EVERY Customer eMail Address (continued)
Today 49% of Americans say they prefer e-mail to telemarketers and
40% say they would rather receive an e-mail over direct mail marketing.  
Consider that the ROI for every U.S. dollar spent on e-mail marketing is a
whopping $51.45 and one realizes that e-mail is quickly becoming the
preferred method of communicating and marketing not only for the
consumer but for the auto dealership.
We can liken dealerships that fail to embrace the significance of capturing
e-mail addresses to Oldsmobile.  Do you remember when people actually
wanted to drive an Oldsmobile?  It wasn’t that long ago that Oldsmobile was
considered a solid American brand.  We all know that Oldsmobile met its
demise when General Motors failed to produce an Oldsmobile that was
relevant in the eyes of the American consumer.  Dealerships that fail to
realize the impact e-mail will continue to have with their customers will
unfortunately follow the same path of irrelevance as Oldsmobile.
Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved.
By Vince Rubino
VP Marketing / RewardLogix
To start, there is not enough emphasis placed on capturing e-mails from the top.  
The result is a staff that doesn’t see the importance if the owner or general manager doesn’t
tell them that collecting e-mails is important.  In this case all the dealership can expect is a
staff that randomly asks customers for an e-mail.  The staff needs to know that capturing e-
mail is not only a part of their expected duties but their participation is also going to be
routinely tracked and evaluated.

Have you ever tried asking a customer for an e-mail address?  Good Luck!  
Consumers value their privacy and many consider their e-mail address as the last grasp of
personal information that they have control over.  Many people avoid giving up their e-mail
addresses at all costs in fear of having their inbox plastered with spam.  All too often
dealerships simply ask customers for e-mail addresses without giving an explanation or a
reason why and assume that “a lot of my customers just don’t have e-mail...” when they
experience poor results.  There isn’t a dealership in the country that should expect anything
less than 70-80% e-mail capture rate.  If the dealership isn’t collecting 70-80% of customers
valid e-mail addresses then it is either not consistently asking every customer for their e-
mail or going about it all wrong.
    It wasn’t that long ago when folks in rural communities were thought to be
    disconnected from the rest of the World Wide Web.  Widespread access to
    internet has also opened the world of e-mail to even those in the most far
    off reaches.  And don’t think for a second that the nation’s seniors are not
    hopping online to read e-mail.  With people living longer and their children
    and grandchildren often living long distant, e-mail has created an instant,
    low cost connection to loved ones. The most important group of all is future
    customers…our children.  Today the next generation of car buyers already
    is accessing e-mail at home, at school and even on their cell phones.  
    There is little doubt that tomorrow they will be checking e-mail from
    their cars!
The first step in assuring effective e-mail capture rates for the dealership is to
implement a formal word track or script you want your staff to stick to when asking
for customer e-mails.  Rather than have the staff simply ask “do you have an e-mail
address?” have them not only ask for the e-mail address but also continue on with
why you are asking for their e-mail and what you intend to do with it.  
“Mr. Smith I
need a valid e-mail address if you have one as this is how we will
communicate important information about your vehicle and news from the
manufacturer or the dealership.
We promise never to abuse your right to privacy
by sending you junk mail or sharing your e-mail with others.”  By assuring the
customer with a valid reason for requesting their e-mail address and proactively
eliminating concerns about spam and invasion of privacy you can drastically improve
e-mail capture rates.
Speaking of privacy, when trying to effectively capture customer e-mail addresses it is a good idea to clearly post
your privacy policy and be sure to include e-mail addresses as information you keep as guarded as social
security numbers and credit information.  In a computer age where consumers fear invasion of privacy and
identity theft reassuring your customers that you respect and value their information as private goes a long way in
eliminating any barriers in offering you an e-mail address.

Implementing a loyalty program in the dealership is a proven method of boosting e-mail capture rates

Consumers are accustomed to loyalty programs from nearly every facet of retail. Why not a loyalty program
specific to your dealership? Loyalty programs give your customers a real reason to give you their e-mail address.  
Loyalty programs offer customers something in return for their e-mail address.  With most customized loyalty
programs, such as REWARDLogix, the dealership can extend exclusive discounts and offers that are delivered via
e-mail.  Dealerships can even award points, services or monthly prizes exclusive to loyalty customers that offer
their e-mail addresses.

Most customized loyalty solutions not only offer a highly effective means of collecting e-mail addresses but they
often include the tools that will allow you to utilize e-mails as a viable marketing vehicle.  Many dealerships are
turning to e-mail as featured marketing tool because it allows them to send a message that is instant, media rich
and FREE!  Direct mail and newspaper costs continue to increase while readership and response rates dwindle.  
It is obvious why e-mail marketing is growing in popularity and effectiveness as an alternative to print.
Vince Rubino is VP of Marketing for RewardLogix, which was
developed to fit the ever demanding complexities of
dealership needs. The dealer decides the rewards, the
points and how they are redeemed and RewardLogix builds
the program. With ADP and Reynolds & Reynolds DMS
integration, this provides effortless card activation and point
tracking allowing your dealership to focus on what matters
most... selling cars and satisfying service customers. Visit
http://www.rewardlogix.com/about.html for more info.
So while every dealership should see the need to collect valid e-mail addresses from
not only current customers but also prospects, most are doing a poor job of doing so.  
The primary reason is how dealerships are going about attempting to collect e-mails.
Once the dealership has implemented the means of effectively capturing up 70-80% of customer e-
mail addresses and is utilizing the e-mail addresses to communicate and advertise with customers
all that is left is to make sure you hold onto those e-mail addresses.  Use good judgment when
deciding when and how your dealership uses e-mail as a means of communicating and advertising
to your customers.  Would you want any business blasting you with weekly e-mails?  Sending a few
well thought e-mails that your customers will find real benefit and value in will go a long way from
having your customers adding you to their spam lists or opt out of receiving e-mails from your
dealership.  Remember to limit both the number and frequency to 1-2 e-mails send per customer
per month as a good rule of thumb for acceptable contact.  Studies have shown too much or too
frequent contact reduces the impact your message has with your customers.  You want your
customers to know that when they do receive an e-mail from the dealership it will always be of great
benefit and value to them.

An established customer and prospect e-mail database will prove to be of tremendous value to the
automotive dealership and will help generate sales with the customers of today and tomorrow.  If
your dealership is currently enjoying e-mail capture rates in the 70-80% range, or higher, and
beginning to use e-mail as a marketing tool the future will prove to be bright.  If your dealership has
not come close to these levels or hasn’t even made e-mail collection a focus what are you waiting
When the staff
understands that
management is
looking at e-mail
capture rates just
like they do sales
and service will
make a more
conscious effort in
asking for e-mails.