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A name without an email address is a wasted opportunity. For every 10,000 contacts pulled from dealership management systems, on average only 3,000 have deliverable email addresses. This means that most dealers are unable to send emails to 70 percent of their past, current and potential customers.


That's money left on the table, folks. Email is probably your dealership's best form of marketing for response rates and ROI. Our research shows that if a dealership can increase their email collection rate a mere 10 percentage points--from 33 percent to 43 percent, for example--they will see an average of $56,000 more in customer pay over a year.


The good news is increasing email collection rates is not rocket science. It just requires focus. I recommend setting a goal for 2015: increase your dealership's email collection rate by 10 percent. This is doable with a two-pronged approach: improve the list you have and improve your email collection rates with new and existing customers.


Here are three best practice tips to get you there:


1) Do an Email Append. Run your contact database against a national append database. These companies take the known customer data such as names and postal address and match them with current email addresses. After you get the new email addresses, we recommend running a campaign that introduces your dealership and lets your customers choose whether to opt in for exclusive specials and coupons, or to unsubscribe. Typically dealerships that do this will see a seven to nine percent response rate, which results in at least 700 more confirmed email addresses per 10,000 contacts.


2) Get Your Sales & Service Team on Board. Much like attaining an important sales or service revenue goal, attaining an email collection goal is more likely to happen if it's a team event. Make this the topic of an all-hands-on-deck meeting. Explain the facts and figures, and ask employees' help to brainstorm email collection processes. If you can get them involved, they're more likely to follow the processes.


Consider offering your employees an incentive. If your CRM or DMS has a tool to track ROI associated with email campaigns, offer employees a quarterly or year-end spiff or gift card. If the dealership meets the email collection goal, the employees receive their reward. Schedule one meeting at the end of every quarter to track progress.


3) Offer Customers An Incentive. Today's consumers are sophisticated enough to know that giving an email address usually means they're opting into an email list. Have your employees brainstorm a list of scripts to overcome objections, such as: "We occasionally email coupons that we only make available to customers via email. Are you sure you don't want to receive these exclusive offers?"


In today's world, email addresses are no more personal than mailing addresses or phone numbers, and 81 percent of consumers surveyed said they were more likely to make a purchase as a result of a targeted email (source: Harris Interactive). So get out there and start collecting! What do you think? I'd love to hear any feedback or your tips for better email collection rates.

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Tags: AutoLoop, customer, direct, email, engagement, mail, marketing, retention, service


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