Better yet, check out how we integrate sign-up forms into our Easy Car Buy Digital Retailing tool!

The more you work to develop your email marketing sender lists, the better results you’ll see in the long run.

2. Failing to Capitalize on the Subject Line

The subject line is arguably the most important part of your entire email marketing campaign, with 33% of email recipients opening emails due to catchy subject lines. At the same time, a subject line can also tank your efforts. Unfortunately, 69% of people reported they would mark an email as spam based on the subject line alone.

With the average email open rate hovering at around 18%, you must focus on optimizing your email subject line for an optimal outcome. Failing to do so will result in lackluster metrics for your entire email marketing campaign. Stuck on a subject line? Check out these 23 simple email marketing tips to improve your open and clickthrough rates.

3. Broken Code or Design

Isn’t it the worst when something does not load properly on your phone or computer? Now imagine if your improperly coded or designed emails were generating that feeling for recipients.

You’d be horrified, right?

Emails that contain broken code or poor designs lead to customer dissatisfaction. Also, it tells customers that your brand lacks attention to detail. If your team is unable to spend extra time perfecting the emails sent to subscribers, how can potential customers expect a positive experience when they come into the dealership?

When working on each email marketing campaign and message, take your time and ensure that every aspect of the email functions properly across all devices, browsers, and email platforms. Invest in tools such as Litmus to help you identify problems with your design and code for particular email clients, devices, and more.

4. A Lack of Content

Have you ever opened an email only to be met with a short message and confusion? A lack of substantive content is yet another reason for customers to disregard your email.

Make sure each email marketing message you send has a purpose and a wealth of content to accomplish that goal. While your emails don’t need paragraphs upon paragraphs of content, they should contain enough material to rope in the reader and keep them engaged long enough to take action.

For example, if you’re sending out emails to customers who matched with a specific vehicle—using VIN-specific marketing tactics—in your inventory, include as much information about the car as possible. From the mileage to a 360-degree walk-around video, your content possibilities are endless. After all, no one wants to engage with an email that only includes a headline and an image of a car.

Plus, consider the emails your sales team makes. What content are they including?

A common mistake from both sales and marketing professionals is to include either too little or too much content when emailing customers. Work with both of your teams to fine-tune your email processes and generate a method that produces enticing results.

5. Failure to Include a Call-to-Action

In a study by Toast, researchers found that emails with a single call to action (CTA) increased clicks by 371% and sales by 1617%. While these metrics are mind-blowing, imagine how different they would look if your dealership failed to include a CTA in your email marketing!

Each marketing message you send has a distinct purpose. Whether you’re trying to showcase new inventory to qualified customers or inform loyal clients of an upcoming event, you need to tell readers what action to take.

However, it is all too easy to add a quick “Click Here” button and hope it drives results. Experiment with a variety of creative and targeted CTAs to discover what truly generates clicks, sales, and customer engagement. Consider testing out CTAs such as:

Or, if your email marketing strategy and platform can support personalization, use personalized CTAs. Data from HubSpot shows that personalized CTAs perform 202% times better than generic ones.

6. Sending Too Many Emails

Car dealerships are already struggling with the unfortunate salesy stigma. Don’t fuel the fire by overloading customers with too many emails. Doing so will only garner a spammy reputation for your dealership.

Although, finding the right cadence of emails takes a bit of time and experimentation. There’s no perfect formula for discovering the number of emails your audience wants to receive.

When working to optimize your email marketing schedule, think about the following:

  • Nature of the Email. Is the email promotional or is it part of the sales process?
  • Recipients. Are the email recipients current customers or new subscribers who are unfamiliar with your brand?
  • Industry Standards. Sign up for your competitors’ email newsletters and see how many emails you receive regularly. Is it too much? Too infrequent?
  • Goals. What are you trying to achieve with your email marketing efforts? Will sending emails on a certain schedule help or hinder these goals?

It will take some time to identify how many emails to send each month. Be patient and stay the course!

7. Not Segmenting Email Lists

Your sales team wouldn’t use the same tactics on every customer, so why would you send the same email to everyone?

Not segmenting your email lists by preference, location, purchase intent, or other criteria will cause your emails to go straight to spam.

When building out your email marketing lists, give customers the ability to select what type of emails they want to receive. For instance, when customers sign up for your newsletter online, give them options such as:

  • Service & Maintenance Offers
  • Car Buying & Maintenance Tips
  • Dealership Events & Updates
  • Auto Industry News

Think about the type of emails you intend to send and offer customers the ability to opt-in or out of these opportunities.

This practice extends far beyond your email marketing campaigns, too. Work with your sales, service department, and financing teams to review the emails they send to customers. Are they sending potential prospects the same emails a loyal customer receives? If so, how does that look to both parties?

Plus, you can work with these respective teams to see how they are building out their email lists. Are they batching every customer into a single distribution list? Or, are they segmenting customers based on purchase, point in the sales cycle, or interests?

You treat each customer individually, so your email marketing strategy should too!

Steer Clear of Email Marketing Mishaps

Want to lessen your workload when it comes to email marketing? Reach out to learn more about our Service Combat Strategy and Fixed Ops Mailer program to see how we can seamlessly integrate email marketing into your campaigns.

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