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CRM Triggered Personalized Customer Emails Outperform Bulk Email Campaigns for Car Dealers

Personalized Promotional Offers and Event/Time CRM Triggered Emails Seen Delivering Stronger Results than Mass Email Campaigns for Car Dealers and Automotive Marketers

The results stand in apparent contrast to study findings from MailerMailer last year. That study found that emails with the subject line personalized had lower open and click rates than those without personalization. The difference could be attributable to the sample set analyzed. The MailerMailer study took a broad view, looking at opt-in emails as a whole, while the Experian study analyzed promotional and triggered emails only.

I have seen where time spent detailing out the email templates that are triggered by lead status changes in a dealership CRM system creates a highly effective sales and marketing automation strategy. In my own personal experience, the many hours invested in creating custom email templates that are specific for such CRM activities as leaving a voice mail, trade-in estimate, payment quotes, changes in program interest rates for the specific vehicle the customer is interested in, or sending a price quote will pay off with a robust ROI. Customers receive a steady stream of personalized messages that are triggered by an event or timing that is predetermined and logically expected by the customer... When done properly, these automated highly personalized CRM triggered emails will elicit a thank you from customers for the diligence a salesperson has exercised in staying in contact with them. Quite simply, there are few other sales automation systems appropriate for car dealerships with as positive a result as robustly customized CRM implementations.

   

For CRM system triggered emails, those with the subject line personalized had an average open rate of 29.2%, about 25% higher than the rate for those broadcast email campaigns without personalization (23.3%).

  

As for unique click rates, personalized emails outperformed their counterparts for both promotional emails (3.2% vs. 2.3%) and triggered emails (6.7% vs. 4.4%).

   

The Experian study also finds personalization providing a significant lift in transaction rates and revenue per email:

  • For broadcast type promotional mailings, transaction rates were 7 times higher (0.35% vs. 0.05%), while for CRM triggered mailings, they were more than twice as large (0.62% vs. 0.25%)
       
  • For promotional mailings, revenue per email was more than 6 times higher ($0.26 vs. $0.04), and for triggered messages, they were 63% higher ($0.31 vs. $0.19).

Source 1: MarketingCharts.com/personalized-promotional-and-triggered-emails-s...

Dealer-to-Customer Emails:  
Data Shows Longer Subject Lines Get More Clicks

These emails have a CTOR 94.7% above the average (and click and open rates 276.4% and 93.2% above-average, respectively). B2B emails show a similar trend, though not quite as clear cut. Emails with subject line length of 20 characters performed above-average for all 3 metrics, though the rates generally dipped after that until recovering from 90 characters in length and up. The peak for open rate was 20 characters (24.6% above-average), while the peak for click rate was for 140 characters (82.7% above-average) and for CTOR was also 140 characters (72% above-average).

E-commerce Emails Show Mixed Trends

Data from Adestra’s subject line study indicates that when it comes to the e-commerce sector, the results are fairly mixed. Subject lines 110 characters in length performed best for open rates (122.4% above-average), but those 70-characters-long did best for click rates (91.1% above-average), while those with 30 characters achieved the best CTOR (17.4% above-average), despite the latter having below-average open and click rates. Overall, subject lines with 70 characters appeared to do the best, with above-average performance in each metric.
  

For the events sector, short subject lines (20-30 characters) got the highest open rates, while longer subject lines (120-150 characters) got the best click rates and CTOR. Publishing emails displayed the same pattern as events emails, though for charity emails, short subject lines had the highest open, click, and click-to-open rates.
  

Overall, across the 6 sectors studied, despite an open rate peak for emails with 20 characters, longer subject lines (100+ characters) appeared to deliver better open, click, and click-to-open rates. This compares with recent studies from MailerMailer and Informz, which found shorter subject lines to clearly have the best open rates, though with mixed results for click rates.
  

Word Count Results Similar

Further results from the Adestra show that word count length has a similar effect to that of character count, but is amplified. Email subject lines that are a single word have a spike in open, click, and click-to-open rates relative to the average, though all metrics dip in response rates alongside increasing word length, until 15 words and longer, when they begin to rise and hit new peaks.
  

Looking at the results by sector, some interesting patterns emerge. For e-commerce emails, 1-word subject lines had the highest open rate, but 4-word lines had the best highest CTOR relative to the average. For events emails, shorter word counts (2-5) delivered the best open rates relative to the average, but longer word counts (19 and up) delivered both the best click and click-to-open rates relative to the average.
   

For the publishing sector, the results were clearer: longer subject lines delivered generally higher-than-average open, click, and click-to-open rates, aside from a spike at 2 words. For the charity sector, short subject lines did well for open and click rates, and longer counts (14 words and up) performed worst for click-to-open rates.
  

In the B2B and B2C sectors, open, click, and click-to-open rates were generally better for longer word counts, though 2-word subject lines performed best overall in the B2B sector.

“Coupon” Fares Worst Among Offer Terms

Notably, the study finds that for the e-commerce sector, the word “coupon” has open rates that are 55.6% below the average for offers emails, with click rates also 85.8% below-average and CTOR 68.1% below-average. This appears to be in direct contradiction to results from an Epsilon study also released in July, which found that the keyword “coupon” was tops for email opens. However, that study only measured the 2011 holiday season, which may explain the discrepancy in results.

