Nov 5, 2018

A Guide to Email Marketing for the Automotive Industry

The automotive industry is a colossal beast. In fact, recent studies suggest that 81.5 million new vehicles have been sold worldwide so far this year alone.

However, as an industry that is in constant flux – with technologies, concepts and consumer demands evolving at a constant rate – to enjoy a sustainable level of success in the automotive world, marketing your brand or business effectively is a vital component of success.

Despite some industry commentators dismissing email marketing as an antiquated activity, this couldn’t be further from the truth. On the contrary: if you get email marketing right, you stand to reap great rewards, propelling you into a bright and prosperous digital future.

In this guide, we consider why email marketing is important and explore a selection of essential tips geared towards sustainable success.

Why is Email Marketing Important and Valuable?

At present, nearly 75% of adults state that email is their preferred means of communication. At its core, email marketing offers a non-intrusive, engaging and personal way of delivering valuable content and sharing deals or promotions with highly-targeted consumers looking to purchase, lease or rent an automobile.

It’s dynamic, strategic and, as mentioned, the preference of the majority of today’s digital consumers, so email marketing should be a pivotal part of your brand or dealership’s digital marketing arsenal.

To put this notion into full perspective, here are some additional email marketing insight you should know:

  • For every dollar spent on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $38.
  • According to 80% of business professionals, email marketing drives real customer acquisition and retention.
  • 61% of consumers enjoy receiving weekly promotional emails. Moreover, 38% would like to read branded emails more regularly.

Email Marketing Tips for the Automotive Industry

It’s clear that email marketing has its merits and for those operating within the automotive industry, it’s a marketing channel worth a significant amount of time and investment.

To help steer you on your journey to automotive email marketing success, here are some invaluable practical tips and techniques.


Understand Your Audience and Know the Competition:

We live in an age that’s rich in digital data. By using this wealth of insight from various analytics tools such as Google Analytics to understand demographic information, as well as the browsing behaviors of your customer base, you can build segmented lists of email recipients. Then you can create particular types of email content that engages, inspires and ultimately results in more conversions.

Moreover, by signing up to your competitors’ email lists, you’ll be able to see what deals they’re offering your target audience, while gaining inspiration for your various email marketing campaigns.


Build a Solid Email List:

Expanding on the previous point, to enjoy automotive email success, you will need to build an email list of recipients that is likely to yield a healthy return on investment (ROI).

While a little under a third of your subscriber list will come from your current consumer base, building a strategy to reach out to new prospects is essential.

There are several ways to increase your subscriber base and build a strong list of potential vehicle buyers, and these are among the most effective:

  • Offer a subscriber-only discount and promote it across your most active social media channels.
  • Create a referral discount, bonus or incentive and offer it to your existing subscribers.
  • Run web-based or in-store contests or competitions where providing a name and email address is an entry requirement.
  • On the most popular pages of your website, offer opt-in email boxes to encourage people to subscribe to your list.
  • Offer your current and target customers a choice of the kind of content they would like to receive from you – this will make opting in a far more personalized and potentially rewarding prospect.

By using these organic methods to grow your email list, you can build up a subscriber base who will respond and connect with the content that you send to their inboxes, rather than regarding it as spam.


Create Effective Content:

While using data to understand your audience is helpful for strategies aimed at building your email subscribership, this level of insight is also incredibly effective when it comes to creating content that gets results.

After you’ve identified what your audience considers valuable, you’ll be able to create insightful content centered on these various topics. By answering questions your customers may have or helping to solve specific automotive-related issues through compelling email content, you’ll increase email engagement, boost click-through rates and ultimately enjoy a significantly healthier ROI.

Here are some topics to help give you ideas, inspiration and direction for your email content:

  • Taxing and insuring a new vehicle.
  • Questions to ask when buying a used car.
  • Features to look for in a brand new vehicle.
  • How to safeguard your vehicle for the winter period.
  • Various automotive DIY tutorials or project advice.
  • Car comparisons, including family cars, commercial vehicles, commuter options, fuel efficient or low emission cars.

