How to Drive Dealership ROI with Email Marketing

By Canada Drives Newsroom | Dealer Services

As selling takes priority, marketing techniques at a car dealership sometimes get put on the backburner. Dealerships that don’t leverage effective tools to market their business risk losing out to competitors. Email marketing is a powerful tool to have in your back pocket. Here’s why…

Email marketing is one of the oldest online channels for advertising, and today, it is still one of the most effective. This digital marketing strategy yields a 4,400% return on investment for businesses, making it one of the most cost-efficient tools for marketers.

With email marketing, you’re able to target a specific group of prospects based on their preferences, demographics, and sales lifecycle, and send personalized content directly to their smartphones.

From welcome messages to post-purchase offers, the goal of the email is to increase click-throughs and conversions and eventually drive sales for your business.

Let's take a look at some commonly asked questions about email marketing. These tips will help you optimize your strategy and drive new and repeat car buyers to your dealership.

1. How do I convince customers to subscribe?

You probably collect email addresses from customers who walk through your door, but you’ll want to collect them on your website too if you’re not already doing it. You can do this by placing a signup form or subscribe button on your homepage. You should also consider a strategically timed popup opt-in that customers will see at the right time and be motivated to engage with.

Make it worth their while. Your opt-in wordage should include details of what the customer is signing up for. Whether you decide to include educational content, special offers, or both, you need to let your customer know the unmissable value of signing up.

2. How often should I send emails?

There’s no set answer to this question. You might choose to send weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, or yearly. The important thing to remember is to send with purpose and with value for the customer in mind. If your emails are considered spammy with repetitive content and sent too frequently, you’ll see your subscriber list drop off sharply.

3. How do I increase open rates?

For a car dealership that wants to connect and resonate with its local community, communications should be casual and avoid too much business jargon. Customers prefer a non-corporate approach, and it’ll help you stay out of spam folders.

The goal is to get your emails into your customer’s inbox. Email providers like Gmail and Outlook identify corporate or sales-orientated emails and siphon them into junk folders and promotions tabs. You don’t want your promotional content going to those email graveyards.

To boost your chances of getting to the right inbox, your message should be simple, concise, and text-based. Images, videos, and links are great, but they should be used sparingly.

The subject line should align with your personalized content approach. It should include the customer’s name and even the specific vehicle you think they might be interested in. The subject line should be short, sweet, and casual like an email to a friend. Remember, you want to talk to your customer, not at them.

Everybody checks email on their smartphone these days. Ensuring your emails are mobile responsive and easy to read on a small screen will prevent them from being deleted by frustrated recipients.

The more relevant an email is to a customer, the more likely they are to open it. If you want to personalize the content of each email, you need to think about collecting more than just the name and email address upon signup. You need to get information about the make and model of the car that the customer is interested in, the make and model they’re currently driving, etc. With this extra information, you’ll be able to segment your target audience and generate more effective content that’s tailor-made for each recipient.

4. What type of content should I include in my emails?

Your call-to-action should include links to your website along with special offers, service reminders, or promotions, but you should also be building trust and goodwill with great newsletter-style content from time to time. Here are a couple of content ideas you can include in your emails:


As discussed in our blog post about building your online presence, video can be a very effective means of communicating your message and building your brand. Benchmark Email says that 87% of car shoppers use video when researching a product or service.

Think about how test drives and car feature videos can help a prospect visualize how a new car looks and feels. Customer testimonial videos offer social proof that your service is a dependable one, and meet-the-team videos are ideal for showcasing the human side of your business.


If your dealership has a blog, email is a perfect method of spreading awareness about the great content you produce on it. When you post new content, make sure to add a link in your emails so that new and existing customers get to read and benefit from it.

5. Can I automate email marketing?

Email marketing has come a long way since its inception. Today, it can be automated so you barely have to think about it. Essentially, when planning your campaign, you can set actions that trigger specially targeted emails. If any of your contacts meet your set criteria, an email is automatically sent to that customer. For example, if a customer is looking at a specific model on your website, their activity on your site can trigger an email with related products or services that they may be interested in.

As you can tell, email marketing requires some thoughtful planning and strategy. Success won’t happen overnight, but the right content to the right audience at the right time will bring higher open rates and greater ROI.

At Canada Drives, email is just one of the many powerful tools we leverage to reach, engage, and convert customers. With our sales-savvy methods and digital know-how, we deliver steady lead flow to hundreds of certified dealerships nationwide.

Contact us to learn how we can help you find more leads and close more sales.

Smart. Affordable. Reliable.

Start getting quality customers you can count on with Canada Drives today.

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