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Email Marketing for Automotive Dealers: Myths vs. Facts

The need for online marketing has grown exponentially in recent years for businesses of all sizes and across industries, with retail automotive at the top of the list. While auto dealers, steeped in legacy media like newspapers, radio, and television, were initially laggards when it came to digital advertising, most successful dealers today are embracing it with enthusiasm, especially email marketing.

If you are considering an email campaign for your dealership, you might find yourself buried under a pile of conflicting information. Take heart; the truth is out there.

To make things easier for you, here are four of the biggest myths debunked:

Who Reads Emails!
Perhaps the most common myth about email marketing is that email is an obsolete medium and that people are no longer interested in reading emails, but prefer social media platforms and messaging software to get and share information. Well, the statistics show otherwise. Over 70% of adults in the U.S. have active email accounts that they check regularly throughout the day. Communicate with them through email marketing and bring them into your sales funnel.

Email Marketing is Expensive
Yes, social media marketing is free, but the two are not mutually exclusive. You can include both email marketing and social media in your digital marketing strategy. While email marketing might cost more than social media marketing, on the whole, it costs considerably less than most other online marketing channels – and way less than legacy media such as television and newspaper that require sizable production budgets on top of the actual media buy. Also, consider that once you opt for email marketing, the campaign can be designed specifically to meet your needs and budget rather than shoehorning you into an inflexible production budget and schedule that are beyond your means. In other words, email marketing is not expensive.

Emails Might Drive Potential Customers Away
Smart (and legal) email campaigns target only consumers who have double opted in to receive the type of offer you are sending. In other words, they welcome the information. Sure, some people don't like receiving email ads. So they opt out and never see your message - unlike television, radio, and email advertising that intrudes on them regardless of what they want. Legitimate email campaigns avoid spam like the plague. So, the truth is, your email campaign, properly conducted, can and should have a higher positive response rate than any other medium.

Email Marketing + Automotive Dealers = Won’t Work
Statistics derived from the campaigns of automotive dealers nationwide who currently employ email marketing show that the campaigns have measurably increased their sales, service RO's and customer bases. Email campaigns have on average a 9%-to-12% open rate, and of those, as much as a 14% click through. Moreover, customer retention has also improved after these dealers implemented their email marketing strategy. So, should anyone tell you that email marketing for automotive dealers won’t work, just smile and walk away.

Four of the most common email marketing myths debunked. It's smart to do your research, and to hire a professional digital agency with a proven track record. Ask about the list, the deployment methods, the creative approach, and local, state and federal compliance. Make the agency define double opt-in, CAN SPAM, Privacy Protection, White-List and Black-List. When you're convinced that you're in good hands, turn your back on the myths, and go with the facts that lead to positive, measurable, sales gains and a whole new customer base.

Eric Thornsbrough
Eric Thornsbrough
As the Marketing Director for ePush! Eric Thornsbrough oversees business developement, strategic marketing and consults with dealer agencies who want to leverage complex data and new technologies.

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