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5 Email Marketing Tips for Car Dealerships

February 19, 2014

Tired of hearing how you need to be on Facebook or LinkedIn to drum up business for your car dealership? Get over it. You DO need to be active on those social networking sites.  But there’s an even better way for you to connect with prospects. Study after study has proven that old-fashioned email is still far more effective than social media when it comes to attracting customers to your business.

Of course, there’s a right way and wrong way to go about email marketing. Here are a few tips on how you can become more effective at sending emails for your car dealership:

1. Quality is Job One – Ford Motor may have been talking about cars with this old slogan, but it applies to email too. Quality should be your number one priority when sending a newsletter or other email blast to your customers and prospects. What does this mean? Your emails should look professional, contain proper grammar and have a clear call to action.  And don’t even think about emailing a copy of your weekly newspaper ad to every single email address in your database either. It’s tacky, lazy and will no doubt result in a number of unsubscribes, or worse – spam reports!

2. Subdivide Your List – Everyone in your email list is unique, so don’t treat them all the same. Subdivide those email addresses into different categories like, “hot prospects,” “new customers,” and “repeat customers.” Prospects and customers should receive messages that are relevant to their needs, wants and desires. After all, if Jane Doe bought her new car six months ago, she’s probably not interested in knowing that it’s Truck Month. On the other hand, she likely would be interested in getting a discount on her next oil change.

3. Get Personal – It may seem silly in today’s high-tech world, but people still like the common courtesy of being addressed by name. If your email provider allows for personalization, take advantage of it. Make the message personal too. You want the person to feel as if you’re speaking only to them, even if the email is actually going out to a mass audience.

4. Track It – There’s no use sending out an email each week or each month, if you have no way of knowing how many phone calls or customer visits occur as a result. Try using Google URL Builder to add a code to your links, so you can track the results with Google Analytics. And use phone call tracking software, like CallSource, to know how many phone calls a specific email generates. 

5. Respect Your List – Even though email is an effective marketing tool, it is getting harder to reach the inbox of your prospects. You have to make it past spam filters, and email providers like Gmail and Yahoo are using crowd sourcing techniques to determine the relevancy of emails intended for their users. Your emails may reach their intended target today, but if they start getting marked as spam, you’ll have a tougher time reaching your intended recipients in the future.

Show respect for your email list by following these simple rules:

  • Don’t email prospects older than 90 days who haven’t responded to an email or made a purchase from your dealership.
  • Do send emails to customers who have purchased a product or service from your dealership in the past 18 months.
  • If someone emails you asking to be removed from your list, remove them. Immediately.

If you have any questions about email marketing, or tips of your own to share, please post them in the comments below.

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