Interviewing Your Next Email Marketing Provider

email marketing
By Brian Pasch

If you are not managing all your email marketing campaigns centrally, you should get serious about this valuable communication channel. I encourage you to stop damaging your customer marketing lists and start shopping for a competent email marketing partner.

An auto dealer can have 3-5 different companies and/or platforms sending emails to their customers. 

In most cases, there are no central records being kept! A customer can receive multiple emails in the same month with conflicting messages. Emails are being sent to customers of auto dealership’s through their CRM, third-party newsletter companies, reputation management surveys, equity mining alerts, and through DMS marketing companies.

Each of these email communication strategies are unaware of the way in which customers interact with these email messages. If a customer changes their email delivery address when they receive a newsletter, that new data is often never updated in the DMS or CRM system.

Search For A Competent Email Partner

Search for a competent email marketing partner will take some time. You must call other auto dealers once you narrow down your vendor list to see if the company’s claims are truthful. Please make sure that you ask questions about data hygiene and the opt-out rates that you have noticed.

Potential email marketing partners should be able to answer all of these questions in writing:

  • ♦ How will you pull the initial email marketing list from the dealership? What sources and data formats will you need?
  • ♦ How will you process any previous requests from customers who asked to be excluded from email marketing from our CRM system and/or previous email marketing partner?
  • ♦ How will you process future requests to be removed from email marketing campaigns that you send as well as those requests we get from our CRM/DMS and marketing partner emails?
  • ♦ How often will you pull additional or changed records from the DMS and CRM platform to update the email marketing list? Will you send an updated list of unsubscribes and bounces to us?
  • ♦ Do you offer list-cleaning services to protect our domain from getting blacklisted?
  • ♦ How do you handle duplicate email addresses assigned to the same customer and/or same family address?
  • ♦ How will you segment email marketing lists? How often do you plan on sending emails to each segment? Please explain your methodology.
  • ♦ How will your company A/B test email campaigns and what type of customer engagement data do you collect?
  • ♦ Are your email templates responsive so that they are optimized for desktops, tablets, and mobile phones?
  • ♦ Are all email embedded links using proper campaign tagging parameters to appear in Google Analytics properly?
  • ♦ Do you design landing pages for email links or is that the responsibility of the dealership?
  • ♦ Will all your email campaigns be OEM compliant? How much insurance do you carry for errors and omissions?
  • ♦ What type of reporting will you give us so we can measure the effectiveness of our campaigns as well as our ROI?

You will need to be very clear on who will take responsibility for emails that are not compliant with OEM, State, and/or Federal guidelines. If you are not careful, your OEM may impose fines for non-compliant artwork or the messages in your emails are not compliant with current manufacturer guidelines.

Don’t Forget Mobile Readers

I read most of my emails the first time on my smartphone; complex messages I will revisit from my laptop. Emails that are optimized for my smartphone keep my attention longer. Your company’s email marketing campaigns must WOW mobile customers. Any links that are placed in your emails must go to a responsive website page.

email_opens-stats-by-quarter

The percentage of consumers reading emails on their mobile devices is on the rise. Over 42% of emails are now being read from a smart phone or tablet, according to statistics shared on the website emailmonday.com.

Before you choose any email marketing provider, have them send you a few emails that represent their “WOW” designs and check them out on your smartphone. If your dealership does not have a multi-screen compatible design, you should discuss with your email marketing partner if they can create responsive landing pages for your email campaigns.

A few well designed conversion pages, that can adapt to any screen size, can significantly change the results of an email marketing campaign.

Don’t Leave Email Marketing On Autopilot

Email marketing is not dead, but some of the current email strategies that are being used in dealerships are outdated and harmful to their business. I encourage you to invest in a serious email communication plan that meets the needs of all business units. You must have a process to inspect and test the success of your campaigns.

Your email marketing campaigns should all be tagged properly so that click-traffic can be inspected in Google Analytics. For example, if you send out an email marketing campaign to promote a new car model, you will want to see how many Search Results Pages (SRP) and Vehicle Detail Pages (VDP) were viewed when customers clicked on your email links to your website.

With a centralized email marketing strategy that recognizes the need for mobile enabled email messages, you will be surprised to see open rates and engagement with your offers significantly increase. If you would like more information on email marketing strategies for your dealership, purchase a copy of my book “Mastering Automotive Digital Marketing” or drop me an email for specific recommendations on email marketing strategies.

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Brian

Brian Pasch, CEO
PCG Consulting
732.672.2356

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