Email marketing in the Automotive Industry: 5 winning strategies

Email marketing campaigns are still very effective for the Automotive Industry. To be even more effective, they need to be “tailored” to the recipients: here are 5 winning strategies.

You only have to look back a few years to realize how profoundly the automotive industry and all of its related industries have changed. First of all, the needs and expectations of the public have changed; in particular, there is a great demand for technology and unprecedented attention to environmental sustainability and alternatives to fossil fuels.

As a result, brands, their image, and their way of relating, interacting, and communicating with customers are changing. Of course, retailers and dealers themselves are also adapting to this context in a great period of change: Digital Transformation has also invested in their promotion, sales, and customer service processes.

In a previous post on our blog, we identified the 6 main trends in automotive marketing. Now we want to focus on an important aspect that is still central to the sector: email marketing.

 

Email marketing: the 5 most innovative and effective strategies

In this post, we will identify the 5 most innovative and effective strategies in order to take full advantage of this tool. These include segmentation to personalization, optimizing campaigns in an omnichannel way (starting from mobile), the central role of storytelling, and the search for feedback from recipients. The goal is to achieve the highest possible degree of engagement, to boost click-through rates, and to improve communication with customers (actual or potential), thus increasing their loyalty.

 

1. The importance of storytelling … and that of being “useful.”

Entering a person’s email inbox also means, to a degree, entering into one’s personal space. And while this is space must be respected, it is one that is often assaulted from many sides

Consider the number of emails that reach our inbox daily: from personal messages to marketing emails, and advertisements or sponsored emails. In short, our digital space is constantly bombarded with messages, and for those who deal with marketing, the challenge to capture the customer’s attention is more difficult than ever before.

How to win it? How can companies ensure that their communications to customers are valuable and not annoying, and how can they make sure it stands out, and not lost?  The answer is personalization, and we’ll talk more about this point later. We also need to be captivating, clear, and “useful.” We need to tell stories, but also to inform and educate our audience.

Think about content talking about car safety or on features that make them environmentally friendly, smarter, and more tech-forward. It is information that people want, that they search for, and that is not considered invasive. It is useless to fill your customers’ inboxes with dozens and dozens of promotions and aggressive marketing operations: it is often even counterproductive.

It’s important to hit the right note via storytelling (and in this sense, video has no rivals, but we’ll come back to this point later); the right themes must be chosen, and this can be achieved by carrying out market surveys, by knowing the top searched terms (to be constantly updated), and, above all, by getting to know your audience better and better.

How? We’ll see it in the next point.

 

2. Segment your target audience

It’s important to make one fundamental point clear: the perfect message, the one that is effective for everyone, does not exist. There are, instead, messages that are well suited to certain audiences, which are effective, in short, when they meet their target audience.

It is perhaps one of the most well-known “secrets” of communication since the beginning of time. What is new today is that this viewpoint can also be applied to very large numbers, in larger email marketing campaigns, thanks to the most advanced tools by way of digital transformation. We are referring, in particular, to Big Data, the set of all the digital traces that we leave online, every day.

We need to know how to collect this data in an intelligent and functional way, selecting, analyzing, and interpreting it in a deep way (this is why we prefer to talk about “Smart Data” or “Deep Data“). These operations, consequently, allow you to know your audience and divide it into coherent segments based on personal, social, and geographical data.

In short, it enables being able to divide the global audience into several increasingly specific targets that may be hit with personalized communications. Such operations have proven to be effective, where proper segmentation has shown to increase the revenue of email campaigns increase by 760% (source). We can also go further, to personalized communications that are tailored to the individual, in a truly one-to-one dialog.

 

3. Personalization: the last frontier

Personalized emails show a 14% increase in the click-through rate and a 10% increase in the conversion rate (according to research from Aberdeen). And while this data is from 2014 and based on a basic level of personalization, it showed that just putting the recipient’s name in the subject line of the email alone increased the opening rate by 26%. This gives you an idea of what may be achieved with the use of more sophisticated tools.

What do we mean by personalization?

It’s a matter of designing your email communications to measure the recipient, his characteristics, his behavior, his needs, aiming at the individual. Is it possible, even if we are talking about huge numbers? Yes. Thanks to the most advanced digital tools, and through the technologies put in place by specialized companies like Doxee. The basic level is that of addressing each recipient by name, which as we have seen, increases the opening rate. But, of course, we can (and must) go much further.

Think about how much better the results can be in terms of engagement, click-through, and conversion if a personalized video is inserted into the email. This is what Doxee offers via its Pvideo platform: 100% personalized video, with user-directed storytelling, interactive videos, that adapt—as they unfold—to the choices and actions of the viewers. We are talking about the ultimate frontier of personalization, a mode of communication that, for its effectiveness, has no comparison. Let’s consider this data:

  • 55% of people pay more attention to videos than any other type of content;
  • The average user retains 95% of the messages in a video; when it comes to text, this percentage drops to 10%;

And for the automotive sector specifically:

  • About 70% of people watch videos about the cars they are interested in at the earliest stages of the purchase process (according to research by Millward Brown Digital for Google).

 

4. Gather as much feedback as possible

So far we have focused on the effectiveness and usefulness of email messages and on the importance of making them as personalized as possible for recipients. Now, let’s look at things from the recipients’ point of view.

There is nothing more valuable than getting their direct feedback, establishing a real dialog with them. Doing so in an interactive and customer-oriented way using personalized videos increases the effectiveness and fluidity of the dialog. The advantages of collecting feedback are enormous and intuitive: it allows you to know the very customer in front of you.

Furthermore, the data collected can be put to good use in the future. With data, you can be attentive to customer needs, which will make a positive impact on your brand image (both for carmakers and retailers). It will also allow you to work on your weaknesses and turn them into strengths. Finally, it will help you improve your customer service and consequently, customer loyalty.

 

5. Everything starts with the mobile

  • Mobile devices generate 47.60% of internet traffic in the world. This percentage is growing steadily and sharply. In Asia, it is already as high as 60.08% (source).
  • If an email is not well-formatted for mobile, more than 70% of recipients will delete it within three seconds. About 15% of recipients will unsubscribe from the mailing list (source).
  • Also: just over 50% of emails today are opened on smartphones (source).
  • Finally, mobile users check their inbox three times more often than desktop users (source). 

Effective email marketing in the automotive sector must be designed from mobile and optimized for all models and operating systems. This is where we start, in the final analysis, to embrace an omnichannel approach as much as possible. The goal is to get to know the customer, actual or potential, as much as possible and connecting with them in the right way, in the right place and at the right time. The secret lies here.