Email in bottle

5 Email Tactics Other Dealerships Are Doing Better Than You In 2020 (and How To Fix It)

  • Interactive
  • User-generated
  • Entertaining
  • Self-learning AI
  • Subscriber control

What could possibly be new in the world of email marketing? You probably are already using email marketing for your dealership, and you might even be getting some results with it. But there are some innovative ways that high-volume dealership groups are using to win business from you, and if that concerns you, we have some solutions. The following list includes five email marketing tactics for 2020 that are paying off for dealerships.

1. Interactive Emails

An interactive email includes ways for a recipient to get involved beyond merely reading it and possibly clicking a link or a call to action. The point of a dealership email blast is to shake the trees of a customer list and see who may be in the market for a new or used car. To get opened and not hit the spam folder, you need to include some value to your emails. Interactive emails also encourage interactivity and open rate.

Here are a few ways to add interactivity to your dealership emails:

  • Surveys and polls
  • Menus and accordion features (will take some email programming).
  • Add-to-calendar options for special events and sales.
  • Animated calls-to-action and buttons.
  • Gamified features like scratch-off to reveal discounts.

Instead of just reading or scanning your emails, users will have things to click on, which will increase engagement. 

2. User-Generated Content

Getting a new set of wheels is pretty exciting for anybody. And usually, when a new car enters a person’s fleet, they share it on social. Ask new purchasers if they would be willing to “mention” or “tag” the dealership on their social feeds, and then once a month, gather a few stories and include them in your e-blast. User-generated content is one of the most potent forms of social proof. When users see content such as images, videos, and reviews created by real, happy customers of your business, it could be just the thing to influence a prospect to become customers themselves.

Worried about how to implement this? Ask the F&I managers to request customers to tag the dealership in social posts after they sign on the dotted line.

You could also use your email marketing to collect user-generated content from your recent sales for the week or the month. In your emails, you can leverage their new purchase excitement into some easy-to-share content.

3. Videos, Animations, and GIFs

Standing out in a crowded inbox is tough to do. Subject lines are critical for click rate, but what about getting the emails read and clicked through (which is the ultimate goal to trigger indication of interest)? More and more dealerships who are crushing email marketing are using videos, animations, and GIFs to stand out in crowded inboxes and grab the attention of their subscribers. Adding a little movement to your emails is sure to excite your audience.

Proceed with caution however, because email platforms like Gmail and Outlook don’t have the technical requirements needed to play videos right inside emails. So, the best way to use video in your emails is by adding a static image with a play button on top. Users can click on the image, and the link will send them to your video that’s hosted on a platform such as YouTube or Vimeo.

4. Artificial Intelligence

Yes, Artificial Intelligence is making its way to marketing agencies all over. Machine learning will help you deliver more personalized emails to your subscribers. This technology can choose the best copy and email subject lines, pick the best send times, and line up relevant content with each subscriber or email list segmentation based on demographics or previous activity.

You may want to consider looking for a marketing agency that has these capabilities to assist you with your email marketing.

5. Subscriber Control

In a November 2018 poll put out by Alliance Data found that 69 percent of U.S. internet users wanted to control the frequency with which they receive branded email. This is pretty common sense. But that same poll showed that only 10 percent of retail marketers said they met that expectation.

How do you let your email list recipients control the frequency of email communication? You start at the beginning and include user controls. For example, when a user subscribes to your email list, you can send them a welcome email that allows them to choose the types of emails they want to receive and the frequency of those emails. A subscriber who’s satisfied with the frequency of your emails and the content they’re receiving is one who will stick around for a long time.

There you have it, five ways to perk up your existing email marketing tactics and match or even beat the best dealerships in the country. Email marketing is an old marketing standard, but it doesn’t have to be old, stale, and spammy.

Photo by Gino Borio on Flickr

Photo by Yogas Design on Unsplash

Dealerships: Steal These Emails and Give Your Sales a Boost

Dealerships, swipe these emails with 60% open rates to boost sales today!

Even though email is one of the oldest forms of digital marketing, it is still a very effective method for gaining new sales, or for moving prospects down the sales funnel.  According to a 2017 study from Hubspot, the average email open rate in autos and vehicles is 35%. This lags slightly behind the average open rate across all industries of 37%.

When your salespeople are not directly with a customer, they need to be generating activity to bring in and close more sales. In fact, activity-based sales, as reported by SalesForce, has been proven to:

  1. Produce higher revenue production per sales employee.
  2. Create robust data to make forecasting easier based on activity levels.
  3. Allow for insights on sales capacity so you know when to hire new salespeople to hit future goals.
  4. Create a team of outcome and data-driven sales experts.

When you move to an activity-based sales approach, you can utilize data to drive higher sales. With email marketing, you can enter these activities into your CRM to keep an eye on activity levels. But just kicking out emails isn’t enough. You need to create highly-converting emails in order to see the return on the time investment. Below are eight email templates for a variety of sales scenarios that your dealership sales reps face every day. These are proven to have as much as a 60% open rate when used properly. Fill in the appropriate information to replace the [italics], and you’re on your way,


Scenario 1:  They visited your site

Based on the prospect’s browsing behavior, you know which cars they are looking at or even seriously evaluating. Position yourself as a trusted advisor who can walk them through the decision-making process and answer questions as they arise.

Subject:  Resource for [make and model] questions

Hi [prospect name],

I’m sending this note to introduce myself as your resource here at [dealership]. I work with car buyers and have an expertise in [make and model], and I noticed that you had viewed these vehicles on our website in the past.

This inspired me to spend a few minutes to reach out to you and see if you had any specific questions about [make and model] that you were not finding clear, or decisive answers to.

As an employee of [dealership], I am committed to being a knowledgeable resource for car and truck shoppers in [town name] and I have helped [number] of customers find answers to similar questions.

