Car Dealers: Are you making this gorilla email mistake?

When was the last time you saw one of these big inflatables outside of a dealership?

It’s been probably 10 years since I’ve seen one. Most car dealers now have more sophisticated marketing strategies than simply screaming: “Buy Now. Big Sale.”

That is, until it comes to email marketing.

Think about the last five email messages you sent to your customer database. Were they promoting a sale you’re having? Advertising the latest offers and incentives? Maybe offering some service coupons?

All good messages, but what if your customer isn’t in the market right now for a new or used car? And just had their vehicle serviced? Your email is about as helpful as a giant gorilla. What happens next? Click. Your email was just deleted – or even worse – the customer hit the unsubscribe button.

In 2018, email marketing still delivers one of the highest returns for your marketing dollar but you can’t continuously use outdated “Buy Now! Buy Now!” messages.

Instead, consider implementing a car dealership newsletter with content that will actually teach and entertain your customers with:

  • How-to videos demonstrating your vehicles’ latest technology and safety features
  • Maintenance tips and tricks to help them save money and make their vehicle last longer
  • The latest news about your community involvement

Newsletter articles like this build rapport with your customers and keep them coming back to your dealership. It’s as simple as that.

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. What kind of email messages from a car dealership would you want to receive?

The automotive newsletters that we produce for car dealerships throughout the United States and Canada, deliver consistently high open rates and click throughs with very little effort from you – we’ll take care of everything. Give us a call at (800) 879-8870 for details on our free trial.


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Top 3 Car Dealership Newsletter Mistakes

Does your car dealership newsletter suffer from these common mistakes?

Mistake #1: Boring Content… this stat might surprise you.

If your newsletters aren’t getting a 20-25% click through rate, your newsletter content isn’t engaging your customers like it should. If customers don’t see the value in clicking on your stories, it’s just a matter of time before they stop seeing the value of even opening your newsletter.

Even worse… email providers (AOL, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc.) monitor which emails their customers open. If your newsletters are consistantly not opened by a customer, that email provider can start delivering your newsletter to the spam folder instead.

We can show you two simple tricks to easily increase customer engagement with your newsletter while also generating hot leads for you.

Mistake #2: Lost Website Traffic

Do you have your menu navigation at the top of every page on your website? Of course you do because without easy access to the 40+ links most dealer websites have, you lose traffic. But do you have those same menu links at the top of your newsletter content pages?

At no extra charge, we build a custom microsite that matches the look, feel and navigation of your main website. This microsite hosts your newsletter content so all of your important links are just an easy click away.

Mistake #3: Outdated technology

Is your newsletter company keeping up with the latest email marketing advances? Are you taking advantage of:

SmartSend technology which delivers your newsletters to your customers’ inboxes at the time they typically check their email.

Triggered follow-ups that are automatically sent to your customers based on which story they click on. It’s just like having a virtual sales force.

Automated DMS integration so you know which of your customers read your newsletter and then purchased a vehicle and/or service work and the total dollars generated. Plus, you don’t have to mess with database exports.

We include all of these capabilities plus how-to videos, social media integration and more at one affordable price.

Mistake #4: Not taking advantage of a Free Demo and a Free Trial

Ok, we promised three mistakes and we’re listing four.

May we put together a sample eNewsletter for you – personalized with your photo, your dealership’s info, and built on a microsite to match your website? (We’ll do all the work for you, at no obligation.)

If you like the sample, then we’d like to prove how effective our newsletters are by giving you a free month to see for yourself how much more sales and service revenue our newsletters can generate for you.

Interested? Simply call (800) 879-8870 or send us an email and we’ll start working on your sample eNewsletter.

Malinda Terreri


If you choose to continue after the trial, we’ll send up to 5000 eNewsletters for just $495/mo without any long-term contracts. We handle everything – from content and distribution to tracking and reporting. What’s not to love about that? So please give us a call today.

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Are Your Boring Emails Sabotaging Your Sales?

If your follow-up emails read like form letters, it’s hard to get customers to respond. The secret to a higher response rate is simply to add a little personality, warmth, and humor.
Here’s how…

These five easy interventions will give dull copy a little KAPOW. These aren’t touchy-feely exercises, but rather more like structural changes that will humanize your writing. And while these tips won’t win you any gold stars from English teachers, they will help you personalize the tone of your emails.

