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What do Honda and Justin Bieber have in common?

Discussion in 'Online Dealership Marketing Support & Best Practic' started by terrencegordon, Nov 22, 2011.

  1. terrencegordon

    terrencegordon New Member

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    This newsletter hit my inbox today from a local dealership. There was one article about a Honda Lease special, one article about snow tires, something about Justin Bieber and an article literally titled, "Fifty Amazing but Completely Useless Facts".

    Sorry. I am not in the market for a Honda...nor 50 additional yet completely useless facts (my friends say I have plenty already)...and I surely don't have Bieber Fever.

    Are these 2001-style newsletters actually still working for dealers? I'd love to know what the success metrics are...

    newsletter.jpg
  2. Foos56

    Foos56 New Member

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    We send out e-mails with new inventory listings to our potential clients, and occasionally receive inquiries based on those e-mails. We also offer an in-office newsletter that some current customers snag when they come in to pay (we are a Buy Here Pay Here). As far as the type of newsletter you posted, Terrence, we do not send - and I know personally that whenever I get something similar in my own inbox, it goes straight to the trashcan.
  3. 1to1News

    1to1News New Member

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    Terrence, I think the lesson is that before anyone hits the "send" button on a newsletter or any type of email marketing they should ask:

    - How is this really going to benefit my customer?
    - Would I read it if I was the customer?
    - How does this help me build my brand?

    With the right content and mix of social and behavior-triggered options, newsletters can be very effective - maybe Jeff will chime in with his recent experience.
    1 person likes this.
  4. Dan Rudd

    Dan Rudd New Member

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    Wow. I am on the news letter of many of our clients but that is first. Honda and Justin Bieber?
  5. terrencegordon

    terrencegordon New Member

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    Malinda - I'm all for keeping in touch with your customers. If I had a business, newsletters MIGHT be a way I would communicate. But I would probably lean much heavier on efforts to get my customers on my Twitter or Facebook accounts. That way I can be more nimble and selective on my messaging...and I would probably handle it in-house so I have full control of what goes out to my customers.

    I'm not trying to call out a vendor here, but my real opinion is that the newsletter above is very simply - the laziest form of marketing I've ever seen. In fact, I've received this newsletter from two different dealers - both using the same vendor. The BRAND articles are different but they both contain the same worthless "filler".

    As a consumer, the effort is transparent.
  6. vb9594

    vb9594 New Member

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    Terrence- I have no idea why you would take this concept to task. Sending people product and lifestyle content surrounded by promotions is nothing new, yet it remains extraordinarily effective. If your only engagement with customers and prospects is "hey, check out my deals," your engagement isn't going to last long or be nearly as effective. I think most dealers who use eNewsletters know people aren't opening them to read the Justin Bieber article (BTW- this isn't an article about Justin Bieber, but an article about Canadian celebrities). But, the fact that a dealer is including that kind of content provides air cover for the promotional content. And...replacing database marketing with "facebook and twitter" is a recipe for selling fewer cars and services. I'm not discounting the validity of those channels, but I know in our case, they can't even come close to the database we've built, and our ability to proactively communicate with said database. And yes, we do also actively market on Facebook and Twitter.

    I don't know if you still have the data on our cancelled web sites, but if you look at our Honda store analytics, you will see that without fail, the day we sent (and send) our Honda eNewsletter (and all of our other eNewsletters) is ALWAYS the day we get the most traffic on our web site and subsequent phone calls, e-mail leads, etc. Regardless of who you use, eNewsletter marketing is a superior form of online marketing.

    If anyone has any questions about this, I am glad to help. I spent 6 years with an eNewsletter company prior to heading over to Balise Auto Group to run digital advertising (been here approximately 1 year). I've lived this as a vendor, and I now live it as a dealer.

    Thanks,

    Brian Epro
  7. ArtMorris

    ArtMorris New Member

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    Not exactly an impartial opinion...

