Email Marketing Process

kelly hazlehurst

I work for a large dealer group and they like to do a lot of email blasts for marketing.  Here are the problems with what we are currently doing:

  1. It typically is a fly by the night idea that doesn't tie into our other marketing.   There is no firm schedule or strategy.
  2. It is very labor intensive to execute for 17 stores.  Currently designing in Mail Chimp and transferring HTML code to our CRM. Plus have to get approval from some manufacturers.
  3. Because it is so labor intensive it is hard to do really targeted messages
  4. Difficutly to get material from stores, i.e. offers, videos, etc.
  5. Stats are strong typically around 90%+ delivered, 9-10% opened and 1% opt outs.  Obviously depends on the email.  But the results are very low.  We can tie back showroom traffic and solds back to the emails.  For example, Shelly Smith we sold a car too and sent an email too.  Not sure if email triggered the sale but that is how we can look at it.  I have sent out 12+ emails and only 3 cars sold.  

Could the lack of results be the creative is just not that good (been doing this a long time so I don't really think that is it)?

Could it be the sales floor isn't tracking well enought?

Could it be that emails don't really have an impact?

Also, does anyone use a vendor out there that I should look into?

Thanks for the feedback!


Chris K Leslie

It could be all of the above really. Because we aren't in a traditional tansactional based ecommerce world. It's really hard to track the results when we send out these types of emails other than the stuff you are already looking at. 

I am using both Mailchimp and our CRM to send emails and both have similar results as far as delivery, opens, ctr. etc. I am convinced though that Mailchimp has a better delivery rate. But I cant prove it... yet... 

I've been in your position of having to turn things around in an ungodly amount of time with no plan, strategy or whatever else. After throwing a lot of things off the table in my office I decided to take a different approach. 

Now, I build my emails the way I want to the day the new incentives comeout. I will use a lot of the OEM assets which works really well. Most of the GSM's and GM's are in the middle of month end when I am doing this which works out great because by the time they are done with month end I just show them the new thing I built and more oftent than not everyone is cool with it. 

It may not be exactly the way I would like to do but at least this way is the best way I could do it with what I have. . 

I hope that helps a little bit. I know how frustrating it is when everyone around you wants to wait until the last minute to do things. 

Mark Rask

Like Chris said could be all of the above? What crm are you using?

Susan Foster

So are you only sending emails to the customers in your CRM?  There could be numerous issues there -- more recent customers in the CRM (whether they bought from you or not) may have already purchased a vehicle, so they are out of market and not interested in sales offers -- those are the group that you want to segment and email service offers.   For the older customers in your CRM, email addresses may have changed, you may have been blocked, etc) so you are loosing access to them.  If you are going  to email only your CRM customers, then you need to be sure to segment them and target them with the correct message (i.e. for customers who leased that are gettinig close to the end of thier term, send out emails with new Lease offers; for newer customers - send service specials, etc) to ensure the best effectiveness.

If you are using a third party vendor, be sure to target correctly -- there are so many ways to target -- registration data, Make/Model owners, Credit Score, Families with kids, Income level, Auto intenders, etc.   You want to be sure to reach the consumers who would be interested in what you have to offer.  The other thing I recommend with a third party vendor is to ensure that they don't purchase their lists -- these can sometimes be outdated data and show lower success in delivery.  Look for the vendor who 'rents' thier list -- these prove to be more up to date and accurate and you will see higher delivery results.

One of the things that we provide after the email deploys is a list of Names with Addressess of all consumers who opened the email -- this proves to be successful when following up via direct mail with these consumers based on the offer in the email -- my customers see a higher close ratio that they can attribute specifically to this campaign based on the consumers bringing in or mentioning the follow up direct mail piece as that specific offer only goes to them.

Also, instead of waiting for each of your dealers to give you offers or creative, make sure you have access to OEM Assets sites - then you can pull direct pre-approved assets for the creative pieces of your email.  This will save you time and ensure that offers and incentives are correct.  You can also assist your dealerships in receiving Co op dollars from products you use in the Service departments -- A lot of tire companies and oil companies will offer co op dollars just to put thier logo in your service specials as long as you don't have a competing company listed also.

Hope this helps you some! 

Let me know if you need any assistance or information!

Susan Foster --



Mark Rask

Susan, I mainlu use my crm....however what you just mentioned makes me think that i should look at some other avenues 

Shawn Ryder

Kelly - would certainly like to offer some advice in regards to using the current customer database - are you sending out "blanket" emails to the masses? Using tools you can build targeted lists based on endless data that has been captures - obviously if you are selling model XX and somebody body that model 5 years ago - a great reason to contact them with promotional material with new features, functions and benefits. 

Then set up a campagin that will allow you to track opens / not opens and link clicks to send them on a path to determine messaging. For example if you offer tire service and they open, then click on a particular link to view tires on site - a day later send them information on that particular tire - again benefits and features. Then if they don't interact send a coupon the next day.... Email can be great for targeted messaging based on interacation and customized for the indvidual needs. Sound good?

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