  

According to Adestra, the words “sale” and “% off” performed best in click rates and CTOR relative to the average for offer emails, and also perform among the best for open rates.

   

Other Findings:

  • For the events sector, using currency (particularly $ signs), first names, “thousands,” or “millions” can have an uplift for all 3 metrics.
       
  • For the publishing sector, “video” and “exclusive” perform very well relative to the average, while the terms “newsletter,” “research”, “report,” “forecast,” and “intelligence,” all perform significantly below-average.
       
  • For the charity sector, the words “appeal” and “donate” fare poorly compared to the average, while “give” has above-average results.
       
  • For the B2B sector, currency symbols, as well as words such as “profit,” “revenue,” “turnover,” and “referral” perform markedly above-average, while the term “B2B” shows very poor response rates.
       
  • For the B2C sector, “sale,” “% off,” “video,” “exclusive,” and “new” perform best, while “coupon,” “half price,” “free,” and currency symbols are below-average.
       
  • According to a July 2012 report [pdf] from Experian, including the word “exclusive” in the subject line can provide a lift of 14% in promotion mailings (15.9% with vs. 14% without). Similarly, subject lines including “top 10″ or “top 5″ deliver open rates 13% higher than promotional emails without them (16.1% vs. 14.3%).
        
  • Also per the Experian findings, emails asking customers to rate and review purchased items generate 2 times higher open rates, 39% higher click rates, 22% higher transaction rates, and 32% higher revenue per email.

About the Data: The Adestra study campaigns had more than 5,000 recipients per campaign, but were not limited to large campaigns. The study was conducted across the client basis without regard to list size.

Source 2: MarketingCharts.com/for-b2c-emails-longer-subject-lines-seen-gettin...

Views: 1070

Tags: Bulk, CRM, Campaigns, Coupon, Customer, Dealers, Email, Emails, Outperform, Percent Off, More…Personalized, Subject Line, Triggered

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Influencer
Comment by David T. Gould on April 3, 2013 at 12:44pm

email seems to have gone full cycle (in / out / back in) of style. Ralph, your analytics prove that an engaged consumer with a targeted message has a higher ROI. (opens, click throughs, leads, appointments and eventual sales)... DTG heads up: keep an eye out for SPAMMING your best clients (getting your CRM email address black listed) when using it (your CRM) for targeted campaigns. I personally prefer sorting customer lists and sending campaigns through 3rd party email services. Great to see real world stats and advice on a very relevant topic. Good Selling!


Influencer
Comment by Alexander Lau on March 25, 2013 at 6:30am

I'm a BIG, actually HUGE believer in using CRM's to market your wares. IMO, that's the first step in any strategy, what tools are you going to use to get where you need to be (Engagement in this digital marketing strategy). However, I am going to argue with this statement: "CRM triggered emails that use merge fields for detailed personalization generate higher transaction rates and revenue per email, details Experian Marketing Services [download page] in a new study." There are plenty of E-mail blast applications out there that allow you to personalize by merging dB fields, it's not just CRMs per se. BTW, you should be questioning the potency of your CRM by looking to see if it provides a Keyword Research Tool for subject headlines, mechanism or application of some type such as what MailChimp offers, not that I advice using MailChimp to replace your CRM. Similar to the approach you should take in terms of writing content for your website, try and understand the search volume and effectiveness of the keywords used in content, plenty of tools out there to do just that (a strategy).

I've been toying with many different approaches and tactics since about 2001, right around when E-mail marketing started to become taken much more seriously. Case specific, long-tail E-mail subject lines have always converted better for me, but you have to analyze this (and other known best practice tactics = calls-to-action, etc.) based upon your demographic not global or national data. It's up to you to find the right CRM, that markets, re-markets, re-markets, re-markets, re-markers, re-markets your efforts. I don't have time to list the segmentation process that should be used in your CRM efforts, but it can be quite vast based upon customer or potential customer settings / preferences. 

Also, take the following into consideration (could be heavily broken down):

KEEP THE E-MAIL SIMPLE

SOCIAL MEDIA INTEGRATION

DESIGN WITH THE PREVIEW PANE IN MIND

BEWARE OF FILE SIZE

AVOID FORMS OR RICH MEDIA

DESIGN FOR THE LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR

TEST TEST TEST (A/B, Split and Multivariate)

#4 in the funnel: E-mail Marketing Automation

BTW, off-topic. Have you seen the new Facebook Timeline Update Testing?

Comment by Thomas Reidy on March 25, 2013 at 5:20am

A wealth of data--thank you!

Comment by Ralph Paglia on March 24, 2013 at 4:39am

Thank you Brodie! The Internet Sales 20 Group is a special event and I truly enjoy being part of the team that delivers the insights, strategies, tactics and know-how to the dealers that attend.  One of the reasons why i lit up about this data (above) is that I spent over 200 hours fine tuning and creating the automated customer messaging and phone call triggers in Courtesy Chevrolet's CRM system when i worked there... This paid of far beyond what we could have ever imagined! Creative use of many merge fields is how to turn an automated CRM process into something that delivers a very personalized message to the dealership's customers in an automated manner.

Comment by Brodie on March 23, 2013 at 11:07pm

Thanks for the stats and Research Ralph. I knew it was higher but wasn't sure exactly how much. Will definitely focus on putting some extra time into CRM processes and automation.

PS. Thanks again for the great presentation at the IS20G

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