It’s all about engagement

Brad Cannon | 04/15/2019

Last month I talked about email list hygiene, and explained why it matters. I also touched on engagement, and I’d like to talk a little about that this month.

So what is engagement? 
Engagement is when a recipient takes some action on an email. They can be both good and bad.

Good engagements are opens, clicks, forwards, re-opens, movement to sub-folders from the inbox, and prints. Yes, they know when you print emails. Creepy? Yeah.

All of these types of engagement are positive, and help improve your reputation as a sender with the IPS (internet service providers).

There are bad engagements as well. Movement to the junk folder, unsubscribes, and of course spam reports, will all harm your reputation with various providers and can lead to your emails being undelivered or delivered straight to the junk folder.

No engagement at all is also bad. Providers see this as you sending emails to people who either aren’t expecting to get emails from you, or don’t care about what you’re sending. 

We oversee the sending of over 12 million emails per month, and as you might suspect I get to see the good, bad, and ugly. We have high quality senders who have great open and engagement rates, and some who seem to be trying to put on a clinic of how not to do email.

Let’s walk through a couple of the basics of good email.

First – people want to hear from people. The WORST POSSIBLE “from” address is “donotreply@”. Don’t do it. Although not nearly as bad – but still not good – is “sales@” or “marketing@”. These are not people. Make your email from a person and you’ll see a bump in open rates. Better still, we’ve proven with the data that emails coming from a female get an even better bump. 

Second – your subject line needs to make people want to open your email. We have some dealers who think that the secret to getting people to open emails is TO TYPE THE ENTIRE SUBJECT LINE IN ALL CAPS WITH LOTS OF EXCLAMATION POINTS!!! AND ONLY MENTION ZERO % FINANCING RIGHT NOW!!!

For the love of God, please stop. Stop yelling at me. At any given point in time, a small fraction of your buying base is ready to get a new unit, and they were just put off by the all caps subject line. As the recipient, it makes your emails remind me of the used car salesman on TV who runs around slapping hoods, yelling at me. Never bought anything from him either.

Great subject lines use one of the proven drivers of response in a smart way. Curiosity, desire for gain, and fear of loss are where magic happens. Rather than the all caps, veins sticking out screaming headline, it would be better to try something like

• 5 things to get your ride ready for Spring
• Look what’s just in
• We’re celebrating this weekend!
• The 3 most important safety checks

The idea is to create headlines that make folks want to click to see more. If you have subject lines that basically give out the content – and the content is a shallow sales message – they’ve seen all they need to in order to ignore it.

Once we get people to actually look at your email, we want to get them to take some additional action. Click something. It shows better engagement, and hey, could lead to a sale!

There seems to be a practice that is beginning to spread, and it’s a bad one. There are folks who are creating emails that are just banner graphic after banner graphic, like a stack of little billboards one after the other. Many times, they aren’t linked to anything to take you anywhere, and if they are, you wouldn’t know it because there’s no call to action.

Your content needs to have text, not necessarily tons of it, but there needs to be text. Say something.

There needs to be a call to action, or better yet, several of them. For different departments. Cast a broad net to catch a lot of fish. We give webinars every week that show you how to do this and generate leads for every department. 
Good practice leads to good deliverability, good engagement, and the real goal, which is sales.
Spend the time to get your email sending up to snuff, and you’ll find that it will reward you with the best ROI of nearly any marketing you can do.
Give us a shout and get your invite to one of our Firestorm Email webinars where we show you the best practices in action, and how they can impact your dealership.

Talk soon. 

Firestorm Marketing

Tel: (877) 242-4472
Int: (770) 692-1750
Text: (770) 692-1750