7 Questions to Ask Your Agency About Automotive Email Marketing
When considering a big purchase — like a vehicle, a fishing boat, or even a new smartphone — you likely spend time doing research and asking questions so you can be confident in your decision.
Similarly, if you’re a dealership owner or marketing manager looking to hire an automotive marketing agency to send emails on your behalf, you must do your homework.
At 9 Clouds, we believe in free education, and that’s why we’re helping you uncover the most important questions you should ask your agency about:
So, whether you already have an agency sending your dealership emails or are considering hiring one, let’s go fishing for answers to the seven questions you need to ask your agency about email marketing!
The Importance of Strategic Email Marketing
If your dealership isn’t using email to connect with customers and leads, you’re missing out on a valuable way to communicate with (and learn from) your contacts in real time.
We’ve explained why email still reigns as the queen of automotive marketing and how nurturing a long-term email relationship builds trust with your contacts. Because it allows you to segment, automate, and qualify your database, email is the best way to send relevant offers to your audience.
Email doesn’t work alone, though. Combined with a larger inbound marketing strategy and complemented by your traditional marketing efforts, you can reach the right people at the right time in the right places.
Listen, email marketing will never die, but you’ll only reel in successful results if you do it well. So, don’t let your agency off the hook by not asking these seven questions about automotive email marketing.
The 7 Email Marketing Questions You Must Ask
1. Who Will Receive Our Emails?
We’ll start off by telling you who shouldn’t receive your emails: every single person in your database.
Hopefully, your agency isn’t okay with sending email “blasts,” hoping to get a bite from a few hungry leads. If your agency can’t help you send a specific message to qualified people (say, for example, information on your Jeep clearance event to past Jeep customers), the only thing your agency is helping you with is cluttering people’s inboxes with information that’s not relevant to them.
Also, a reputable agency isn’t going to send emails to addresses that it’s purchased (rather than acquired legally). If it does, throw it back like a bad catch. That’s not the agency for you.
2. Will You Use Our CRM Data? How?
As a follow-up to the first question, ask your agency if and how it will use data from your customer relationship management (CRM) system.
At 9 Clouds, we access our clients’ CRMs to import their sales and leads into their email marketing platforms. This is how we create and segment lists, build automated workflows (more on that below), and keep our clients’ data in tip-top shape.
Get on the same page with your agency about what information it needs from your CRM and why. With the right customer information, your agency can cast your email strategy out far.
3. Which Email Platform Do You Use?
Ask your agency about the pros, cons, and smart capabilities of its email platform of choice and how that platform fits into your store’s marketing goals.
Maybe you’ve already been using an email service and don’t see a good reason to switch, or you’re not ready to take on the costs of a certain platform. If your agency can’t work with the platform you prefer, or if you’re not willing to work with its recommendation, that agency may not be a great fit — and that’s okay. There are other fish in the sea.
4. Do You Have Experience with Automated Email Workflows?
Email automation is the blue whale in the ocean of email. If your agency isn’t automating any of your emails, ask why not.
An automated email (sometimes called a workflow email) is a marketing email sent automatically in response to audience behavior or data.
For example: Nemo Jones views four new trucks on your website. One day later, he receives an email promoting your current new truck specials. He clicks on a link. Because of that action, he receives another follow-up email later that week.
Thanks to email automation, you don’t have to send these emails manually. (Who could even keep up?) Experience with email workflows is a must-have when you’re looking for a great digital marketing agency.
5. Do You Have Case Studies of Email Success with Other Clients?
If the answer isn’t yes, try a different fishin’ hole.
Even if an agency doesn’t have clients similar to your dealership, ask for email success stories anyway. Just because the agency hasn’t worked with a business just like yours yet doesn’t mean it won’t do an awesome job for you.
As we mentioned in our last post in this series, make sure your agency isn’t sending out emails for your direct competitors. You want to be the only dealership in your market benefitting from the agency’s email skills!
6. How Do You Measure Email Success?
Email success isn’t just about open rates and click-through rates. While these metrics are indicators of success, they aren’t the ultimate goal.
Your agency should be able to identify how your emails fit into your larger strategy by reporting on key performance indicators (KPIs). At 9 Clouds, for example, our KPIs include:
- Inventory and product views
- Leads and sales
- Organic search traffic (for our search engine optimization service)
Make sure your agency reports on what really matters. Just as you wouldn’t be excited about catching 10 bullheads when you were hoping to cook up one large Alaskan salmon, who cares about a high open rate if no one actually viewed products on your website?
7. Do You Perform Regular A/B Testing to Improve Emails?
There’s always room for improvement, and A/B testing (or content testing) is the means for identifying those opportunities.
Many marketers get excited about testing their content. After all, who wouldn’t want to constantly improve results? However, some agencies simply turn on autopilot and don’t put in extra work for their clients.
Ask your agency about its content testing process and how it will implement its findings into your work.
At 9 Clouds, we test nearly every email we send in order to identify ways to improve our benchmarks and capitalize on email success for our clients. If your agency isn’t executing regular content tests, that’s definitely something to carp about.
Hook, Line, and Sender!
Regardless of what your marketing agency promises, how snazzy its website looks, or how cool its team seems, you need to do your research before (and even after) committing.
Stupid fish puns aside, it’s your responsibility to ask the questions necessary to make the best purchase for your dealership. If the agency you’re considering can’t answer these questions or doesn’t provide answers that align with your goals, that agency may not be the best fit for you.
At 9 Clouds, we can provide answers to all the questions above. When dealerships work with us, we devise an email strategy each month that complements their larger digital marketing strategy. And, just like reeling in a big catch, we love to see how emails pull in KPI results for our clients.
Wherever you are in your email marketing journey, our free marketing assessment can help you find opportunities for growth within your company. In the meantime, you may enjoy our comprehensive eBook on this topic — Questions to Ask Your Agency.