To help you with your email content writing efforts, explore our guide to crafting copy that sells.


Optimize for Mobile:

Studies show that 65% of all emails are currently opened via a mobile device. Moreover, when an email doesn’t respond or render correctly on a mobile device, 42% of consumers will hit the delete button.

To prevent your carefully crafted email content from going to waste, it’s vital that all of your emails are fully optimized for mobile. To do this, you should ensure that your web development/design team take measures to optimize all of your email content before it’s sent out.

You should also test every email on both desktop and mobile to get rid of any typos, errors or functionality discrepancies before delivering the content to your target inboxes.

Some 89% of marketers lose leads because their emails are unresponsive or poorly designed for mobile – so this is an area that you should never overlook.

Response and Automation

To foster engagement, build trust and nurture leads, you should aim to personally respond to each and every inquiry you receive as a result of your email marketing efforts.

According to Cobalt Group’s National Automotive eShopper Experience Study, automotive dealers fail to respond to almost 25% of all email-generated leads and, of those that do, 30% fail to provide a follow-up. If you do take the time to respond to these inquiries and spark up a personal dialogue with your subscribers, you will gain an all-important edge on the competition which is likely to lead to more brand loyalty and an increase in email-related profits.

In addition to this manual approach to communication, triggered email campaigns can prove particularly effective. Utilizing email campaign automation will streamline the process of engaging and converting your customers, as these emails are triggered according to consumer behavior.

It’s possible to develop dynamic content – or content that autonomously adapts to the interests of the subscriber – to feature particular levels of customer information, such as names and birth dates. These various segments of insight allow car dealers or manufacturers to connect with their customers on a more personal level, encouraging positive response as a result.

Some 77% of today's email marketing ROI derives from segmented, targeted and triggered campaigns, so leveraging behavioral or personalized content should be essential component of your company’s email marketing strategy.

Winning Automotive Email Marketing Approaches

The automotive industry is one of the most innovative on the planet, with the cutting-edge designs and progressive concepts of leading manufacturers thrust into the public consciousness on a continual basis. In this respect, as an automotive dealer or manufacturer, there’s colossal scope for crafting compelling, niche and personalized content for the audience.

To inspire your email marketing efforts, here are two notable approaches from two of the world’s leading motoring manufacturers.



A subscriber welcome email from Volkswagen
A subscriber welcome email from Volkswagen

Boasting a balanced blend of branding, inspiring imagery and emotive content, iconic automotive manufacturer Volkswagen (VW) have produced a subscribership welcome email that helps to drive its loyal and ever-growing customer base.

By welcoming new subscribers to the ‘Volkswagen family’, VW creates a personal warmth with its welcome email. With a clear call-to-action inviting recipients to gain exclusive knowledge by reading past newsletters, the content also offers immediate value.



An email from BMW focused on referral
An email from BMW focused on referral

This savvy referral-centric email from automotive powerhouse BMW showcases a level of personalization that helps a brand cut through the noise, forge valuable new relationships and encourage a level of brand advocacy that can help grow a business exponentially. This personable, visually-striking and heartwarming ‘thank you’ letter is an excellent example of personalization in action and strong email marketing communication.

Key Takeaways

  • Email marketing is one of the most powerful tools of any modern automotive brand’s digital marketing arsenal.
  • Leveraging data to understand your audience and build your email list organically are the foundations for email marketing success.
  • Crafting engaging, dynamic and inspiring content is a fast track to showcasing your value and earning more conversions.
  • For inspiration, explore our compelling on the rise, fall and subsequent rise of enduring automotive manufacturer, General Motors.

Email marketing remains a potent force when it comes to nurturing existing customer relationships and attracting new consumers to your brand or dealership. Follow these tips, let your creativity be your guide and you will enjoy email marketing success in no time.

Dan Hughes
Dan Hughes

Dan is a content writer specializing in digital marketing, emerging tech, music and looking after a toddler. You can find out more about him and his work by visiting his Catchy Space.

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