Over the past ten years, email marketing has consistently generated the highest ROI for marketers. And when it’s done right, it can serve as the foundation for your dealership’s digital marketing strategy.

So, check out these checklists – and make sure your dealership email marketing campaigns are on track. From what technologies to employ; to what strategic messages to deliver; to what design rules to follow, these trends will keep your dealership ahead of the competition.

  • Best Practices
  • Technology
  • Personalization
  • Subject Lines
  • Copy & Call to Action (CTA)
  • Design

In fact, print these checklists and share them with everyone who plays a role in creating your email marketing – the copywriter, designer or anyone else who can help build stronger, more strategic dealership email campaigns.

Car Dealer Email Marketing Best Practices

Think about expanding your email marketing strategy – transactional and triggered emails increase open rates by up to 69 percent and click-through rates (CTR) by 165 percent.

Add social sharing buttons. A study found this increases CTR for emails by 158 percent.

Segment campaigns – they average 14% better open rates than non-segmented ones. Consider demographics, geotargeting, where buyers are in their journey and more.

Design responsive emails with mobile in mind – 67% of users open email on mobile devices.

  • Make buttons big enough for the average finger/thumb to click on them.
  • Write compelling preheader text so users open the full email.
  • Balance the size of images and text.

Integrate emails with other marketing channels. More and more businesses are doing it – 67% are tightly or adequately integrated.

Take advantage of artificial intelligence (AI) and create emails that target customer interests, behaviors, intentions, motivations, and more. After all, 90% of consumers find personalized content as “very” or “somewhat” appealing.

Keep your email list clean and up to date – 30% of subscribers change their email addresses every year.

Use storytelling to captivate consumers – images, videos, quotes, and reviews. Think “behind the scenes,” inventory “in the wild,” dogs in cars, you get the idea.

Technology for Your Car Dealer Email Marketing

Tap into AI and machine learning systems – and personalize emails with individual subject lines, send times, vehicles, offers, and more.

Use live content, which is populated when it’s opened and not when it’s sent. A great tool for current inventory info.

Create a sense of urgency and excitement. Use a countdown feature – days, hours, minutes, seconds – to promote sales and events. (The Ultimate Guide to Email Design Best Practices for Marketers)

Personalization for Car Dealer Email Marketing

Avoid using “No-Reply” in the sender’s email address. Customers are much more likely to open emails when they come from a human being.

Include an email signature. Ditto the thing about people preferring humans to machines or no one at all.

Personalize subject lines – emails with them are 26% more likely to be opened.

Personalize email messages to increase CTR and conversions – by 14% and 10% respectively, according to a recent study. It makes sense. Customers read emails if they’re relevant – and 72% delete them if they aren’t.

Car Dealer Email Marketing Subject Lines  

Add an incentive to your subject line – and increase open rates by as much as 50 percent. (17 Email Marketing Best Practices that Actually Drive Results)

Keep subject lines short and concise. Shoot for 41 characters or seven words. (But 30 to 50 characters are okay, too.)

Use some tried-and-true subject line formulas for getting customers to open emails.

  • Question: Gets shoppers thinking, e.g., What’s 2020’s most popular safety feature?
  • How To: Lets shoppers know what they’re going to learn, e.g., How to earn $250 on referrals
  • Scarcity: Motivates shoppers, e.g., Sale ends in less than 24 hours
  • Announcement: Creates excitement, e.g., Introducing this year’s newest models (the words “introducing” and “new” increased open rates by 9% and 3% in a recent study).

Run A/B tests – split your email list into two groups. Send each group an email with a different subject line to test which one pulls the best open and click-through rates.

Jumpstart your A/B tests with some of these ideas:

  • With and without an offer.
  • Different signs for offer – % and $.
  • With and without emojis.
  • With and without a customer’s name.
  • With and without a limited time offer.

Car Dealer Email Marketing Copy & CTA 

Send a test email to a co-worker. Can they quickly tell what the message and CTA are? If not, the copy needs more polish.

Make sure the landing page (if you’ve got one) matches the email – headline, copy, content, design, etc. They should feel like they go together. Because they do.

Be clear about what you want people to do – and how they need to do it. Use “action” verbs. Call, stop by the dealership, visit our website, schedule a service appointment, come in for a test drive, etc.

Keep copy short. According to research, email attention spans are only about 11 seconds. So write with that in mind.

Include questions – emails with one to three of them are 50 percent more likely to get responses than those without questions.

Write preview text (also referred to as pre-headers) – the short summary that appears after subject lines when you look at emails in your inbox. They can help increase open rates.

Car Dealer Email Marketing Design 

Add video – research shows it significantly boosts conversion, increasing CTR by 200-300%

Stick to one or two typefaces so your emails don’t get “junked” up. Customers should pay attention to your offers, not your Comic Sans

Keep your main message and CTA “above the fold” – so people can see it without scrolling. If you don’t, up to 70% won’t see your call to action. Repeat the CTA several times in different places and formats (e.g., text and buttons).

Put your logo on the upper left-hand side of emails. Studies show that’s where eyes go first. But the center also works.

Use spacing, bullets, and dividing lines to increase legibility and visibility.

Consider including GIFs – they’ve been shown to increase conversion by 103%.

One last thing. If you’re looking to offload some of the “to do’s” on these email marketing checklists, let’s talk. Partnering with dealerships and putting best practices to work for them is what our team does best.

Contact us to learn more about trends in automotive email marketing – and how your dealership can stay on top of them.    

Download this targeted email marketing guide from LOCALiQ to learn how to make email marketing work for you.