When do you have 15 minutes to connect today?

Please also feel free to book time directly onto my calendar here: [Meetings link].


[Your name]


Scenario 2: If you’re a stranger to them but got them as a referral from an existing customer

Subject: 26 seconds (or less)

Hi [prospect name],

I’ll keep this short and sweet to make the 26 seconds it takes to read this worth your time (yes, I timed it.)

As a salesperson at [dealership], I get to speak with people like you about purchasing a new or used vehicle. You made your way to my radar because we just sold a [new or used][make model] to [referral source] and they recommended that I reach out to you because they knew you were in the market for a vehicle.

Could we schedule a 15 to 20-minute call to discuss your vehicle needs, which challenges you are currently experiencing, and how you plan on solving these needs? Even if you decide not to continue the conversation after our call, you’ll leave with some advice for car and truck buying that will make an immediate impact.


[Your name]


Scenario 3:  If you just called them

Use a quick email to reinforce the voicemail you just left.

Subject: [prospect name] — just gave you a ring

[prospect name],

Saw that you were checking out [make and model], and wanted to give you a quick shout after checking out the [dealership] site. The last thing I want to do is waste your time or mine, but I thought it would be helpful to quickly speak and learn a bit more about what your needs are that is driving the need or desire to purchase [make model], and perhaps answer some questions you may have about this vehicle or similar product offerings.

We have found that our happiest customers began their purchase with a quick call like this to get things started in the right direction.

Is there a good time for you today or the next few days? You can book some time directly on my calendar here: [Meetings link].


[Your name]

P.S. Thought you might like this as well while getting started:

   [Helpful link #1]

   [Helpful link #2]


Scenario 4:  If there’s been a trigger event (filled out a form or stopped by the dealership)

The old adage is that when they are ready to buy, sell. A trigger event gives you a compelling reason to reach out, boosts your credibility by proving that you pay attention to what’s happening on the lot, and establishes urgency.

Subject: Congrats on deciding on [make and model]

Hi [prospect name],

Your [interaction (email, dealership stop by)] inspired me to reach out. That tells me that you are narrowing down your options in the purchase of [make and model].

Within the last six months at [dealership], we have sold [number] of [make and model] to happy and excited new [manufacturer] owners. I’d be happy to answer any remaining questions and share a few ideas about how you could accomplish the same.

If you’re open to it, when would be a convenient time to chat? Say, [XYZ time]?

[Your name]


Scenario 5:  They requested a test drive

This email helps you establish a relationship with the prospect and set the right expectations for the process. If they’re not prepared for a discussion of their needs and budget before the nuts-and-bolts product talk, they might become impatient.

Subject: Showing you around [make and model]

Hi [prospect name],

I noticed you requested a test drive of [product]. I will be your contact here at [dealership], and my goal is to be helpful during your evaluation process.

Our test drives are two parts. The first is a conversation focused around helping me to understand what you’re hoping [dealership] can help with, as well as your desired options and even desired colors when purchasing [make and model], so then I can customize your test drive accordingly.

To get started, you can book time on my calendar here: [Meetings link].

Looking forward to connecting,

[Your name]


Scenario 6:  If they opened your email but never replied

The prospect is interested in learning more — after all, they read your message — but they’re either too busy to respond or not interested enough. Get the conversation going again with an explanation of your dealership or if you know the particular make and model they are looking at, and an offer to give them a test drive.

Subject: Helping you evaluate [make and model]

Alt subject; Helping you evaluate [dealership]

Following up on my last email, I wanted to see if [dealership offering, or make and model] was something you’d be interested in discussing.

[dealership] offers vehicles for [prospect need] that include the following:

   [Feature #1 and why it’s helpful]

   [Feature #2 and why it’s helpful]

   [Feature #3 and why it’s helpful]

I’d be happy to give you a brief walk-through of these vehicles and their features so you can evaluate whether there might be a fit for your specific vehicle purchase needs.

What do you think?

[Your name]


Scenario 7: If they still don’t respond

Haven’t heard anything back? Before you give up on this prospect, send a few more resources their way. You’ll add value while simultaneously reminding them your vehicle might be able to solve a pressing pain point — as it has for other buyers.

Subject: Resources used by [make and model] buyers

Hi [prospect name],

Following on my previous email, as they have a tendency to slip through the cracks. At the very least, I wanted to provide you with the top resources that people who are shopping for [make and model] or [vehicle category (SUV, light truck sedan etc)] found helpful:

   [Helpful link]

   [Case study]

Would it be helpful if we scheduled 15-20 minutes to discuss how some of these links may help narrow down your selections and discuss how a particular model may suit your needs? Just book some time on my calendar here: [Meetings link]

[Your name]


Scenario 8: If they went dark

This light-hearted email gives the buyer a chance to change their mind. It’s a great way to re-engage them without using a guilt trip.

Subject: Not nearly as bad as a blind date

Hi [prospect name],

But it still stings 🙁 Sounds like we weren’t meant for each other. But I wanted to reach out to you one last time. I have a few suggestions on how you can purchase that [new or used make and model]. If I don’t hear back, I’ll assume that the timing isn’t right.

In the meantime, here are two [links, resources] I thought you might find of value because [reason why they’re relevant]:

   [Link #1]

   [Link #2]


[Your name]


It is our hope that these proven car and truck sales templates will be just the thing you need to re-energize your sales force. If you found these useful, we encourage you to check out other similarly useful content on our blog, as we are dedicated to helping dealerships just like yours grow sales in 2018. If you are also looking to re-energize your profitability in your dealership, we encourage you to check out our suite of software offerings, ReconMonitor and InspectionNotes, designed to improve frontline readiness of your used car fleet and trim waste from the process.

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