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Like many people, worthless emails reach our inbox every single day. Recently, there has been one common theme that every piece of spam or advertisement email has in common. That is the email Header.

It is very commonplace to insert a Header into all dealership emails. The majority of mystery shop responses we receive include the dealership’s header emblazoned across the top. While we understand that it immediately brands your dealership to the person opening the email, we believe their time has passed. Headers have simply become synonymous with junk mail and automated responses.

So we at DealerKnows Consulting are advising our clients to remove the dealership headers from their emails. (This can often be done with the click of a button inside your CRM, but contact their support if you need assistance as to how to do this.) Whether it be automated or not, a personal response or otherwise, don’t force a prospect to scroll below a header to read your message.

Instead, insert a small version of your company logo/brands/address into your team’s email signature. If the prospect sees an image below, maybe they’ll be intrigued to look below and review more of the email rather than less.

The one caveat with this is detailed html templates and “first quote” emails with multiple graphics, scenarios, images, and the like. When assembling and sending these heavy-on-html templates, that have borders, it is customary to continue including a small banner across the top.

We haven’t read any data associated with the removal of headers, it is just our personal taste that spurred this blog. Since this is the first we know of anyone combatting their necessity, maybe we just beat others to the punch, but we feel it is time to decapitate the top from your emails. That is why DealerKnows is proclaiming…”Off with their Headers.”

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Tags: consulting, dealerknows, email, headers, joe, templates, training, webb


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Comment by Stan Sher on August 2, 2012 at 9:18pm

Good stuff

Comment by Tom Gorham on July 31, 2012 at 5:41pm

Hey Joe, I happen to like people who are anal about doing a great job, like you.  (There, I said that word.)  I applaud you for doing A/B testing for your customers.    But I can't help feeling that taking away the company ID in emails is counter-intuitive.  I don't dispute your findings, but as a consumer myself, if I have requested information or if I'm corresponding with a company, I not only expect to see their ID (logo) on their email, but I look for it.  Despite all the phishing emails received, it adds a little weight to their email.  I expect the content to be personal and I can spot a canned response a mile away.

Comment by David T. Gould on July 31, 2012 at 5:05pm

great responses gentlemen. I appreciate your input. (as always) DTG

Comment by Ralph Paglia on July 31, 2012 at 4:07pm

David, there are two stages in the way Spam Filters do their job... The first is a series of triggers that when initiated causes an email to pass through the Spam Filter's scrutiny. The most notable of which is any message sent from an email address that the recipient has never sent an outbound email to.  This is what usually gets dealer emails spam filter screened when responding to an online web lead form... A fundamental flaw in the use of web based form strategies... Anyways, even after an email sender (dealer) is no longer on the "Customer Never Sent Them An Email" list, if an email contains certain types of images, this will also, in many cases, trigger being scanned by the ISP spam filter.  Now, for sure the images used by dealers in the headers do not constitute the types of images spam filters are looking for... unless they feature scantily clad women or men with lots of flesh tones, but the whole idea is not to get your emails scanned in the first place. Any time your email triggers a scan, there is a high probability that the scan will now detect a combination of words, such as "sale" or "opportunity" that will trigger getting blocked by the ISP based spam filter. 

If you have ever used the ADM Professional Community messaging or sharing content application with other ADM members, you may have noticed that we have installed a "Spam Filter Triggering Content Detector" which will ask you if you want to go back and change the offending words... These words are not necessarily going to get your email to the ADM Member blocked, but are known to trigger the Spam Filter review process.  That is why I often add a hyphen to break up "Opportunity" into "Opp-ortunity" so as (theoretically) not to trigger spam filter inspection.

Always remember... Some email content will trigger the Spam Filter inspection, while other content will actually get the message blocked.  Two different issues. The use of certain image headers is known to trigger inspection, but what will get your message blocked will most likely not be the headers, but instead your dealership's use of "salesy" verbiage.


Comment by Joe Webb on July 31, 2012 at 4:03pm

Hello David,
While we usually do a/b test almost everything regarding emails and processes (as we are anal to the point of insanity regarding that - if I can say that word :), in this instance email headers are simply something that we've grown to dislike personally.  While all customers are different, I don't ever hearing stories from any of our dealer clients where consumers have told them how great their email header is.  For that and many other reasons, we feel it likely affects readership and credibility of whether it is a personal email or not.

Comment by David T. Gould on July 31, 2012 at 3:14pm

@joe, A / B testing? 

@ralph, I'd like to hear more on the spam filter rankings of email images vs. location. I have been sensitive to image size via compression but was not aware that the spam filters were watching where the images are (especially within a framed border).

great topic Joe, 



Comment by Ralph Paglia on July 31, 2012 at 2:20pm

Good guidance... I think the people that wrk n a dealership like the branded headers a heck of a lot more than their customers do, and we know that Spam Filters are not fond of image headers either.

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