One of the best ways to get repeat customers, or for past customers to refer new customers to your dealership, is through email marketing. Email marketing is cost efficient and is proven to drive results.
If you are thinking about using email marketing for your auto dealership, consider these eight tips to implement it in the most effective way possible.
1. Choose the Right Email Marketing Platform for Your Dealership
One of the most important things you need to do to improve your email marketing strategy is to make sure you are using the right email marketing platform for your needs. When choosing a platform, it is important to consider the needs of your dealership and what the platform offers.
Price of the platform is important because it needs to fit into your budget. Some platforms offer a free plan, but you will be severely limited with how many emails you can send and how many people can be included in those emails.
It is also important to make sure the features of the email marketing platform match what your auto dealership needs. Some important features to look for include:
- Design and customization of emails
- Automation of emails
- Segmentation (division of your email list into smaller groups)
- Analytics (how many open the email, how many click on the link in the email)
- Optimized sending time (sends emails at the best possible time)
- Integration with your website
Check out different platforms and the features they offer before deciding on one for your auto dealership. This will ensure that you are well informed in your decision and get all the features you need.
2. Use Segmentation to Your Advantage
This is a feature that is offered by some email marketing platforms and is done automatically, but it can also be done by you. Email marketing segmentation breaks up your big email list into smaller sections based on certain criteria.
In other words, segmentation is a way of personalizing your email subscriber experience. You can easily deliver content that is more relevant to each individual subscriber instead of using one massive email that might not make sense for everyone.
For example, you can split up your email marketing based on where subscribers are located. If you have a customer base near your dealer in Arizona, they will get different emails than your customer base near your dealer in Ohio.
You can also split up your email list for current customers based on what kind of car they purchased from you. For example, if a family bought a large SUV or a minivan, you can send them emails about cool features they can take advantage of in their new car or how to organize their kids items in the car.
3. Keep Your Email List Up-to-Date
Ensuring your emails are actually being seen is a crucial part of email marketing. Every so often, such as every month or every few months, go through your email list and see how many of your subscribers are actively interacting with your emails.
You can then determine who is not interacting with your emails and remove them from your email list. This opens up space for new subscribers and stops sending emails to people who are just ignoring them.
Keeping your email list up-to-date can also be beneficial for your segmentation. As you are going through your email list to weed out those who don’t interact, you can also do a little research and see which customers can be put into which segmentation.
Doing so will not only keep your email list current, but it will also help you with sending relevant emails to the right people.
4. Don’t Rely Just on Pictures and Videos, Use Plenty of Words!
It can be tempting to fill your emails with pictures and videos, thinking this might be what your customers and potential customers want to see. Contrary to this belief, it is actually better to use plenty of text in an email instead of relying on pictures to get the point across.
Customers are more likely to respond to actionable words in emails. You don’t need to be excessive with actionable language, but using it is still beneficial for the purpose of the email. For example, with previous customers on your email list, you send them an email for a discounted oil change.
The actionable language on the email can be something as simple as “Schedule Your Appointment Today!” or “Only Available for a Short Time”. Words like this will be enough for those customers in need of an oil change to quickly book their appointment at your dealership.
Using pictures and videos in your email marketing is still effective, but it is extremely important not to rely on them. Use them sparingly, choosing words instead to inform your customers of what you are trying to tell them.
5. Make Sure Emails are Mobile-Friendly
With mobile devices making it easy to check emails, more than half of email users are likely to open an email on their cell phone or tablet. This means if they can’t properly read the email because it isn’t formatted correctly, then they are likely to ignore it and send it straight to the trash.
Email marketing platforms will have the ability to help you format your emails to be mobile-friendly. You will be able to easily send emails that can be viewed flawlessly on mobile devices and computers, increasing the likelihood of customers purchasing from your dealership again.
6. Use Email for Education
A good marketing strategy for both you and your customers is to avoid sending ONLY promotional emails to them. Before long, they will stop opening your emails because they are tired of you only trying to sell to them.
You can also take advantage of email marketing to provide your customers with educational content. This will not only increase the chances of your emails being opened, but it will also improve your relationship with your customers and increase your future sales.
Some ideas for educational emails include:
- Blog posts on your website with information on regular car maintenance
- YouTube videos you’ve made to answer commonly asked questions about certain cars and the car buying experience
- Informative graphics with tips for performing maintenance at home
- Tips for deep cleaning a car
Educating your customers through your email increases your brand awareness, builds confidence in you as a dealership, and shows you care about them past just the car buying process. They will be more likely to purchase from you again and tell their family and friends about your dealership.
7. Avoid Sending Too Many Emails
If you spam your customer’s email by sending too many emails at a time, you are more likely to be moved to spam. If your emails are going to spam, your customers won’t see them, and the email marketing doesn’t work in your favor.
To prevent spamming, make sure you spread your emails out enough that it won’t trigger a spam notice. For example, if you are sending follow-up emails to your customers about a promotional deal you are running, set it up like this:
- First email introduces the promotion you are running.
- Second email (sent three days after the first email) contains educational content relating to the promotion.
- Third email (sent four days after the second email) is a reminder of the promotion you are running.
That’s all it takes! You send three emails over the course of one week to ensure your customers aren’t getting annoyed by the content and you are providing them with information relating to the promotion.
8. Analyze Your Emails
Before sending out any email, spend time analyzing it. Would you open the email if you were a customer? Is the content of the email relevant to your customers? Doing this will improve your chances of your customers opening your email and seeing what you have to say.
Some of the important aspects to look at before sending an email are:
- Subject line. Make sure the subject is compelling and leaves the customer wondering what you have to say inside
- Email design. The email should look put together and easy to read. Insert your dealership logo and brand colors into the email.
- Functionality. Is the email mobile friendly? Do all of the links work properly?
- Previous email statistics. Are people opening your current emails? If not, see what you can change to increase the likelihood of them being opened
You will also want to spell check and look for any potential grammar issues before you send out your email. Customers will definitely notice these errors and it might impact your credibility. Make sure there are no mistakes and you are ready to send your email!