[caption id="attachment_3541" align="aligncenter" width="460"] Engaging email will always bring out the smile in your auto shop customers.[/caption]
Your email list is one of your most important marketing tools, but having a large list doesn’t guarantee success.
From the moment you request a customer’s email to the moment you sent out your first—and second, and third—email of the month, there are plenty of pratfalls that can trip you up.
Here’s how you can give your auto shop’s emails a fighting chance:
- Provide a good hook. The best way to manage engagement of your auto shop’s emails is to give your customers a good reason to opt-in to your list and to set reasonable expectations. Offer discounts that they wouldn’t otherwise get, or allow them to schedule priority appointments over non-email subscribers.
- Be responsible when you build your email list. Never buy emails from a third-party vender. Always ask permission from customers—it’s part of the setting expectations rule above.
- Choose a reliable email marketing service provider. It sounds like something you could do on your own—and it probably is—but the truth is that you won’t be able to do it as well as the professionals. Leave it to us.
- Create engaging content. This is a golden rule no matter what social media platform you’re dealing with. Everyone has a different opinion of what exactly makes an engaging email, but for auto shops, there are a few basic guidelines. Keep it light, informational and nice to look at. Brevity is good.
- Manage your complaints. It’s not uncommon for customers to agree to sign up for your email marketing, then change their minds. Maybe you didn’t reach the right chord, or maybe he or she just lost interest. No worries; thank them for their time and patience and cancel their subscription. You can even set up a separate email to handle those requests—that way you can track them.
- Monitor your reputation. There are services like Return Path that will help monitor your online reputation and also ensure a quick response should your email ever be hacked. These are called email intelligence vendors and, while it sounds very James Bond-ish, it isn’t. It’s a data driven service that is a lot easier to use than figure out on your own.
- Let your customers know who you are. Sign everything with your name, not your shop. Provide easy ways for them to unsubscribe and follow up with the initial promises you or your staff made when you asked them for their email address to begin with.
- Set the proper pace. You don’t want to overrun your auto shop customers’ email box with marketing—it will quickly be diverted to the spam folder—and you don’t want to lose touch, either. Aim for a monthly or twice-monthly schedule. It should give you enough opportunity to talk about any monthly specials you have or news to share and it won’t get stale.
Email is still a valuable marketing tool for auto shops. Make sure you get the right service, and you’ll give your marketing a fighting chance against all the other shops out there.