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How Do I Best Communicate to My Customers Through E-mail Marketing?

Monday, August 25, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lindsey Johnson
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E-communications have become a critical component of any dealership’s content marketing strategy. It’s a fast, direct and cost-effective means of connecting with current and potential customers about everything you have going on at the dealership year-round, from sales and special events, to preferred pricing, boat show participation, customer appreciation days, and more.

Despite all the wonderful benefits of communicating electronically, however, the medium isn’t without its drawbacks; namely, the tendency to over- or ineffectively communicate. Since it’s fairly simple nowadays to overload custom templates in Constant Contact, MailChimp, or similar e-mail marketing services with everything but the kitchen sink content-wise and click "send,” we forget that we need a filter. Remember: Peoples’ inboxes are cluttered with materials each and every day, and you don’t want to become food for the "junk” or "spam” folders.

You need to create e-communications that are relevant and stand out among the pack, and choose to send e-mails only when you have something to say — not just because "it seems like it’s time to send something out…”

The thing to keep in mind about e-newsletters and e-blasts is that often, less is more. And with a few basic tips under your belt, you can create interesting and engaging communications for your customers and prospects.

The first thing you want to do when strategizing e-mail marketing communications is decide what you want to tell people. Do you have a big event coming up that you’d like customers to attend? Are you having a fabulous sale and want to let customers know about reduced pricing on current inventory? Have you planned a summer rendezvous that you’d like to assemble all the buyers of one of your boat brands to sign up to attend?

Once you decide what you want to communicate, the key is to air on the side of brevity. People often don’t have the time or attention span to scroll through a long, text-heavy e-mail to ferret out what you’re trying to telling them. You want to stay on point; try and see if you can say what you need to say in just a few short sentences, ending the write-up with a link to "more information” where the reader can go if he or she would like to learn more. This give you a better shot at having the whole blurb read and absorbed, as peoples’ patience for long-windedness in e-communications has worn thin.

Short, sweet and succinct — great buzzwords for your e-mail marketing efforts!

Photos also are important. If you can, try and include an image with most of the text blurbs you write. If you don’t have an image for each and every write-up, that’s perfectly okay (heck, even this newsletter doesn’t have images for everything!). There’s literature online that likewise cautions about using too many photos, for fear your e-mails will be gobbled up by spam filters.

Just use your best judgment when it comes to photography; if your newsletter looks too text-y, it probably is. So toss in an image or two to pique readers’ interest and offset some of those words with fun, exciting depictions to get them excited about what you’re telling them.

When it comes to actually mailing out e-communications, you want to try and hit the sweet spot; don’t send something every day, but don’t wait and do it every other month because you’re too busy, either. A short, weekly announcement about available inventory might be a good place to start; you can pick a particular day of the week and routinely send on that day. That way, people will come to expect your e-mail.

You also may want to create a monthly e-newsletter that comes out the first or last day of the month, highlighting things you have been doing, special offers you are touting, etc. Definitely send special announcements as you have them, as some are time sensitive: Newsflash about a weekend boat show or sale, information about an important local meeting on topics that impact boaters in your community; weather and beach advisories; etc.

Monitor your e-mail open rates through the above-mentioned services through which you send them to gauge how you’re doing. An open rate of about 25 percent is considered quite good — meaning that one-quarter of all the people you sent the e-mail too actually opened it up. Also monitor click-through rates and see how many people clicked through to other websites through the links provided in your e-mail.

Following these rudimentary guidelines are sure to keep your e-communications effective and your current and future customers engaged.

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