Word on the Street: Why Email is a Digital Marketing Channel Automotive Dealers Should [Still] Be Utilizing

10.12.21 12:26 AM By Layton Judd

Our take on what was said...

A recent article by B2B Marketing Zone titled "19 Reasons Why Email Marketing Is a Channel You Should Not Be Ignoring" pointed out that while you (marketers, dealerships, any business, really) can choose not to utilize any digital channel currently available to advertise and communicate - you shouldn't be ignoring email as the leading distribution channel by which to deliver content and increase ROI. 

Email marketing continues to be the dominant type of marketing, in spite of the rise of alternatives like social media. Why? Many times, it's because in email marketing, a relationship with the customers already exists. They have already voluntarily subscribed as opposed to unsolicited social media or other form of push marketing. This is especially true when you are tapping into your own first-party data...first!

Even today, when many remain skeptical about email marketing in general and say that recent privacy protections, like the one we discussed in our latest blog  "3 Birds Adapts to Apple's iOS 15 Updates Expected to Affect Email Marketing", signals the death of email as a viable marketing medium....we say, "NOT SO FAST". 

    • 3 Birds has consistently exceeded 98% email delivery rate over the past 11+ years
    • 87% of Marketers [still] choose email to market content
    • So far, only 30% of iPhone users have updated to IOS 15, and not everyone is opting in to MPP

Still not convinced? Here we take a look at a few reasons why email is important from the source* article:


Simply put, email marketing:


In fact, marketers using segmented data to personalize their offers and message have seen a 760% increase in revenue.


If the coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything, it's been the importance of an agile business model and marketing strategy. Here at 3 Birds, we found ourselves in the unique position to quickly pivot our product focus, message, and purpose with configurable Customer Data and Experience Platform CDXP™ technology to make a positive brand impact and drive significant revenue lift for our automotive dealership clients despite business interruptions and changing consumer behavior. When other digital and traditional advertising channels were floundering with tone-deaf or stagnant promotions, email marketing has prevailed with a proactive approach to communications that are dynamic to the needs of customers. The result is increased sales.


A lot goes into the delivery rate of email. Good data and a good partner with a good reputation is critical. This isn't the place to cut corners or DIY. Doing so could get your ip-addresses and domains blacklisted. The average delivery rate is about 90% with email compared to 45 times less with Facebook, for example. 3 Birds consistently delivers well above average.


Research shows that email is the fastest way for companies to connect with their audiences, beating out social media yet again. In fact, 21% of emails are opened within 60 minutes after receiving according to research done by GetResponse.


Speaking of the right message at the right time, let's talk about segmentation. Understanding a consumers pain point is key to selling. A new customer may need assurance of warranty options, appreciate trade or buy offers, information on new vehicle specs, or a how-to video to set the clock back on their new purchase.  These could potentially be all different segments. Their needs, concerns and motives for interacting are different.  Email allows you to divide the target audience into segments, and make your message appropriate and personalized accordingly.


Personalization is where behavior data and CDXP technology shine; able to track interactions and pivot the message based on interests to influence the path to purchase. 


Manual workflows to keep up with generating all this activity within your database is darn near impossible. Automation is necessary to ensure that email communications are timely and up to date. Automation sets up rules that are triggered by interactions with the message that inform the next communication. Email automation is always-on and when supported by CDXP artificial intelligence, responses even get smarter. 


The golden rule in marketing is the Marketing Rule of Seven which states that it takes an average of seven interactions with your brand before a purchase will take place. This doesn't mean you barrage everyone with your promotions all the time in a kind of hope and spray fashion. Knowing where your prospects and customer are in their buying journey and delivering a relevant and personalized message to them in their preferred channel in real-time to communicate in an intuitive way ensures you are remembered.  Communication streams can cover many sales, service, accessory, and lifestyle topics to create that brand transfer. 


In 2021, the number of mobile users worldwide stood at 7.1 billion, with forecasts suggesting this is likely to rise to 7.26 billion by 2022. Mobile users are projected to reach 7.49 billion in 2025. That's over 90% of the world's population! So definitely worth attracting. While social media is also a good method, only 20% of consumers actually even follow brands on these platforms for shopping. Email is their preferred channel with over 60% actively engaging to email newsletters and other forms of email offers. 


Email is content, without the character or interactive limits of some other channels, that can direct traffic to your website content. Content is, as they say, king afterall. And people are more likely to check their own mail than updates on a company's website. Interesting content means people will spend more time with it and on it. That translates to being rewarded by search algorithms from engines like Google with higher organic ratings for less money spent. 


Email is able to connect your customers to many other digital properties like none other, with tracking that follows the engagement both deep and wide. Push a special events announcement for onsite foot traffic, send a coupon for a service appointment, build positive online reviews, ask customers to follow your business on social media, and more. The call to action could be anything without competing for attribution against itself. 


Email newsletters are a tool for long-term communication with customers. Even if they stop answering for a time, the data they have already provided gives you opportunities to re-engage for logical in-market moments. It's not always about making a one-off special offer to user who hasn't interacted with you for a long time, it can also be about the ongoing relationship you've nurtured all along. 


Email marketing is a big data gathering, sorting, and profitability goldmine. The trick is continuous analysis and comparisons to help maximize its potential. You'll have no problems with reporting that provides comprehensive insights and multiple-click attribution on sales and service matchbacks to focus on deep engagement metrics such as clicks, website traffic, and conversions. In addition, email marketing offers opportunities for split testing that's difficult in other mediums. 


Email works with your own database to deliver digital marketing at a fast clip with a large capacity without a lot of additional costs, especially when compared to the slow and expensive process of direct mail. Layer in segmentation, personalization, and automation and the ability to scale this to an enterprise-level is easy to execute for a strategic approach.


We've said it before and we'll say it again - for every dollar spent on email marketing, it generates $42 in revenue. And it doesn't show signs of stopping despite 'death of email' theories of late. It's hard to argue with that.

Placing advertisements on TV, radio, direct mail, and even social media is more expensive than email marketing. This is one of the strongest advantages of this strategy. With an astonishing 4200% ROI, email marketing requires a minimal budget.


"It seems like the death of email marketing is a myth."  We think so, too. It's an effective strategy that can fulfill many dealership objectives and combines communication channels as the preferred method. If you aren't utilizing and growing your database with email, you are missing out on untapped opportunity. Let's talk soon and get started with a customized email strategy for your automotive dealership.