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With 3.7 billion people using email today and an expected increase to 4.3 billion users by 2022, email marketing is a force to be reckoned with. We are talking nearly half of the world’s population at a savvy marketer’s fingertips. To top things off, the average ROI of an email marketing campaign is a whopping 3,800%. In simpler words, you’ll get $38 for every dollar spent.

To put things into perspective, Social Media Marketing that’s considered to be all the rage nowadays offers as little as an average of 100 or 200 percent in return. 1000% is achievable, but achieving such results is nothing short of a herculean feat. Toss in the fact that 58% of adults check their emails first thing in the morning and you’ll get one of the juiciest cherries on the icing of a digital marketing cake.

Yet less than a third of automotive dealerships tend to sink their teeth into a slice. Adding insult to injury, only 4% of dealers have at least some email marketing campaign plans for “an undefined time in the future”.

On the one side, who can blame them? Email campaigns are by far the most tedious of the marketing arts. On the other, less than a third of your competitors are picking the ripe fruits of a 3,800% ROI meaning there’s less competition for you to beat.

With the right tools, you too can take the “tedious” part out of your campaigns and transform a bulk email list into a steady stream of leads as well as returning customers. All it takes is a little bit of automation.

Email marketing automation

Automation the undeniable key to the kingdom of successful email marketing. It’s biggest strengths lies in catching the right people at the right moment. That’s why, if used wisely, automation offers a 119% higher click rate than broadcast emails.

That said, planning and setting up your campaigns in such a way is no walk in the park. It takes precision, dedication, strategy, and a very particular selection of tools in order to work.

These 7 simple and actionable tips should get you started in the right direction.

1. Segmentation is king

Nearly every dealer has gathered an impressive email base of clients over their time in business. Alas, sending a newsletter to each and every contact from the base is simply not enough. In fact, thinking of your email base as a mere list of contacts is a crime against email marketing punished by a life sentence in the spam folder.

There is a person behind every email in your possession. A person with needs, goals, desires. A person that came to you with a particular itch you can scratch. So scratch it.

Start with segmenting your audience based on their initial request. Send different messages to people who came looking for luxury cars and to those who were looking for environment-friendly solutions. Offer an interesting deal to those of your clients who have not engaged with your brand recently to remind them of you. Come up with a viable up-sale option for those who have purchased something but are yet to find out about your superb optional services. Be creative!

Or you can walk the path of 73% dealers, neglect segmentation, and miss out on a 6X higher revenue that personal emails generate. The choice is yours.

2. Find the best time to strike

According to data gathered from 14 independent studies, Tuesday is the best day to send emails and late morning around 10 AM-ish is the best time. According to your personal experience, this data is insignificant.

While it is true that most people check their mailbox in the morning and Tuesday is indeed the best time (on paper) because Monday’s box will be overflown with letters from over the weekend your audience is not an everyday Joe. What works for retail and emotion-driven shopping decisions is probably the least desired strategy for dealers as your goods are expensive enough that people won’t click “buy” and forget about it.

You’d be surprised, but a Saturday afternoon when your audience is comfy and searching for solutions may be the best time to pitch them your dealership. Or it may not be. The only way to find the best time that works for you is to test, test, and then test some more.

3. Rely on text, not visuals

It is tempting to design an irresistible email filled to the brim with juicy visuals that will sell your story better than a thousand words.

Avoid the urge and go for text-first emails nonetheless.

Most of the people in your audience are using apps to view their inbox. Most of these apps blocks visuals in letters by default. What’s the point of working on a gorgeous visual if no one will see it?

Visual blockers aside, plain text is much more personal to the reader. It looks like a letter sent to them by a friend or a coworker, not like a marketing pitch. Use this initial impression to your advantage!

4. Give choice

Few things in our world as disgusting to a person as a pushy salesman. Pushy emails that cross too many boundaries comes close to the second place. Why be the guy everyone hates when you can adjust your letters and software to ask your audience about their preferences directly? Fewer people will hit the unsubscribe option if they are given the choice to receive emails on a monthly basis instead of weekly or daily updates.

5. Produce content that checks all the boxes

What’s the simplest way to get your email open? Make opening it worthwhile. Use Google Analytics, HubSpot, Live View, etc., to check what your audience is looking for on your website. Perhaps they are often guests to the FAQ section, or most browse through the Chevrolet catalog? Give them what they want – answers, discounts, and offers on the stuff they are already into.

6. Set up automated responses

The average open rate of welcome emails is a whopping 50%. That’s 86% more effective than newsletters. Make that first impression count – send your greetings while your business is fresh on your prospect’s mind. Set up a set of triggers on your website like when a person fills up a form or downloads educational materials an email is sent into their mailbox automatically.

7. Test some more

Never stop on the achieved. Try discount offers, “$” or “%” signs, including a prospect’s name into the subject line, or sing your own business name. The possibilities for trying out new things are literally limitless. A/B test every letter you send until you reach 100% conversion rates.

Impossible? Yes, but a goal like that will allow you to get as close to the 100 as possible.

Source: Eric Wills - Digital Dealer

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