1. Use ellipses

Did you know . . .

An ellipsis (. . .) adds anticipation to your writing. It’s kind of like a visual “Dun, dun, dunnnnnnnn.” What’s going to happen next?

Ellipses pull people in and push them to your next thought, giving the feeling that you are about to share a secret. And who do you share secrets with? Friends. People you like.

Using ellipses is great for subject lines where you’re trying to make it through the inbox triage and get people to actually open your email.

The next time you ask a question in an email, try adding an ellipsis to the first half and putting the second half in the next paragraph. You’ve just made your email easier to read and more effective.

2. Include (asides), italics, and quotation marks

Using asides is one way to add a personal touch to your writing by giving the reader the feeling that you’re talking directly to them. (Am I right?)

You can use this technique to add a tongue-in-cheek comment, state the obvious, debate with yourself, or ask a rhetorical question. Use this technique sparingly so it doesn’t slow down the flow of your writing.

3. Feature fragments

People are tired.

And in a hurry.

So they skim when they read.

Using short, choppy sentences breaks up the visual fatigue of long paragraphs. It also makes your writing mirror the casual, fragmented way that people actually talk. A bonus is that giving sentences one simple focus makes them easier to understand.

Try editing your copy to start a sentence with “And,” “But,” or “Because,” and see how more informal it sounds.

4. Sprinkle in an occasional emoji or animated GIF

You know the adage a picture is worth a thousand words. Depending on your brand, you can sometimes use a humorous image to spark a response. Let’s say you’ve built up a pretty good relationship with a customer, and then all of a sudden they’ve ghosted and stopped responding to you.

What if you sent them an email that only had this animated GIF

cookie monster waiting
(credit: Rachman Blake):

5. Add a little ’60s Batman flavor

Earlier I mentioned adding a little KAPOW to your writing. The use of onomatopoeia (spelling out sounds), words that rhyme, or words that contain the letters p, b, d, g, t, or k are just fun. They help you make an impression. When your reader thinks your message is coming from a real person and not a 21-step autoresponder, you’re more likely to get a response.

Let’s put some of these techniques to the test.

Here’s a typical email I received from a car salesperson:

Subject line: Did You Get My Emails?

I just wanted to make sure that you’ve been receiving my emails. It’s important for me to know that I’ve provided the information you requested and answered all additional questions you may have.

Do you think this is the right vehicle? Are there any issues or concerns around fitting it into your budget? Would you like an update on the latest incentives?

My goal is to earn your business no matter what it takes. I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to earn yours!

I know that the key to getting every customer’s business is to give the best service, have the best selection, and give our customers confidence with our pricing that can’t be beat! This is one of the reasons our dealership is so highly rated.

I hope you’re still interested in a new vehicle, and most importantly I hope to see you soon. Thanks for considering (Dealer Name).


Subject line: Great googly moogly, you’re hard to reach!

Hey (name),

The pricing I sent you on the Toyota Corolla is about to change (and if you’re like me, you like to save money).

Still interested?

Please hit reply or shoot me a text at (number) and let me know a good time to give you an update.

Have your plans changed?

No problem. If you could do me a favor and reply to let me know, then I can stop filling up your inbox.

Did you know…

That our dealership has a 4.9-out-of-5 rating, based on over 1,000 customer reviews? Plus, we have more than 300 new and used vehicles in stock. And our service department is open late three nights a week.

Thanks again, (name), for your interest in the new Corolla, and I look forward to chatting with you soon.

One of the nice things about the email above is that the line about the price changing doesn’t say whether it’s an increase or a decrease. When customers feel like they’re getting emails from a real person, they’re more likely to respond—which is half the battle in sales!

Could some of these techniques help you?

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Good News for CDK and Reynolds Dealers

Yesterday, Authenticom received some good news regarding their lawsuit against CDK and Reynolds over data integration. If you are a CDK or Reynolds dealer who has been unable to implement a dealership newsletter because your DMS provider has been blocking your vendor’s data access – please give us a call!

