It’s a painful truth: Most automated emails from car dealerships s----. They’re impersonal, interruptive, and usually talk more about the dealership than attempting to solve the customer’s actual problems. In fact, they hardly provide enough educational information for any would-be car buyer to make a well informed decision; except for maybe the decision to hit “unsubscribe.”
If any of this sounds familiar, then now’s a good time to update your automated emails.
By updating your emails to nurture your contacts for a longer period of time – one that matches the length of the buying cycle – you’ll not only stay top of mind until they’re ready to make a purchase, but you’ll also position your dealership as a thought leader by educating and guiding customers instead of bombarding them with irrelevant offers.
Ready to improve your dealership’s automated emails? Here are a few tips to help you get started…
Update #1: Make Your Emails Personal
It’s no secret: People like to do business with other people – not automated workflows. So it’s no surprise to learn that making your emails more personal can help improve engagement and increase click-through-rate. Plus, personalization can also help simulate the kind of one-on-one interactions that make consumers want to make a purchase.
So how can you make your automated emails more personal? One tip is to use personalization tokens to create custom salutations. That way, your recipient will see “Hello Chris” when they open your email, or whatever their name may be, instead of the impersonal and generic “Hi Friend.”
This one small update can make a big difference for your automated emails – increasing the Click-through-rate from about 5.8% to 7%, according to HubSpot’s 2014 Science of Email Marking Report.
Update #2: Educate Your Email Recipients
On average, car buyers are spending about 14 hours online researching vehicles before they make a purchase. Since your customers are clearly interested in learning more about their options, why not personally deliver the information they’re looking for?
Instead of trying to hard sell every contact on your email list, give them information about the vehicles in your inventory. Vehicle reviews and comparisons are a great tool for consumers to decide which model has the features and specifications they want.
Putting this email update into effect will also set your dealership apart as a thought leader – one that’s a hub for automotive information. Once your contacts have been properly educated, your sales team will have an easier time closing them into customers.
Update #3: Send Emails to the Right People at the Right Time
Firing off an email to announce a new sales event to your entire email database at 8pm on a Monday night may not be the most effective strategy. Instead, your contacts should be segmented into lists and assigned to strategic email workflows that allows you to nurture them until they’re ready to make a purchase.
Another benefit of list segmentation is that it allows for further personalization. For instance, you could build a list that only includes contacts who are shopping for a particular model. Then, you can create and email workflow that provides the most relevant information and offers based on that criteria.
Still not sold on list segmentation? Take a look at this test conducted by MailChimp. After monitoring email performance, it found that emails sent to segmented campaigns experienced 14.4% more opens and 63.75% more clicks than non-segmented campaigns.
But while sending emails to the right people is key, you also want to pay attention to your timing. Are your automated emails being sent out in the morning when contacts are looking through social media and checking the news or in the middle of the afternoon when they’re at work and away from personal email?
Be mindful of the frequency of your emails too. Try to spread them out over the course of a few days or weeks instead of having six emails fly in at once. After all, a healthy plant doesn’t grow just by flooding it with water for one day. You’re actually more likely to kill it that way. A little water and sunshine here and there is much more effective.
Why is lead nurturing vital to your dealership?
You’ve updated your automated emails, but how exactly is this going to help you sell more cars? The answer is lead nurturing. Lead nurturing helps funnel sales qualified leads to your sales team while at the same time keeping those contacts who aren’t quite ready to buy from falling through the cracks. When combined with email automation, your lead nurturing campaign can improve the effectiveness of your sales funnel and the efficiency of your team.
In addition to email automation, another way to help drive traffic to your website is by using paid search, or pay-per-click (PPC). See how one Arizona-based car dealer experience a 159.34% growth in goal completions in this case study.
All the best,
--Christopher Wirth is the Inbound Marketing Team Lead at Stream Companies, a full-service Philadelphia-area advertising agency.