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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Shawn Ryder

Shawn Ryder Director, Automotive Web Solutions

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Choose Your Adventure - Telling the Story Automatically

Growing up, we all read the "Choose Your Own Adventure" books, right?

"There are three doors and an elevator. In one corner a lady at a desk is writing." Do you go through one of the doors, get on the elevator or talk to the lady?

Perhaps you talk to the lady and she gives you advice on which way to go... or perhaps she has a shotgun... oh, the fun of these adventures.

While dealers aren't facing life decisions when dealing with customer adventures, asking questions and making sure relevant feedback is provided is certainly important.  We send out shotgun (pun intended) emails to our lists and hope somebody sees something that catches their eye rather than simply removing themselves from the list because the content isn't relevant to their needs any longer.

The best way to build a story for customers is to focus on how they answer questions and provide feedback. But sending out emails and asking them to fill out a survey isn't going to get the results we are looking for with every customer. 

However, what if the customer starts the story for you? And then you offer paths to go down which will provide each customer with relevant information specific to them, but not intrusive.

There are a couple ways we can start the process:

  • Using current customer information

  • Sending messages to new leads based on their interest

We have some customers driving a mid-size vehicle that is now a few years old. What if we send them an email with information about the newest model of that vehicle? What if a lead comes in through a third party, web site, walk-in, referral, etc. and they show interest in full size trucks? Based on that information you can build a flow to provide relevant and timely information. 

Provide the lead with information about the models that they're interested in (or specific model if they request specific model info) and then base follow up information on how they interact with the initial email.

Once the lead opens the email, we can track that. But, using technology, additional emails can be triggered based on the lead opening the email, not opening, clicking on a link or showing interest in a specific link (my personal favorite). Some examples:

  • Should lead click on a link about safety, set up an email to go out an hour after that with a link to a YouTube video on safety features of the vehicle.

  • Should lead click on a link about the navigation, send them an email with benefits of having that included in the car so they don't need to stop for directions.

  • Within the safety email, the lead clicks on the video to watch safety. Then send follow-up info on the number of air bags compared to industry standard.

  • The lead looks at navigation information and technology is their interest. Automatically send email about the sound system, connectivity or anything relevant.

  • If the lead does not open an email, trigger a follow-up automatically after a couple days with additional information and start the process again from that point.

The ideas for building the flow are limitless but at the same time automate engagement specific to the path the reader has chosen (or not...) during the adventure. 

While writing the book, or in this case creating the process, may take some planing and thinking ahead the benefit of a personally targeted custom path for each lead and customer will lead to more happy endings by saving the princess. Or, more important to dealers, gaining more customers and selling more cars.

Arnold Tijerina
Storytelling works. Just saying.

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