Today was the third time in the last month that I was speaking with a dealership that was having very poor open rates for their newsletters and email campaigns. In this case, the list of 28,000 email addresses
had a 10% open rate. For some of you, that might seem normal; I think that sucks.
So here is a suggestion to help you revitalize a section of your email database. Do an email blast from a white-listed email company that can send "text only" emails. Do not use your current vendor because they may be part of the problem. There are a number of reputable companies that we use and that work well with one-time tests.
Instead of a fancy graphical email, send a "text-only" email with a clear call to action message(s) with links back to specific landing pages. You can't have too many links in the email or it will trigger a spam filter. Keep it simple.
To have the email appeal to a wide base of readers, I would suggest that you present in the text email:
- New Car Offer
- Used Car Offer
- Service Incentive
Each of these offers should be presented in a few sentences with a hyperlink to a landing page that is designed to convert. Let the landing page have the beautiful graphics, disclaimers and lead forms. When you are done with the email, run it through one of the many free email spam filter tests. The test will tell you if you have used words that will trigger spam filters or if you have too many links.
For example, words like "free", "thousands", "millions", "unlimited", "limited time offer" all can trigger spam filters if used improperly. Think of an email that you would send to a friend and tone down the sales pitch and present a valuable message and offer without the hype.
Please place a unique TRACKING PHONE NUMBER on the email so you can see how many calls are generated. Not everyone will need to click through to respond. Place this same phone number on your landing pages so that the total calls can be tracked from this effort.
Why This Works
This technique should increase the delivery rates and open rates of your email list for a few reasons:
- By having it sent in text format, it will reduce triggers from spam filters that focus on graphical emails.
- By having it in text format, customers that have Blackberry's or mobile device will be able to read the email and click to take action. If you have every seen what your automotive newsletter or an email from Constant Contact looks like on a Blackberry you will understand why so many emails are deleted or not clicked. It look like a spaghetti mess.
- By having it sent from a white-listed email company that is different than your current vendor you change the delivery rules which can assist you with IP blocking and previous junk mail tags based on the sender's email address.
When the email has been sent, you can check to see if your delivery, open and click-through rates increase. You will see new people opening and clicking that never did before. Everyone is different so reactivating your dormant email customers often needs a new approach.
Dont Waste Their Time
Finally, think of an offer that is meaningful. One of the best email campaigns I did for service revenue was called "3 For Free
" which offered customers a free oil change, car wash and multi-point inspection. The offer was emailed to select group of customers that had a valid email and a postcard was sent to everyone that did not have an email address.
The postcards had a second goal to capture email addresses by providing a service appointment link on the postcard and a unique tracking phone number for calls. The call center required and email during the appointment setting process.
Of those who responded, over 92% of the appointments results in a billable RO. The first campaign generated over $60,000 in repair profits. Most customers had a number of "little things"
that needed to be fixed and while they were in the dealership. The service advisors also did a good job of up-selling respondents.
So, if you want to get a bump from your valuable email list during the post "Cash For Clunkers" hangover months, give this approach a try. Your email list is one of your most valuable digital assets. Let me know how it works.
Brian Pasch, CEO
Pasch Consulting Group