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[Case Study] Run a Coordinated Automotive Marketing Campaign that Converts at 12.5%


At the end of the calendar year, many businesses are looking to spend money to help lower their taxes. This is a perfect time for automotive dealers to market to business customers, who could include self-employed businesspeople like farmers, electricians, and even food truck operators.

Across our automotive clients, we have tested a number of ways to use tax deductions as a marketing hook. From this experience, we found three steps to run a coordinated automotive marketing campaign.

(If you want to skip the post and download the tools you need for a successful campaign, just enter your email at the end of this post.)

3 Steps to a Coordinated Auto Marketing Campaign

1. Sync

A marketing campaign, whether for tax deductions or any other type of promotion, should be a complete campaign. A single email doesn’t work as well as an email that is coordinated with an online ad, a landing page, and some social media posts. Coordinating your message will provide greater reach and conversion.

That’s what we found after trying different iterations of tax deduction campaigns. The dealers who sent an email, posted a blog, ran a Facebook ad, and followed up with customers who engaged with any of those marketing efforts had the greatest success.

Another important way to synchronize your marketing efforts is to combine tax deduction messages with other year-end promotions. The campaigns that had the greatest success for our clients also promoted year-end savings, inventory clearance to make way for new models, or whatever the promotion from the OEM was, such as Truck Month.

This combination approach made the tax deduction feel like the cherry on top of an already great deal. Plus, for those customers who were not able to benefit from a tax deduction, the campaign was still relevant for them.

2. Segment

Segmenting your database of leads and customers is the second step for a successful tax deduction marketing campaign.

Some databases may already have businesses segmented, but most do not. Our clients that had the greatest success sent a short email to their list. It simply asked contacts if they were a business owner:

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Asking this question allowed us to communicate with only the customers who were interested in the tax deduction information. Since customers could opt themselves into the list, we were able to find business owners who were previously unmarked in the CRM.

Once we knew who the business owners were, we were able to send the promotion that was relevant to them. This dramatically increased the success of the email.

The industry standard for email engagement is around a 15-20% open rate and a 1-2% click rate. Denny Menholt Ford, which sells Ford trucks in Butte, MT, saw a 37.5% open rate and a 12.5% click rate after segmenting their list and sending this email:

Coordinated marketing campaign

As this email shows, segmented emails perform better than email blasts. They also help you avoid unsubscribes (of which this email saw zero).

3. Send

Sending the email itself is the first step. Auto dealers should also send their campaign through other channels. We saw the greatest success combining the email with a blog post and Facebook ad.

The blog post provided more details for business owners about the Section 179 tax deduction. Since this is an intricate topic, posting the blog allowed our own customers to learn more about getting a tax deduction, but it also enabled other car shoppers to learn about the process from our clients. This visibility on search engines like Google meant new opportunities for conquest (right in time for year-end numbers!)

Facebook ads also complemented the campaign nicely. With a segmented list, you can run Facebook ads only to people in your database who have opted in as a business owner. This is known as a Custom Audience. Make sure to use Power Editor to allow you to target based on your contacts’ email addresses.

Following this technique means no wasted clicks on Facebook, since your ads are shown only to relevant buyers. Plus, at less than $1 per click, you will not find a cheaper way to generate sales.

Run Your Campaign — At Tax Time or Any Time

The three-step process we perfected during the tax deduction season is a recipe that should be used for any automotive marketing campaign. If it can lead to a 12%+ return for one dealer, you could see similar or even better results.

If you can sync, segment, and send your message to relevant buyers, you will see greater success and ROI. Plus, if you send coordinated campaigns like these, you will build a highly targeted database, improving future campaigns and reducing your need to spend on third-party lead providers, TV or online ads, and other outbound marketing techniques.

Get the Guide

To help get you started with this three-step process, we’ve gathered all of the resources you need to sync, segment, and send. Just put your name and email below to receive an email with links to everything you need to improve your auto marketing campaigns.

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