"I don't give a damn 'bout my 'bad reputation" sang Joan Jett (1980).
Back then, Rock n' Roll legend Joan Jett didn't worry much about her bad reputation. While Jett's Rock n' Roll credibility brought her much success, this type of thinking may not work as well for today's auto dealer, especially when it comes to sending emails to prospective customers using bulk mailing lists.
As an auto dealer, you probably are always concerned about your dealership’s reputation. But did you know that Email providers like Google, Yahoo, Hotmail, control what will make its way to the intended inbox? And they go to various lengths to protect a client's inbox from unsolicited email.
Better known as SPAM, this unsolicited mail gets blocked and/or collected in an electronic "junk" file or folder. As a result of sending out mass emails, your good intention email may fall into that file and land you a bad reputation as determined by these Email providers.
So how do you avoid gaining a bad email reputation?
Follow 3 simple strategies to avoid a bad reputation and ensure your direct email gets delivered to the intended recipients.
1. Avoid purchasing mass email lists.
Develop lists and send emails to customers who have opted to receive emails from you. Ideally you should send emails to customers who:
- purchased a car from you
- got a car serviced at your dealership
- contacted you via email for more information about your deals
Reward: Chances of your email being "flagged" as spam remain low. Why? Your customers will be familiar with your brand and therefore likely read your marketing and promotional emails even if they choose to opt-out of receiving more.
2. Respect your customers' requests to opt-out of receiving email.
Just because a customer opts-in to receive promotional emails doesn't mean s/he wants to receive them every week. An oil change or unpaid invoice reminder is fine, but constant campaigning can be downright annoying often resulting in a customer's request to stop the emails. Therefore, it's important to respect your customers' decision to opt-out from your email campaigns, no questions asked.
Reward: Respect begets respects. Customers may remember your emails but more so they appreciate your work in taking them "off the list." Not doing so may also invite Federal Trade Commission to impose hefty fines on your dealership.
3. Segment your customers' email addresses according to their interests.
Pay attention to customers' interests and purchases. So that each recipient gets an appropriate email, you can sort email addresses according to the customers' past behaviors in using your dealership. For example, you might send a "trade-in" promotion to a customer who recently got a very old car serviced. Or, send a coupon through email to a customer who recently used a coupon at your dealership.
Reward: Customers appreciate that fact that you remember who they are and care about their interests. This alone will get you referrals, keeps a customer coming back for more, and earns you a good reputation.