Standing out in the Inbox
Bob McCann, Director of Education, ARI
July 8, 2013
Filed under Guest Blog
People receive hundreds of emails a day, if not more, which means you face steep competition when launching an email promotion, sending out a newsletter, or revealing a new product or service to your customers and prospects. Despite this challenging reality, recent surveys about consumer channel preferences reveal that email marketing still stands as the most likely way to influence consumer buying decisions. Here are a few quick tips that will help your email stand out in the recipient’s inbox:
- Define your objective. Consistency is a key ingredient for success in any marketing campaign. The best way to guarantee success is to develop a strategy, starting with collecting leads. Be sure to collect email addresses from all lead sources, including online inquiries, walk-ins, and phone prospects, and then tag these customers and prospects by interest in your lead management platform. The next step is developing a plan. The best way to start is by answering the tried-and-true questions every journalist asks themselves when writing a story: “Who, What, When, Where and Why”. This sounds obvious, but when you know where you’re headed, it’s so much easier to get there.
- Determine the frequency. There is a fine line between being consistent and being annoying. The same goes for “out of sight, out of mind” vs. “in your face.” If you email too often, you risk having your messages ignored, deleted, marked as SPAM, or even worse your customers may decide to “unsubscribe” from your email communications. Ironically, you may encounter the exact same problem if you don't email frequently enough! Best practice for the industry is to stay in touch at least once a month to maintain an open, personalized dialogue with customers and prospects and keep your dealership at the forefront of their minds. Then, identify the customers who consistently open your emails, and think about creating a segmented list containing these engaged customers. These customers could even be added to an “MVP” list and sent special offers to show your appreciation for their brand loyalty.
- Create content that sells. Deliver value, not self promotion. Tie your recipients’ needs in with the benefits provided by your products or services to give recipients a good reason to read your email in order to get what they want, need, or expect. To do that, be sure your emails bring something to the table – whether it’s interesting information, tips or tricks, ways of dealing with problems, or specials and promotions, your emails must contain something that recipients will value.
- Be seen and opened: “From” and “Subject” lines. The "From" and "Subject" lines of the email are the first things recipients will see. In a matter of seconds, they will either be intrigued or unimpressed. The "From" line is your way of making sure that the recipients recognize you and are comfortable with opening your email. Make sure it clearly contains your name, exact company name, brand or newsletter name. The "Subject" line is even more critical to a campaign's success. It should be succinct and specific in order to summarize the email's content and give readers a good reason to open it. In other words, you’re “selling” what’s inside so make it creative, fun and interesting to boost your open and click-through rate.
Ongoing testing of all key elements of your campaign, including content, format and frequency, is vital to the long-term success of your email marketing efforts. Have a plan; know who you’re talking to and deliver value; keep testing and measuring and you’ll be well on your way to standing out in the inbox.
Bob McCann is ARI’s Director of Education. ARI creates award-winning software solutions that help equipment manufacturers, distributors and dealers Sell More Stuff!™ – online and in-store. ARI removes the complexity of selling and servicing new and used inventory, parts, garments, and accessories for customers in automotive tire and wheel, powersports, outdoor power equipment, marine, RV and white goods industries. More than 22,000 equipment dealers, 195 distributors and 140 manufacturers worldwide leverage our website and eCatalog platforms to Sell More Stuff!™.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org 877-806-2150