Email marketing can be a powerful tool in support of your sales efforts if it is well executed. It’s affordable; it delivers results; and you can easily measure its effectiveness. Small- to medium-sized dealerships can stand out by keeping in touch with both prospects and customers in a very relevant way. Following are answers to two of the most frequently asked questions by dealers who want to either get started on email marketing or do a checkup of their current strategy.
How do I determine the right frequency?
There are no hard rules about the correct frequency for sending marketing emails, but there are some effective guidelines:
- Stay in touch with prospects once a month to remain top-of-mind.
- Recent surveys of dealers using a lead management tool reveal that the highest open and click-through rates are from emails sent on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. local time.
- Test what works for you. Try sending your campaigns on different days and times within the aforementioned guidelines. Once you’ve figured out the timing that works best for you, be sure to maintain a consistent email schedule. Your customers will begin to anticipate your emails at a certain frequency, which will improve open and click-through rates. Additionally, some Internet Service Providers (ISP) may see irregular sending patterns as a possible SPAM.
How do I create content that sells?
A compelling offer is the cornerstone of valuable, effective content. Give recipients a good reason to view your email and get what they want, need or expect.
- Bring something to the table – Whether it's DIY maintenance tips, specials or promotions, your emails must deliver value – not self-promotion. Tie your recipients’ needs with the benefits provided by your products or services. Educate first, then promote. For example, include a Spring Tune-up Checklist, along with a special offer, making sure that you include both the standard price and the sale price or discount. Value-packed emails that truly help will make recipients look forward to future emails, or least welcome emails from the same sender.
- Lead the way – Include a clear call to action that tells recipients exactly what to do next. Effective hyperlinks include “click here to learn more,” “sign up here,” and “a link to a map and directions”. These measurable links provide great insights on the effectiveness of your campaign. They also narrow down a list of highly interested prospects. For example, if you send an email introducing a new Honda off-road bike with a link that says “click here to view a video of the 2013 Honda CRF450R!” and 60 recipients click through to watch it, these prospects represent a new, more defined audience that should be further targeted with additional touch points, including a phone call.
According to recent surveys on consumer channel preferences, email marketing continues to greatly influence consumer buying decisions. When you do it right, you will stay connected with both prospects and customers, turn more leads into sales, and convert more buyers into returning customers.
Bob McCann is director of education at ARI, a leading provider of technology-enabled business solutions for dealers, distributors and manufacturers in the powersports, marine, RV and outdoor power equipment industries. Products and services include e-commerce-enabled websites, lead generation, lead management, search engine optimization, search engine marketing and e-catalogs (parts, garments and accessories).