    My opinion as a consumer: when NewEgg starts interjecting bullshit about celebrities in their emails to me I will filter all mail from them directly into the trash.

    Are you seriously suggesting that dealers should buy frivolous content from some sort of eNewsletter vendor and spam it to their customers? Viagra spam does indeed sell viagra, but I wouldn't recommend anyone who values their reputation to use that method to sell cars.
    1 person likes this.
  8. vb9594

    vb9594 New Member

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    I guess the definition of "spam" is in the eye of the beholder. What you call "spam" makes us a ton of money, and as far as I'm concerned, it's just about the farthest from spam you can get. As for being impartial...I guess I am most definitely biased TOWARD eNewsletters. Why? Because I know they work, from both sides of the fence.
  9. Chris Cachor

    Chris Cachor Active Member

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    I'm with Terrence on this one. I've seen other tools like this that "mash" together several articles (semi-related) with a brief paragraph pertaining to the main headline. Complete waste of time. You only get so many chances to hold somebodies attention, and I sure as hell wouldn't waste it doing this.

    I've seen a lot of businesses make a "ton of money" by reaching a 0.025% of people and tick off the rest. For some reason those companies don't last very long.
  10. JoePistell

    JoePistell Super Moderator

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    Brian,

    I am 100% in Arts camp. The net pukes out oceans of noise. The most important marketing hook we have is relavence.

    In other words, if you FINALLY get an interested shopper to read your email and it's filled with... noise, then, you've dilluted your PRIME mission.
    1 person likes this.
  11. JQuinn

    JQuinn Super Moderator

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    Uncle Joe, what efforts do you make to maintain a relationship with your clients during the 3-5 year buying cycle?
  12. JoePistell

    JoePistell Super Moderator

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    All the usual horsesh*t, CRM calls, direct mail, CRM emails and carpet bombing TV.

    After they hit the 24 month mark, we throw their name back into the monthly email sales campaigns.
  13. Mitch Gallant

    Mitch Gallant Refresh Team

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    HMM I'm kind of on Brian's side with this argument and I feel like I'm sticking my neck out BUT... Yes ... Ok, I'll say it. Our. Newsletter had the Bieber piece in it too. (he's clearly is more relevant to Ford customers...riiiight) but rather then having the pissing match and pretending like we know what's best for our customers the lesson should be, look at your analytics. I'll admit we pushed the Beebs article to the bottom like a redhead, but I'll look at the analytics today and throw em up here.
    1 person likes this.
  14. terrencegordon

    terrencegordon New Member

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    Brian, firstly I want to be clarify that I didn't get this newsletter from Balise. It was from one of my local dealerships. Second, the reason I took this to task is because these are the types of products I used to sell back in 2000 when I brokered online ad deals for a living, and I was curious if this method was still effective (which you answered so thank you).

    There is NO debate about the value of a business's database. It could arguably be their most valuable asset.

    And that is precisely my point. As a CUSTOMER of this dealership, I find the "air cover" ridiculous, while the transparency of the effort (especially when I receive the same newsletter with the same content from numerous other dealerships in my area) leaves me feeling like I'm just part of their SPAM list instead of a valued customer. But that is just my opinion.

    With the technology of today I have to imagine database marketing would match specific customer information from the CRM and/or the DMS, and the message would be personalized to me - either about my existing Honda or offers about my specific payment and getting me into a new one. If it's not directed at me personally, the email gets read the first time (not including the Justin Bieber article)...but never the second.

    So if dealers are actually having success with this type of newsletter, I have to imagine success would increase exponentially if the marketing message was customized to the individual.

    Mitch - looking forward to seeing real data. Thanks!
  15. vb9594

    vb9594 New Member

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    The question isn't whether people read the Justin Bieber article...readership of that article will be low. The question is "Do my eNewsletters provide ongoing, highly profitable engagement over a long period of time?" The answer in our case, and in the case of thousands of other dealers, is absolutely yes. Across a 6 figure database, our opt outs are below 1% and our open rates remain very high, as they have for the past 18 months. Further, our monthly influx of THOUSANDS of clicks to the profit centers of our web site indicate to me the eNewsletters, and their content, work.

