We see occasional columns about “the death of email” and other attention-grabbing titles. We still open email (this edition of AutoSuccess was emailed). Email is alive and should work in cooperation with all of your advertising and customer service. Below are some strategies I employ when advising on or sending emails on behalf of a network of buy-here-pay-here franchisees. Marketing support is a key feature of a franchise system.
I automate whenever I can — new leads from the website, maintenance and more. It’s the bulk of the email I send. Realizing not all companies or email service providers (ESP) are made equal, there are “email blast” strategies to consider too.
Quality Over Quantity
Ten thousand is a lot more than 500. For short-term results, bulk looks great, but you’ll pay a long-term price in domain health with 5% open rates. I hear you: “Five percent of 100,000 is 5,000,” but bad email after bad email adds up. Instead, email folks who are recently engaged through email or website activity. Many ESPs can be configured for this intel. Twenty percent of 500 is 100, but you’re going to be a lot closer to selling to those 100 than you are on even 100 of the 5,000 I mentioned above.
I don’t discount “old” leads outright and conduct occasional outreach to reengage. Moderation is key.
At times, you may want to create a special offer for one communication method to test results, and that’s fine, but there’s something to be said for staying on-message across your channels. Furthermore, there’s something to be said for staying on-brand. Use the same colors and imagery across the board (color-themed holidays aside, of course).
The concept is talked about ad nauseam in marketing for a reason. Show your readers that you know who they are. Use names and highlight vehicles they browsed or purchased (see the “promotions” tab in your email — copy and repeat).
It seems odd that the start of the email would be near the bottom of this list, but there’s a reason for that. Let the copy drive the subject, personalize it and put yourself in the receiver’s shoes. Catchy can work too (see the title of this column).
Are there legal trigger terms in your email (ahem, $199 down)? Do you have the correct disclaimers? Emailing anyone you shouldn’t be? Review your opt-in language and consult legal on CAN-SPAM laws and opt-in rules. Did they complete a hard opt-in? Or passive? For leads, always aim for the hard opt-in (your website or well-designed opt-in on Facebook). For customers, consult your legal team, but you are generally fine to contact due to the financial transaction you both entered into. Business address and unsubscribe options should always be included in an email.
Did It Work?
Our sales teams are the gatekeepers to closing a sale. How did my email help? First and foremost: Was it opened? Deliverability is great, but you check your USPS mailbox every day. You know what junk mail is — delivered but unopened. Did your leads click your links? Did they make appointments? Can you verify a sale by those who opened an email? Ask yourself or your email vendor. Many ESPs can even tell you who opened the email for follow-up (but avoid the creepy factor when you call).
Due to the joined success and efforts of our franchise and company-owned store network, we’re able to implement these strategies as well as test in one of the several markets we operate in. For those going it alone, my advice is to follow what works, test incrementally and engage with nuance.