When you mass email contacts with broad messages you ruin your database. Case in point, my dad recently bought a gently used Hyundai Sonata. One week after he bought it, he received an email about trading it in. I probably don’t have to tell you that he opted out of further email communications.

Done right, email marketing delivers the highest ROI of all marketing channels with $42 back for every dollar spent. It remains one of the most powerful tools in your digital marketing strategy.

The keyword here is strategy. When you have a plan of action that defines your audiences, messaging, and how you’ll measure success, you’ll reach customers at a more personal level than other marketing channels and achieve greater ROI.

However, experts generally agree that the average person receives 121 business emails each day, and that number is growing. With more brands vying for attention, your emails have to stand out to be opened and read.

Want to be sure your email marketing is highly effective, messages are read, and customers act? Here’s how.

Target your customers

A common mistake I see is dealers not using powerful audience segmentation tools built into the CRM. When you segment your customers into “buckets” you can create highly targeted lists. Targeted marketing lowers your marketing costs, ensures the right customers are getting the right message, and increases engagement.

For example, open rate percentages for untargeted emails are in the teens. But open rates for targeted emails range from 25 to 30 percent. That can make a huge impact on your bottom line.

There’s no excuse for sending generic, bulk emails when your CRM can do all of the heavy liftings of segmenting customers and sending out specific, personalized messages.

Related: Are car commercials by dealers an effective marketing tool?

Send relevant, engaging messaging

Short, relevant, and personal. That’s a winning formula to get customers to open and act on your emails.

The subject line is a great place to get personal. A sample subject line can say, “Linda, I have a service special created just for your Kia Sportage.”

Who isn’t going to click on that? Out of sheer curiosity, people will read that message. Make the body of the email just as compelling with a 30 to 60-second video talking about the service special in front of a Kia Sportage. In the video, highlight why this particular service is needed right now.

Always include a link to your service scheduler so customers can make an appointment in a few short steps. Also, include the option to move to a text message. You can say something such as, “Is this the best number for you at XXX-XXX-XXXX? Would you prefer we continue our conversation via text or on a call?”

Video is gaining in popularity and it’s easy to see why. Videos are engaging, personal, and easy to create. All you need is a mobile phone (make sure it’s a dealership-provided phone, not a personal phone) and some imagination.

Video sales introductions, vehicle walkarounds, and how to work certain vehicle features are all interesting and informative. Again, tailor the content to your audience. It’s embarrassing to send customers a video about how to connect Bluetooth if their vehicle doesn’t have that functionality.

Measure KPIs

Track all of your campaigns in your CRM so you know what didn’t work, and what did work and should be repeated because it made you money.

A best practice is to track sales and service campaigns for 45 to 60 days. Review email open rates and click-throughs within three days to see who’s engaging with you and when. You may find campaign messaging is good, you’re just sending emails in the morning when the evening gets you higher open rates.

If a campaign is still falling short of expectations, try A/B testing different subject lines and/or offers to see if you can get a stronger response.

Email remains one of the most powerful tools in your digital marketing strategy. Make sure it’s targeted, relevant, and measurable. Most of all, make sure you know how to leverage your CRM to do the heavy lifting so you can increase your ROI.

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