Email Marketing: Six Tips for Better Results

May 26, 2022

Email marketing is a useful tool for engaging, nurturing, and retaining clients while creating visibility for your shop. Learn a few ways to make it work for you.

Danielle Wallace has been the content strategy manager at BG Products, an aftermarket supply company, for 15 years, and there’s one surefire content strategy that’s never failed: the changing of the seasons. 

With summer soon on the horizon, that’s a strategy Wallace has been focused on in recent email campaigns because dealerships and shops alike will be working to sell air conditioning and other climate services to their customers as temperatures rise to torrid levels. 

It’s one of the many important email strategies Wallace uses, working to engage and retain clients. In the digital era, email has become an incredible tool for marketing, and its importance can’t be understated. It’s an unbelievable instrument that, if used correctly, can help businesses engage, nurture, and retain clients. 

Wallace works to engage clients on a daily basis and has gotten familiar with several email tools and tricks that have proven successful at creating connections with customers, drawing engagement, and furthering their goals at BG Products. 

Know Your Audience

Wallace deals with three separate audiences and uses different strategies for each. BG Products is a business-to-business and a business-to-consumer company, meaning Wallace has experience crafting messaging both to businesses as well as directly to consumers. Her email messaging is dependent on her audience. 

When working with sales reps and distributors, Wallace focuses her email campaigns on things like products, promotions, technical service bulletins—anything upcoming they might need to know. 

But when working with independent shops and fleets, Wallace shifts to the climate strategy, using the seasons to her advantage. Demand for air conditioning is always going to rise as the temps climb! 

And when working on promotions directly to consumers, the messaging shifts directly toward the vehicle owner. That comes in the form of reminders, maybe about transmission service or air conditioning, important service reminders that’ll get the customer thinking about bringing their car in. 

Taking Action: Tailor your email messaging to your audience. Speak their language, provide perks that matter to them, and think ahead for your shop and your customers (e.g., air condition check coupons in the early spring, heating system check coupons at the end of summer).

Tools of Engagement

In addition to messaging, different email tools can help you reach your audience and can further drive engagement. Wallace uses HubSpot, a customer relationship management platform, which provides numerous tools to drive engagement. 

She uses the service to create email landing pages, create forms for BG Products’ website, and create automation. Automation in particular has been quite successful. They allow Wallace to see what clients have clicked on, providing the methodology for a more targeted approach. For example, if Wallace had sent out an email and saw a client had clicked on a link about air conditioning, she’d be able to send a follow-up email that keyed in even more on air conditioning. 

Wallace has also noticed that GIFs within emails have worked very well to drive engagement, something they now typically include in all their emails. Videos and images have also been successful.

Something as simple as an email coming from a person rather than a business has been known to drive engagement. 

“We have a lot more opens when we do that,” Wallace says. 

Wallace says BG Products has also been working on campaigns that offer “free swag,” which have also been really big openers. And if they offer a mug, hat, or t-shirt to a customer who they’re trying to solicit a testimonial from, they’ve tended to get a good response. 

Wallace also recommends putting what she calls a “soft call to action” above the fold of the email, as opposed to forcing the customer to scroll to the bottom to see it. 

“A softer call to action can be something like ‘learn more,’” Wallace says. “Whereas your hard call to action is like ‘schedule now, book now, buy now’ kind of thing.” 

Taking Action: A CRM is a great resource for helping shops with email automation. Choose a CRM that provides the tools you need for your shop, and start sending value-added communications that include offers and promotions your customers can take advantage of right away.

Keep It Simple

One of Wallace’s biggest pieces of advice is to keep emails simple.

“Ask yourself, ‘What do you want them to do, feel, or learn?’” she says. 

Wallace says a lot of people starting out will try to include the “entire kitchen sink,” and she believes that keeping things simpler creates a more targeted and effective approach that better drives home the message you’re trying to sell. 

Taking Action: Know why you’re emailing your customers and focus on that one thing. Offering too much information or too many choices can create analysis paralysis and derail your efforts. 

Capturing Emails

Email marketing requires one small item before it can be successful: emails. 

Capturing emails is vital to any email marketing campaign, and Wallace uses a variety of methods to capture emails, many of which come right back to HubSpot. 

HubSpot allows her to build forms for their website, allowing BG Products to capture emails right from there. If they have a car care guide on their site and people download it, they capture those emails, and it goes straight to the intended list. 

Those people are enrolled, and soon, BG Products will start sending them emails. 

Additionally, Wallace says they use other lead capturing methods, such as trade shows. 

Taking Action: People are protective of their inboxes, which makes freebies and low-cost offers the best lead generation tool for capturing email addresses. What value can you offer prospective customers in exchange for their email address (and remember, it needs to be valuable to them, not you).

Don't Be Afraid

Wallace says it’s important not to be afraid to send out emails. 

“I think a lot of people worry that it’s going to go straight to their spam and that they’re annoying people,” she says. 

But Wallace says it takes people five times to see something before they realize they even saw it. But she also acknowledged there is a flip side, where businesses send out too many emails. 

She says it’s important not to shy away but sending 2-3-4 emails per day is definitely too much. 

Taking Action: Email a few times per week, if it makes sense. Some people may unsubscribe and you shouldn’t be afraid of unsubscribers. Focus instead on those who open and engage with your emails. Those who unsubscribe typically aren’t paying customers or intending to become paying customers.

Stick with What Works

While a lot of marketing is research-based, Wallace says trial and error is also huge. There are floods of strategies that have the potential for success, so take the time to figure out what’s working

Keep refining those ideas, take the time and set yourself up for success. 

“Once you find something that works, keep doing it till it doesn’t work anymore,” Wallace says.

Taking Action: Study your email analytics from week to week. Learn which subject lines work, which don’t, which offers generate a response, and which fall flat. Then make adjustments to better dial into your customer's needs.

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