In automotive, smart email marketing is associated with a strong marketing strategy, but it is often under-utilized in sales. Done right, outbound communication can drive a solid impact on your bottom line: 59% of all motorists said that they visited the car lot because of an email from the dealership.

To help you and your sales team get more from your cold email outreach, we’ve ranked the most common auto dealer emails in order of sales effectiveness.

4th Place: Dealership Newsletters

  • Goal: Awareness, to keep your dealership top-of-mind
  • Audience: Everyone in your database
  • Cadence: Quarterly or monthly
  • Content: Varied, including awards won for certain vehicles on your lot, dealership news, upcoming events, community involvement, and tips for maintenance or purchasing a vehicle.
  • Type: Semi-automated

Newsletters are the least effective type of email for sales because it’s awareness-oriented. It does the job to keep your dealership top-of-mind, but there are so many messages it’s hard to focus your audience on coming in for a test drive.

Pro tips to make your newsletters more sales oriented:

First, all of your email marketing needs to be mobile-friendly. 59% of all email opens occur on mobile now, and 23% of all visits to auto dealership websites are triggered through email links. Make it as easy as possible for your leads to consume your content and visit your website.

Second, try to transition from newsletters to sales event emails sent on a more frequent, monthly basis (more on those below). Currently, 34% of dealers send emails seasonally, quarterly, or bimonthly. When you get in the rhythm of sending monthly updates, you can more specifically frame the content around a promo or upcoming sales event.

3rd Place: Sales Event Email

  • Goal: Engage by coming to the event or asking us about the sale
  • Audience: Everyone in your database or all leads
  • Cadence: At least monthly
  • Content: Date, time, and details about the incentive
  • Type: Semi-automated

Event-specific emails are more effective than newsletters because the content is optimized for conversion, not just engagement. Its message is very specific: take advantage of the sales event. Anyone who converts on these emails with a response, call, booking, or visit to your lot is taking a huge step toward purchasing a car from you.

Pro tips to make your event emails more sales oriented:

Start by establishing a follow-up strategy based on these emails. For everyone who clicks on your content, call or email them to personally invite them to your event. If you want to get more granular, segment your audience by breaking your leads into groups based on their vehicle interests. If you cater your follow-up content to their interests by highlighting relevant promos or vehicles, you will increase your conversion rates.

2nd Place: Personal Sales Outreach

  • Goal: Engage in a conversation
  • Audience: An individual lead
  • Cadence: Flexible, depending on engagement
  • Content: Focused solely on the lead and their vehicle interests
  • Type: Manual

This is more effective than standard mass emails because you are one-on-one with your lead. Although this method is heavily manual, it is highly effective. You can invite them in for a test drive, layering in additional details that address their specific needs and vehicle interests. You cannot get this granular with newsletters or sales event emails.

Pro tips to make your personal sales emails more effective:

23% of all visits to auto dealership websites are triggered through email links.

Although it’s time consuming, don’t just cut and paste the same email template. It’s the personal element that makes this effective, so personalize more than just the lead’s name in your outreach. This includes your email responses! You might not think this applies to you, but 87% of consumers say that dealer email replies didn’t speak to the value of the vehicle they were interested in. In that same study, 56% of consumers said dealer email replies didn’t even address availability of the vehicle they inquired about. Is this personalization time-consuming? Sure. But worth it? Absolutely.

1st Place: Inventory-based Email

  • Goal: Convert by asking about a specific vehicle or booking an appointment
  • Audience: All leads, personalized for each lead
  • Cadence: Ongoing, depending on engagement
  • Content: Focuses solely on the prospect and their vehicle interests
  • Type: Automated

Dynamic, inventory-based email allows you to automatically send emails with content that is hyper-personalized to your lead’s vehicle interests. As a result, it serves as a scalable solution to personalized email communication.

This email type is slightly different and significantly more effective than your standard triggered emails. Triggered emails typically deliver canned templates after a lead takes a specific action (like viewing a VDP or completing a form) on your website. Dynamic, inventory-based emails are initiated by lead activity on your website, and the content delivered is personalized based on the inventory each lead viewed on your website.

With an inventory-based email system, you can trigger personalized emails to be sent to interested shoppers when you lower prices and add or remove inventory to your website. The vehicle and price information in each email will be unique to each customer and the inventory they’ve viewed. For shoppers who are keeping an eye out for a specific model or price point, these personalized emails contain the exact updates they want to receive.

Pro tips to make your inventory-based email more sales efficient:

Take advantage of dynamic email to help move specific inventory off your lot.

A/B testing is key here. Try different subject lines, using different types of personalization or content, to see what can increase your open rates and audience reach. Experimenting with other elements such as frequency can improve results as well. Be sure to only test one variable at a time to learn what change delivers the uptick in engagement!

You can also take advantage of inventory-based email to help move specific inventory off your lot. Update your website as soon as you get direction from your OEM or decide on a new price. Doing so will trigger personalized emails for only those customers interested in that “must-move” vehicle.

Ready to get the highest return from email at your auto dealership? Contact us today or schedule a free demo to learn more about crafting the best email strategy for sales effectiveness at your car dealership.