Many automotive dealers cite getting more leads and turning showroom visitors into buyers as their top marketing priority. To that end, many dealers leverage email marketing campaigns to achieve their conversion goals. In fact, 57% of dealerships deploy monthly email campaigns and newsletters and 21% quarterly.
Using email campaigns to target the right buyer at the perfect time can work wonders for driving dealership website and showroom traffic. Email marketing is a highly effective customer acquisition channel and for the last ten years in a row has generated the highest ROI for marketers. When executed right, email marketing campaigns can be the cornerstone of a winning digital marketing program.
Implementing an effective email marketing strategy isn’t just about sending out the same promotion to the same list of emails each month. It requires deep personalization, the right technology and extensive follow up; a task that many dealership owners and operators just don’t have the time for.
Here are some of our proven best practices that our LOCALiQ AUTOMOTIVE team has gleaned after thousands of successful email campaigns.
It all starts with the audience.
Audience selection is the first step to delivering effective results from your automotive email marketing strategy. Using high-quality data to reach new customers for your dealership is key, and there are a few ways to go about doing it. The first way is by using demographic data to segment their target audience. Information such as age, gender, title and income level can tell a lot about a person’s needs and interests. Geotargeting, which uses a person’s geographic location, is also a valuable tool – especially for dealerships with a strong local consumer base.
Additionally, understanding where a car buyer is in their journey to purchase is another way to segment an audience. This also gives dealerships the opportunity to target potential car buyers at various points in decision-making process with the right content.
The more information you can get about your audience in the sign-up process, the more options you’ll have for demographic segmentation. Also, decide which metrics are most essential for your dealership and include those questions in the communication process.
Personalization is the new normal.
While having a person’s email address gives dealership marketers a direct line of communication to their consumers, it doesn’t guarantee that email will be read or responded to. Potential car buyers need a reason to check their inbox and open an email. 70% of consumers prefer learning about products through content rather than traditional advertising.
One way to ensure this happens is by providing compelling content that is relevant to your target customers, while also telling your brand story in a meaningful way. Tell your dealership’s story with punchy subject lines and compelling imagery. Leverage expert designers and pro copywriters to create emails that capture car buyer’s attention and drive engagement. It doesn’t have to be a sale or a special offer; it could be information on safety ratings for a popular vehicle, or tips for how to get better gas mileage during summer road trip season. The key is to make the connection and make sure it’s relevant to the recipient.
As a final personalization consideration, don’t just provide information – request some, too. Emails that contain one to three questions are 50% likelier to get replies than emails without any questions.
Avoiding the spam folder is a must!
Putting a ton of effort into an email promotion and having it end up in the spam folder is disappointing. Automotive marketing emails should follow strict best practices, verification processes and list cleanliness to ensure they pass all of the email tests with flying colors. LOCALiQ AUTOMOTIVE email marketing experts have established best practices for quality, verification, and list hygiene to avoid being classifed as spam and to ensure emails belong to real people with active accounts.
Automation drives meaningful conversations.
In the age of instant access to information, auto dealerships can’t afford to waist one minute of time to connect with a potential buyer. With every second or minute that passes, the chance of making a connection and even closing a sale significantly decreases.
An analysis of more than 2,200 American companies found those who attempted to reach leads within an hour were nearly seven times likelier to have meaningful conversations with decision makers than those who waited even 60 minutes.
When implementing a lead nurturing campaign that includes email marketing, automated response technology can help make those instant connections. Automated tools allow marketers to schedule an immediate and engaging response to an inquiry. Dealerships can also determine the frequency of response emails, as well as set reminders for someone on the sales team – a human – to follow up with an appointment or an answer to a question.
Mobile first, all the way!
With U.S adults now spending an average of 3 hours and 35 minutes per day on mobile devices in 2018 and 60% of all automotive searches originating from a mobile device, it’s no secret that dealerships need to have a mobile-first strategy when it comes to their digital marketing efforts. Optimizing email campaigns for mobile is central to driving opens, clicks, and revenue for your dealership.
In addition to using responsive formatting, mobile-friendly emails need to include the right content, design and functionality that offers consumers a seamless mobile experience they’ve come to expect. The digital marketing experts at LOCALiQ AUTOMOTIVE suggest the following techniques to ensure click-throughs no matter what device the consumers are using.
Leverage mobile-ready email templates to optimize for mobile users that can also maintain a clean desktop experience.
Shorten the subject line, making sure its enticing, engaging and to-the-point
Create compelling preheader text that offers the reader a reason to open the full email
Balance image size and text
Ditch words and phrases that trigger spam like “huge deal,” “best offer,” or “big bucks.”
Make buttons large enough to accommodate the average finger (approx 2cm) – making it easier for viewers to click.
Clearly, there are a variety of tools and techniques to use to ensure your automotive marketing emails are read across a variety of devices, especially mobile. In partnership with a trusted team of experts, you can create an email marketing strategy that not only delights potential car buyers with relevant, engaging content, but that also boosts ROI for your dealership.
Automotive email marketing design should wow your customers.
Research shows that 90 percent of all information sent to the brain is visual, while 93 percent of all human interaction is visual. When it comes to purchasing a high-ticket item like a vehicle, visuals will play a big role in the engagement process. Investing in well-designed emails that include images and video content turn a bunch of words into a memorable and shareable experience, while also helping you stand out among your competition. In fact, research shows that video, when combined with email, significantly boosts conversion — with click-through rates increasing by 200 to 300 percent.
With the help of the right automotive marketing partner, dealerships can develop an email marketing strategy that includes visual content that engages your prospects — at varying stages of the buying process. Moreover, for dealerships looking to stay aligned with OEM brand standards, thoughtful, co-op friendly email design ensures co-op compliance with their OEM partners.
Track the success of your automotive email marketing.
Targeted automotive email marketing allows you to track clickthrough rates, how many people open your email, and who forwards your email to other people. But, it’s more than looking at open and clickthrough rates. The point of your email marketing strategy is to gain revenue for your business and that all starts with a good lead. An email marketing expert makes sure a dealership’s customized emails not only catch the eye of potential car buyers, but also convert into leads.
As dealerships refocus their marketing strategy and begin implementing campaigns for 2019, they should consider these techniques for optimizing an email marketing program. By adding a personal touch, including visuals, leveraging automated technology, optimizing for mobile and tracking your success, dealerships have a better opportunity to make new and lasting connections with customers – converting those connections into sales.
Contact us today to find out more about LOCALiQ AUTOMOTIVE email marketing solutions.