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Every automobile dealer I speak with nowadays is focused on email marketing. It’s "cheap", seemingly easy, and lightning fast to send out. It’s easy to see why a lot of automobile dealers are looking to shift their marketing efforts to email.
But are we taking an easy way out that will end up hurting us more than helping us long term ?
I see a growing trend of doing anything and everything to collect email addresses in an effort to reduce marketing costs. From the simple “Would you prefer we communicate with you by email” to contest entries
(with email being the only method of being advised that you won), to using services such as email appending. I’ve even seen some dealership reward or fine their employees for capturing or not capturing an email
address at the point of sale. And while some methods capture more email addresses than others, I’m convinced that quality is much better than quantity.
Leaving aside SPAM laws, like the US CAN-SPAM act, or the upcoming legislation on electronic communication that the Canadian government is working on (Bills C-27 & C-29), I believe email should only be used, when it is the customer’s actual preference.
Many Dealer Principals tell me they do a terrible job collecting email addresses from their clients. It is felt that in today’s day and age, everyone must have an email address, and therefore, a business should be able to capture 80-100% of their email addresses.
I argue that as long as you ask for the client’s preference, then you’ve done a good job. In fact, I’ve noticed lately that email response rates have been trending downwards as the penetration rates have increased. Is it because of consumer behavior? Or is it due to the spam filters? I’m not sure yet, but once I’m done analyzing the data, I’m sure I’ll post my findings. Let’s face it, inboxes are getting more and more cluttered. As more and more retailers attempt to get a consumer’s attention, it’s getting increasingly difficult to get that all too critical “open”.
So what’s the answer ? Well, I believe that email has to be a portion of your marketing plan. If you’re planning a promotion, use your traditional channels, like direct mail, but deploy an email as well to reinforce the campaign. If you have the means of tracking a customers’ communication preferences, then offer a method for the client to
communicate that to you. And from that point forward, if they choose email, then you can send them email only.
Whatever you do, don’t simply rely on email. As the saying goes, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Have a fall back plan for bounces, or non-responders. If you’re not reaching someone by email, mail is the natural alternative, and if you’re not ready for it, you’re leaving a lot of customers untouched. As another saying goes…. if you don’t take care of your customer, someone else will.
I could go on for pages, but let’s keep it simple for today.
What do you think ? Please leave a comment below. Tell me about your thoughts on the matter. Let me know what you think by leaving me a comment below. Let me know what your results have been with email
taken from my personal blog at www.davidleger.ca