Don’t “Blast” Customers: Send Awesome Automated Emails Instead (Here’s How!)
The days of the infamous “email blast” are over.
As an automotive marketer in 2018 — when you now have easy access to tons of email marketing resources — you no longer have any excuse to “blast” your entire contact list with a single email, praying you hit at least a couple leads.
Doesn’t that just sound brutal?
Thanks to advancements in marketing automation software, auto email marketing has never been easier . . . or more effective.
Because now that you can send specific messages to the specific people interested in hearing them — and do so automatically, with little maintenance required — there’s no reason for your store not to use email workflows.
Think of an email workflow like a train depot, where your contacts can board, disembark, or wait for the right train to take them exactly where they need to go.
Since each person’s destination is different, the train they take — and the time in which they take it — is different as well.
A good workflow works the same way: sending your leads emails that are personal to their place in the automotive buyer’s journey, helping them make the right connections along the way, and eventually transporting them to their final stop (the sale!).
In this post, we’ll show you how to create and send awesome automated emails from your dealership. But first, let’s define exactly what they are.
What Is an Automated Email Workflow?
Workflow. Lifecycle email. Autoresponder. Drip campaign. Marketing automation.
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. . . .
There are many terms for what we here at 9 Clouds call a workflow, but there’s one basic definition: one or more marketing emails sent automatically, based on audience behavior or data.
Workflows eliminate the need to manually write, target, and send individual marketing emails. Instead, you can draft just one email, save it for automation, and apply it to a workflow that will deploy it automatically whenever a contact meets certain criteria.
By saving you time and qualifying your leads for you, workflows help streamline your digital marketing efforts.
It makes sense, right? People like to receive emails that are actually relevant to them. Who’d have thunk.
While there are many different examples of drip campaigns, there are two basic types of automated emails: behavior-based and data-based. We’ll give an example of each.
1. Behavior-Based Email Workflows
Say you have a landing page dedicated to your current specials on new trucks.
Instead of promoting that page in a single email sent to all your contacts, you could create a workflow that enrolls any contact who views three or more new trucks on your website and sends them an email one day later.
You don’t have to stop there, either. Within the same workflow, you could add a rule that sends another email to anyone who clicks on a link within the first email.
Image credit: HubSpot
2. Data-Based Email Workflows
Imagine your dealership offers a $100 service credit to anyone who refers a new customer to your store.
Rather than blasting your whole contact list with a manual email once a year, you can send an automated email to customers three months after they’ve purchased a vehicle, offering information on the referral program (and reminding them to schedule their first oil change for their new car).
You can even set the workflow to exclude customers who are already aware of the referral program, so you don’t come across as pushy or aloof.
More Automated Email Ideas for Dealerships
These are just a few ways you can take advantage of automated email workflows.
Looking for more ideas? We’ve actually written an entire post offering three automated email templates for auto dealers specifically.
These free templates are based on our own work for our automotive clients, so they’re proven to be effective at segmenting leads and closing sales.
Go on — get inspired!
Top 10 Tips for Awesome Email Workflows
Drafting the content for a workflow email is just the first step in a successful workflow strategy.
To make sure you’re making the most of your automotive email marketing, follow these top 10 email workflow tips for auto dealers.
1. Know What You’re Capable Of
Your workflow is only as strong as the software you’re using — and the knowledge you have about it.
Read articles, attend training sessions, and ask support reps everything you can about the options available with your marketing automation program. (And be sure you’re using the right one in the first place!)
2. Test the Waters Before Jumping In
If you’re just starting out with email workflows, create a few fake ones first, so you can play around with the features before committing to that scary first send.
If someone on your team is more familiar with the software, ask them to walk you through their process. Better yet, if your software company offers great support (like HubSpot), have one of their reps test the email for you before you turn it on.
3. Keep Your Eyes on the Ball
Every workflow should be created for a specific goal (otherwise, what’s the point?).
Keep the customer’s needs top of mind at all stages of your automotive workflow. Each email should have one primary call to action.
4. Remember the Context
Where does this workflow fit within the larger context of your email marketing strategy?
Your goal as an auto marketer is to create a seamless experience for shoppers. Make sure you’re sending workflow emails to people at the right stage in the buyer’s journey.
5. Don’t Get Too Fancy
With all the powerful features available with email marketing automation, it’s tempting to try to use them all.
But the more complex you make your workflow, the more difficult it will be to maintain. Keep it as simple as possible.
6. Use Personalization and Segmentation
While you don’t want to go overboard, you do want to tailor the workflow to your recipients as much as possible.
Use first-name fields, location data, vehicle information, and anything else that shows the customer you care about sending them the right message at the right time.
7. Enlist Another Pair of Eyes (or Two)
You should never, ever, ever turn on a workflow without the review and approval of at least one colleague (and, if applicable, your client — and, if possible, your software support team).
Have them check for form, functionality, and content — all three are crucial.
8. Test, Test, Test
Before enacting your workflow, put yourself through the process to make sure it’s working properly.
Send test emails to yourself, and consider setting the workflow to notify you when others complete it (at least at first).
9. Keep Your Team Informed
Everyone on your marketing and sales teams should know when you’ve enacted a new workflow. Not only will they have better context when talking with contacts, they may also have good ideas for future workflow strategy.
Be sure to update them semi-frequently on the success (or lack thereof) of any given workflow.
10. Audit Often
With workflows, you should never just “set it and forget it.” You may think everything’s humming along just fine — only to discover a major snag months down the road.
Start by checking the workflow’s performance every few weeks, then push it out to every few months. And (needless to say), adjust as necessary.
Need Help with Email Automation?
We’re passionate about email marketing for auto dealers.
Good email marketing, that is. The kind that takes contacts’ behavior and data into account, thoughtfully crafts messages based on their place in the buyer’s journey, and uses powerful lead tracking software to gently drive them toward a sale.
If you’d like help crafting dealership emails — automated or not — 9 Clouds is here to help.