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Better, Stronger, Faster Automotive Email Marketing with HubSpot Smart Content


This all started with a pretty basic email idea: a dealership we work with wanted to send people some really useful credit and car financing information. We thought it was a great idea, but we didn’t want to do a one-time email blast to all their customers.

We thought to ourselves, We can make this dealer email marketing better than it was before. We can make it “better . . . stronger . . . faster.”

Enter the Six Million Dollar Email.*

*We didn’t make an actual $6 million email (yet), and it’s not actually bionic . . . but it’s pretty good. And really smart. And you can totally try this in your own automotive email marketing. Here’s how.

Before we go any further, however, I should warn you: this post centers around the HubSpot platform. Key to this post is using some advanced automation and personalization techniques unique to the platform. If you use HubSpot, are thinking about using HubSpot, or are just curious in general, read on!

Make the email BETTEREnhancement #1: Power Up the Email with Super Vision

We didn’t want to send our email out blind; instead, we enhanced it with super vision.

We wanted to know exactly when somebody wanted to buy a car and what kind of vehicle they were shopping for. How did we figure that out?

You may scoff at how not-clever this is, but we went about it the polite way — we just asked.

We added a couple of optional fields to key forms on our dealership’s website:

  1. When are you planning to buy your next car? (Now, six months, a year, or never)
  2. What kind of vehicle are you shopping for? (Cars, trucks, or SUVs)

Adding these optional fields did not hurt our form lead conversion rate at all, and the vast majority of people who filled out the required fields on the form also filled out these optional fields. It was a simple addition, and we couldn’t be happier with the results.

We were not content to capture this information only for future leads; we wanted to give existing leads the opportunity to refine their communication preferences as well. So we put together a little email blast asking them the same questions:


Now, we had some very actionable insight on an important segment of our contact list. They were all well on their way along their own buyer’s journey.

And some of these contacts were very hot leads. You want to buy an SUV . . . today, you say? Holy cow. That’s insight!

Make the email FASTEREnhancement #2: Make the Email Faster

Next, we enhanced the email with super speed so that it could be at the right place at the right time. We knew when leads were looking to buy a car, so we were able to use that information to court them.

If a lead was looking to buy in the next couple weeks, for instance, now was the perfect time to follow up with them. If they were looking to buy a year from now, we could chill out and take our time.

Using a HubSpot workflow, we were able to automate the whole process. We could look at when leads wanted to buy and contact them at just the right time. Were they hoping to buy an SUV in three months? We’d send the email out in a few weeks. Buying a truck in six months? We’d wait 10 or so weeks to send it.

Automation workflows for auto dealers
Whether it was today, six months from now, or further out still, we now knew when to send leads our financing insight, “buyer beware” information, and, of course, some suggested vehicles to inspire them to buy.

Make the email STRONGEREnhancement #3: Make the Email Stronger

Armed with this incredible insight, we were then able to deliver an email with super strength, punching past the barriers of unfamiliarity and speaking directly to our leads.

This was my favorite part. Using HubSpot’s Smart Content features, we could send a single email that was customized for the recipient. We’re not talking about simple personality tokens — this goes so much further than “Good morning, Jim.”

In the case of this email, we presented images and links to VDP pages for precisely the body type the lead had told us they were shopping for. We knew some were into trucks, so why show them pictures of cars?

Email financing tips for auto dealers
There are just so many ways to segment your contacts. And any way you can meaningfully segment your customers, you can use Smart Content to intelligently speak to them. Here are just a few examples:

  • Men are from Mars: Watch for patterns in your market — men and women may not be shopping for the same make, model, body type, or colors.
  • Size matters: If you know the size of someone’s family, show them cars that will fit.
  • Money talks: Show your customers cars they can afford.

Almost everyone owns or will own a car. You have access to so much data in your CRM, and you have so many different vehicles to sell. So get out there and start segmenting your customers and deploying Smart Content!

Does Your Dealership Have a Six Million Dollar Email?

Your customers are each on their own unique buyer’s journey. They know what they want to buy and when they want to buy it.

There’s no perfect email for everyone, and no perfect time to send it — but by wisely segmenting your contacts and implementing intelligent workflows, you can deliver powerfully customized email with HubSpot Smart Content.

If this all seems complicated . . . well, it kind of is. Luckily for you, this is the stuff we get really excited about doing. We’d love to help you make your dealership email marketing better, faster, stronger, and more profitable.