How Auto Dealerships Can Do Email Marketing the Right Way

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Running an auto dealership has for decades been one of those traditional small business ideas. It has been the niche where true salespeople excelled and where those who couldn’t sell stagnated or even failed. There have been years where it was super easy to sell a car and there have been periods where it has been an ordeal.

These days, most people would agree that auto dealerships have an uncertain future ahead of them. Only recently, one of the biggest names in the auto industry, Bob Lutz said that cars are over and that the concept of buying and owning a car is on its way out.

While we are definitely not there yet, auto dealership owners need to prepare for a future where it will be more and more difficult to sell cars, which means they will need more marketing. As this is the Retainly blog, today we will be talking about how auto dealerships can do their email marketing the right way to increase their sales and their customer base.

Why Use Email Marketing

In case you are running an auto dealership and you are wondering why email marketing is the right tool for you, there are more than a few reasons that show it is.

For one, everyone checks their inboxes regularly, or at least a vast majority of people. And the best thing is it doesn’t matter how old or young they are. Namely, while social media can be a good way to reach out to a younger demographic, auto dealerships cannot afford to miss out on the middle-aged and the older demographic. The good news is they check their emails too.

It is also a well-known fact that most people will choose email when they are asked how they would like to hear from the companies they do business with. In other words, people are used to getting new info from companies on email and they will not see it as intrusive (as they might on social media).

Another great reason to do email marketing for your auto dealership is that you will already probably have a nice email list of leads as many of the modern communication with buyers and potential buyers happen via email already. Unlike with much other business, you should have to trouble to find the right emails for the right people.

Finally, and this is extremely important when selling cars, it is essential that you know what you are trying to sell and to whom and email marketing provides just the targeting capabilities to do this.

Start with a Subscriber List

You cannot do email marketing without a subscriber list, and this is not just a figure of speech. You legally cannot just send out emails to anyone you like, promoting your auto dealership. You will be breaking the anti-spamming law and you might get in serious trouble.

The good news is that, as we have already mentioned, you probably already have the majority of your past customers on your list already and you can build your list from there. You should make sure to keep your list of contacts current as it is a well-known fact that subscriber lists deteriorate with time and you end up sending emails to addresses that are no longer valid.

Of course, you will also want to do everything in your power to add people to your list by encouraging them to leave their emails. You can do this on your website by inviting people to do so and you can even do it in-store, asking for their emails and telling them this will provide them with great deals in the future. A great blog can also be a tool that you can use to help build your email list by inviting the readers to subscribe.

Segmentation and Personalization

Proper segmentation is always at the core of a successful email marketing campaign, but when auto dealerships are in question, it is even more important than usual.

Most dealerships will have all kinds of makes and models to sell and the fact is that you can only sell a certain kind of a car to a certain type of person. On the plus side, as a car dealer, you already know which people might be interested in which car and this will greatly help your list segmentation. Moreover, you will already have all kinds of data on your customers that will further help you with your segmentation efforts.

After you have segmented your email list, you will come up with various campaigns for various segments and you will personalize your emails as much as humanly possible. This will further increase your chances of hitting the right note with your existing and new customers and, ultimately, boost your sales.

Of course, a nice piece of email marketing software such as Retainly will always come in handy when segmenting and personalizing.

What your Emails should Be Like?

One of the best things about email marketing is that there are so many ways to do it and so many approaches to take.

For one, there is the obvious way of sending simple promotional emails with models that you think will pique the interest of a certain segment of your email list. There are, of course, a million ways to do this, but these are really your basic emails and they should not be the only way you use email to promote your auto dealership.

Depending on when your past customers bought their cars, you can remind them to come over for regular checkups or to try out new models that have just arrived. If you do the latter, always make sure to point out this is something you don’t do for everyone and make them feel special.

For new subscribers, you can always send welcome emails where you share a story about your dealership, share some stories from your past customers and display trust badges prominently (BBB ratings, any awards that you may have won, “trusted partner” badges, your auto dealer license, etc.

You can also set up a regular newsletter where you will provide your subscribers with interesting news from the auto industry and with various kinds of advice on car maintenance and purchasing the right vehicles. These emails should never be too promotional and they should merely serve as a reminder that you run a dealership where people know about cars.

The important thing is that you never settle for just one type of same old emails. Be inventive. Try things out.


Email marketing works amazingly for auto dealerships. It is the perfect way to find and retain your buyers online and to make sure your auto dealership stands out. Brush up on your email marketing techniques, keep finding new ways to attract customers and always make sure your campaigns are worth the investment.



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184 shares, 518 points
Dan Radak

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