9 Clouds Automotive Marketing Blog
Where automotive meets digital marketing.
One of my biggest pet peeves is hearing well-intentioned auto dealers use the term “email blast.” I think of information via firehose — it's pretty aggressive. I definitely don't think of carefully crafted emails, closely defined by SMART goals.
Dealer email marketing needs a plan — you need goals.
Setting goals is necessary to make sure your efforts are not wasted.
By creating and following email goals, you keep yourself dealership on track with what inbound marketing really is. It's not who can shout the loudest; it's who can speak to their customers' specific needs.
Here's how to do that.
How to Set Email Marketing Goals
When creating email marketing goals, it's helpful to follow the SMART goals template:
- Specific: What exactly do you want to accomplish with your goal? (Who? What? Where? When? Why?)
- Measurable: What metrics will you use to determine whether you’ve met your goal? (How much? How many? How well?)
- Achievable: Do you have the necessary skills and resources needed to attain your goal? (Is it realistic? Is it possible?)
- Relevant: Does your goal align with the broader goals of your dealership? (Why are you doing it? Does it matter?)
- Time-based: By what date will you have accomplished your goal? (How will you know when you’re done?)
A great inbound marketing goal considers all five of these elements. Here’s an example of a SMART goal for email marketing:
Increase our email open rate (specific) by 2% (measurable/achievable) by December 31 (time-based) to help us reach a more engaged audience (relevant).
Focus Your Goals
After you have an understanding of the SMART goals template, focus on your store's specific needs.
Have some regular messaging that could be automated? Create a workflow. Want to figure out who's an engaged lead and who's simply bored? Send an email with multiple calls-to-action (CTAs) to help segment your list.
There are plenty of email types you can build to achieve your goals. But don't try to spread yourself too thin.
Take some time to realize what you actually need to be doing with your time. Lead nurturing requires work from a few different angles. Then, get to work!
How to Maintain Email Marketing Goals
To maintain an email goal, have someone or something keeping you accountable. Following a plan of attack or having a person to check in with fills that need.
Follow Your Marketing Plan
Most automotive dealers have a main marketing contact, who synthesizes the efforts from sales team and helps things move in a productive direction.
This person is essential for inside information on what's happening at a dealership's ground level. It also means they can easily craft a document that is the holy grail of goal setting: a marketing plan.
Having a plan doesn't mean everything is set in stone. You can still remain agile and make changes depending on how your marketing efforts are doing. The objective is to keep them at least leaning toward proactive, not reactive.
Find a Friend to Kick Your Butt
At 9 Clouds, we have a monthly “goals lunch,” where we discuss our professional and personal goals out loud. By talking about them in front of a group, our goals become more real and actionable.
Our monthly goals lunch is a safe place where we can discuss what's holding us back and how we can reprioritize our goals. It's also a place where others can step in and help remove road blocks.
You can emulate this practice with your dealer email marketing goals. Keep in contact with your coworkers and sales team to remind them of your email initiatives.
You should also keep your superiors involved. They will want to know what direction you're interested in taking your email marketing, and they can be a good asset when you need help!
When in Doubt: Remember Inbound Principles
If you're ever stuck in an email marketing rut, keep your content focused on the principles of inbound marketing:
Email can play a huge role in helping you connect with leads and consumers if you let it.
For some of you, that means getting out of the way — or possibly changing the style of marketing you're used to (e.g. more personal messaging to segmented audiences, less “SALE! SALE! SALE!”).
Understand Inbound Marketing Isn't Catch-All
My last piece of advice is to remember that you can't snag all the leads at once. Don't expect to sit down and craft that one perfect email to end all emails.
If you're “blasting” your customers with information, trust me: you are definitely being as aggressive as that word sounds.
Find Your Dealer Email Marketing Groove
Find your groove with dealer email marketing, and work it.
If something is performing well for your dealership, don't be afraid to keep it going. Making small changes in your messaging and A/B testing those changes is another way you can tweak your success in the email marketing game.
Keep looking into what's possible with email, and move away from getting blasted by utilizing SMART goals.