The Gold Neglected by Most Car Dealers | ADS | Chad Brooks

There’s a famous story told to gold miners back in the 1840s when the gold rush in Georgia was believed to be over. Many miners were thinking of heading west to join the 1849 California Gold Rush. A man by the name of Matthew Stephenson proclaimed in the town square to over 200 men, “Why go to California? In that ridge lies more gold than man ever dreamt of. There’s millions in it.” This story was retold to Mark Twain by the Georgia miners who moved to California and likely inspired his character Mulberry Sellers. Sellers was famous for his line: “There’s gold in them thar hills and there’s millions in it.”

Every day I talk to car people who are looking for gold. They want something new, a new idea, a new technique, a new mail piece promotion, anything that sells more cars — and does it this month!

Nothing wrong there.

Everybody has their own idea about what it takes to get more sales. Some are peddling snake oil and then there are others like me who care about the long-term plan of working smarter and not harder.

I’m sure my second grade teacher cared quite a bit about me, but that doesn’t compare to how my parents felt.  It’s kind of like that. Like most things in life, growth goes to those who care most.

I care enough to tell you where we are missing it in the automotive marketing business. Most dealers I talk to have little to no strategy for what I’m about to share with you. Heck, I was a little late to the dance myself.

So what’s the idea?

The gold in “them thar hills” is your email database. A survey found that 90% of business people use email as much, or more than they did last year.

92% of online adults use email. Knowledge workers on average spend 13 of their working hours each week in their email inbox.

57% of email subscribers spend 10 to 60 minutes browsing marketing emails during the week.

78% of marketing emails are sent to a personal email account.

So how well are you capturing names and emails from those who visit your showroom? What email marketing strategy do you have that connects with these people that they look forward to hearing from you on a regular basis?

Following are 7 ideas that will rapidly grow your email assets and have you in the game of selling more cars (mining gold):

  1. Store Kiosk – Capture names and emails using a showroom kiosk in combination with,
  2. Contest Marketing – Using a strategic contest that allows you to exchange value with a prospect. You get their name and email, and when they plan to buy their next vehicle in exchange for a chance to win dinner and a movie.ADS | Contest Marketing
  3. Email Marketing – Deliver quality information in a way that is relevant, personal, and timely. This means a consistent strategy that, done effectively will deliver leads to your sales team.ADS | Email Marketing
  4. Website – Do you have an opt-in process on your website that captures names and emails? Think of how many visitors are on your website today. These are people who have already expressed interest or they wouldn’t be on your website. Are you capturing their name and email? Are you learning their digital body language and what they like and don’t like?
  5. Database mining – There is a metric for just about everything. Are you capturing the right metrics? You should be connecting with your audience who raised their hands that they are in the market, or will be in the market, to buy or need service or warranty coverage. This can be a goldmine for your dealership!
  6. Social media marketing – Are you extending your market reach by connecting with your fans’ fans? There is a big strategy here that can have your email list growing in no time.
  7. Direct Mail – Complement your direct mail with a strategic landing page designed to help grow your email list and enhance your brand image.

Email and contest marketing isn’t a tactic. It’s not a channel. It’s a strategic operation that delivers:

  • More qualified leads
  • Increased revenue
  • Better cost-per-lead ratios
  • Strengthened brand loyalty

Don’t just take my word on it. Check out what other experts have to say about email/digital marketing:

  • 78% of CMOs think custom content is the future of marketing.
  • 27,000,000 pieces of content are shared each day.
  • 62% of emails are opened on mobile devices.
  • 200% — increase in email open rates for companies integrating a content marketing operation.
  • $44.25 — is the average return on investment for every $1 spent on email marketing.
  • 6X — the revenue lift companies report after implementing a email marketing operation.
  • 1 in 3 marketing dollars are spent on content marketing.
  • 44% – of email recipients made at least one purchase last year based on promotional email.
  • Women click 10% more often than men on mobile emails.
  • 64% of decision-makers read their email via mobile devices.
  • By 2016, there will be  4.3 billion email accounts.

If that doesn’t make you think…

This will.

By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationships without talking to a human.

“There’s gold in them thar hills and there’s millions in it.” — it just happens to be your email list. It’s an untapped asset by most car dealers.

You are likely asking at this point, “So what do I do?”

Step 1: Hire a writer and editorial team to get your email marketing party started.

Step 2: Create a strategy and write it down in an editorial calendar.

Step 3: Hire a design and creative team to produce awesome content and contests that enhance the dealership brand and get people to enter and ultimately buy a car.

Step 4: Use interactive content including visually compelling landing pages, emails, and don’t forget video. This is where your design and creative team play.

Step 5: Publish, distribute, and promote your contests and content where potential car buyers will find it.

Step 6: And finally, the most important step is to track your progress and keep doing it.


Learn more about the new ADS Digital Marketing Strategy by completing the form below. The ADS Digital Marketing Strategy will provide you with the tools, strategy, and leadership to help you strike gold.

This is Part 1 in a 5-part October Gold Series.