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Derrick Woolfson

Derrick Woolfson Business Development Manager

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Top Reasons Your Auto Emails Are Failing

At first glance sending an automated email seems like the perfect thing to do! Where it becomes turn-key, and you do not have to rely on your sales manager, BDC Agents,  or consultants to do the job! Sounds perfect, right? Well that all might sound well and good but the fact of the matter is that many auto emails fail.

Here are some of the top reasons they fail!

The Customer Opt’s Out Before They Open an Actual Email

Think about this for a moment. You spend all of this money to acquire the customer through AdWords, PPC, Social Media, OEM Marketing, Retargeting, etc. All for the customer to finally convert on your website (VDP) only to then opt out because you sent them multiple auto emails before actually answering their lead!

This happens far more often then you would believe! As a customer, can you imagine that you spent all this time researching? Asking what seems to them as a simple question to only receive an automated email that does not even answer their question? Wouldn’t that frustrate you? Especially if the email is made to look like it came from the sale consultant? And please, no one cares anymore whether or not it was sent from your iPhone or that you want to excuse your spelling errors. Seriously. People do not even think about it. I mean, when is the last time you specifically noticed that an email was sent and/or responded to from an iPhone?

Headers & Footers That are Not Responsive

Branding is very important. We get that, but what is concerning, though, is that when you do take the time to brand the store - make sure that the email is legible on mobile devices. I encountered a situation recently where the dealer had great verbiage but failed to make sure the email was responsive!

The email was not readable on the mobile device, which in turn meant that very few people responded. Where you only saw the image (if it loaded), and they failed to include any alt text. Meaning the customer only saw red x’s. Offering abysmal results. In order to have successful headers & footers (which are not always necessary) the design has to be mobile first! No one is pinching or zooming! You also want to take a moment to make sure that all of the images (as mentioned above) have alt text. So if the photo does not load the customer can at least identify what it is they are supposed to be viewing. Lastly, make sure all of the links are correct! If the customer clicks a broken link they are most likely to exit without converting.

Subject Lines!

Subject lines are an integral part of creating a successful email! Where depending on the client's mail system, the email could be sent to a promotions folder (p.s. Mobile devices like iOS do not auto filter them like the desktop), essentially making it invisible to the customer. The subject line should be short to the point! Namely, it should spell out what it is in the email giving the customer a reason to want to open it! Giving a strong sense of “fear of missing out” - FOMO!

Thank You We’re Closed

Believe it or not, customers are not actually always expecting to be responded to when they inquire. Where many of them - at the time of inquiring - just happen to have a few minutes to spend online. That said, if it is off hours - instead of sending a canned, useless email reminding them of what they already know - consider a custom landing page, which offers that you are currently closed but that you will be in touch the following business day.

This way you save yourself an email. And if you do actually respond to the lead after hours it is a surprise. Where the customer can appreciate your having taken the time to work with them despite the fact that you are closed.

Bottom Line: If you are paying hundreds of dollars to acquire a new customer why risk the unnecessary chance of their opting out before you have even had the chance of speaking with them?! Take a minute to review the autoresponders you currently use. Asking yourself “what - if any - value does this add to the customer's experience?

If it takes a moment to answer that question than perhaps it is time to let it go! Remembering that customers do not often read more than the second email. And if the first two emails are irrelevant or do not answer their questions the chances of them opting out are that much greater!

How do you handle autoresponders? Do you have a successful one that gets great results?

Chris K Leslie

Great post! I use autoresponders as a basic transactional type email. Letting someone know we got their message or whatever. It is always followed by a more in depth email afterwards. 

Pierre Legault

This is an awesome post Derrick. I think you are absolutely right about the use of auto-responses that are in fact useless. A landing page is a great idea.

Kelly Kleinman

Well worthy of 650+ views.  I did a study on lead follow up via carsforsale.com's platform.  Talk about poorly executed.  You didn't even know the dealership you had sent the lead to, no branding at all, and horribly designed to begin with. Two thumbs up on this one.

Derrick Woolfson

@Thanks, Kelly! This is also a huge issue with the larger auto groups - just this past month (when mystery shopping a few dealers) I received over four auto responders for the same vehicle. But each dealership within the mega group sent different pricing!! The same group! I can only imagine what their opt out rate is for customers. 

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