    And Terrence, I wasn't taking issue with you showing the eNewsletter or thinking that it was Balise (I didn't). In fact, if anyone would like to see our Honda eNewsletter, you can see it here: Balise Honda eNews.

    Say what you will, but we are constantly complimented on our eNewsletters by customers and by the OEMs, and further, this particular edition netted us approximately 500 clicks to our new and pre-owned inventories, along with approximately 400 clicks on coupons. And my marketing team all made the joke about "ugh...Justin Bieber" while we were adding our content, but we held our noses and left the article in there. Because we recognize that if we only engage with our database from the angle of "buy something from us," we're going to earn LESS attention from our database, not more.

    And Terrence- I get a chuckle when a web site vendor complains about "getting the same eNewsletter from numerous other dealerships in my area." I'm going to go ahead and assume you guys now custom build every single one of your web sites. I know when we had ours with your company, there were a bunch of other dealers who had web sites that oddly enough, looked just like ours.

    Regardless of the people who disagree with me on this board, a properly constructed eNewsletter filled with good, professionally written content and promotions for your store is one of the most powerful marketing tools you can use.

    BTW- Uncle Joe- after years of lurking on this board, I need to make sure you know I stole your line about "social media fairies" and particularly loved when you wrote about how when you asked them for the ROI they would "jump onto their unicorns and run away." In fact, I did a presentation to some dealers awhile back and actually used that line on one of the slides, and yes, I attributed it to you directly on the slide!
  16. JQuinn

    JQuinn Super Moderator

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    Curious... Why include something to which you assign little or no real value? Is the effort to create the illusion that you are not trying to "sell?"
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  17. tomwhitejr

    tomwhitejr Member

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    Just because you receive a ton of traffic from a promotion/email campaign/newsletter doesn't mean it's GOOD traffic. What's the time on site, bounce rate, and goal conversions for the traffic. I can quickly get 1000's of visitors to my site, it's what happens after they get there that decides whether or not the campaign was successful... Just sayin'
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  18. Mitch Gallant

    Mitch Gallant Refresh Team

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    You don't have to go philosophical. If you send A CAR DEALER promo, email campaign, newsletter etc... and you get a TON OF TRAFFIC, it's a great thing, no questions asked. In this case, with a newsletter you're dealing with a database of people who've done business with you. They aren't just traffic, and if you can get them to your site, you're winning. You're more then 100% correct that it's what happens after they land that decides whether or not their successfull but this isn't a chicken or the egg situation, this is a 1,2,3.

    Get the traffic.
    Convert the traffic to a lead.
    Appoint and sell the lead.

    You start from the top and tune it up accordingly.
  19. Mitch Gallant

    Mitch Gallant Refresh Team

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    It's not an illusion, it's really what's going on. It has little to no value to me and you, but to someone who thinks Beebs is the shit, they're all over it like a chubby kid on ice cream. That's content that we supplied from our brand, and is just another little thing to keep them tied to our brand.

    This is going to come off contradicting myself and my previous post and I'm happy to go deep but this isn't all about converting to a lead, there's a solid case for this being similar to your Facebook presence, Twitter presence, touchy feely blog etc... It's about the customer ownership experience (SMOT if you wanna get into ZMOT) and optimizing that so when they're ready for a big transaction like a new car, or a small transaction like an oil change, that there's no reason to go anywhere else then our place of business.
  20. Mitch Gallant

    Mitch Gallant Refresh Team

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    From the analytics I'm going to deffer to Brian on this... we had 11 people read the article, and to be honest I can't seem to get into any analytics that make sense or are relevant to this debate... and if anyone knows what IMN's #'s would be valuable or relevant tell me what they are and where to find them and I will post the data.

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