Here’s  the update:

LA CROSSE, Wisc., July 14,  2017 – Today a federal court granted Authenticom, Inc.’s motion for a preliminary injunction against CDK Global (“CDK”) and The Reynolds and Reynolds Company (“Reynolds”).  The Court held that CDK and Reynolds must “cease blocking Authenticom” from providing “data integration services to dealers who authorize Authenticom to provide this service.”  In so ruling, the Court held that Authenticom had satisfied each element for granting a preliminary injunction, including demonstrating that CDK and Reynolds have likely violated federal antitrust laws.  The Court gave the parties one week to submit proposed language effectuating the Court’s ruling.  The Court’s opinion and order can be found at the following link.  Opinion and Order – Judge Peterson

“The Court’s ruling today is an important step forward not only for Authenticom, but for the automotive industry as a whole.  Authenticom can now meet the data integration needs of both dealers and vendors without the threat of Authenticom’s dealer-authorized data access being blocked,” said Authenticom CEO Steve Cottrell.  “We look forward to providing secure, cost-effective, and reliable data integration services to our existing and future customers, finally without the threat of being hindered by CDK’s and Reynolds’ anticompetitive conduct.”

On May 2, 2017, Authenticom filed an antitrust lawsuit against CDK and Reynolds in federal court in the Western District of Wisconsin.  Then on May 18, 2017, Authenticom filed a motion for a preliminary injunction, seeking an order enjoining CDK and Reynolds from blocking Authenticom’s dealer-authorized data integration services.  An evidentiary hearing was held before the Court on June 26-28, 2017, during which executives from Authenticom, CDK, Reynolds, vendors, and dealers testified.  Expert witnesses on data security and antitrust economics also testified.

In today’s ruling, the Court held that there is sufficient evidence to find “the existence of a per se illegal horizontal conspiracy” between CDK and Reynolds to divide the data integration market and block competitors like Authenticom.  The Court also found that CDK’s and Reynolds’ contracts with dealers and vendors contain provisions that are likely to be found unlawful in restricting free competition in the data integration market.

“We look forward to competing with CDK and Reynolds on a level playing field,” Mr. Cottrell stated.  Authenticom’s DealerVault service allows dealers to have complete control and transparency over how their data is used by vendors.”

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Car Dealerships & Newsletter Contracts

Recently we were contacted by a Chevrolet dealership interested in switching to our automotive newsletter service because they were unhappy with their current provider. They were all ready to make the switch and then realized that instead of being in a month-to-month contract with their old provider, they were actually locked in for another 13 months.


Ask yourself this: If you owned a newsletter company and knew that the car dealerships that you worked with were going to evaluate your newsletter performance:

  • Monthly
  • Annually
  • Once every three years

what do you think would happen?

Do you think you might make sure your newsletter was continually upgraded, optimized for engagement and delivering a high ROI if you knew someone was looking at your performance each month rather than every 3 years?

Here’s the good news if you find yourself in a long-term newsletter contract with a “Goliath vendor” that you would like to get out of. It turns out that the vendor with often let you switch those dollars to another one of their services.

So this story had a happy ending. The client was able to get out of their newsletter commitment and start his month-to-month contract with us.


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How My Bad Email Advice Almost Ruined a Friendship

Recently a friend of mine called me to pick my brain on email marketing. His company (not a car dealership) has about 70,000 people on their email list and their open rates were getting steadily worse. In his testing, he saw that a lot of their emails were getting delivered to the spam folder. He was looking for changes they could make to improve their deliverability.

I explained that consistently getting into the inbox was based on their email reputation. Their email reputation is based on their subscriber engagement. In a nutshell, when a company sends out a newsletter, the email providers (Yahoo, Gmail, etc.) consider the following behaviors which negatively affect your reputation:

  • High bounces due to bad email addresses
  • High unsubscribe rates
  • Subscribers deleting your newsletter without reading
  • Subscribers marking your newsletter as spam (Your goal should be not more than 1 spam complaint per 1000)
  • Sending to spam traps

The email providers also look at following behaviors which positively affect your reputation:

  • Subscribers opening your newsletter
  • Subscribers clicking on your newsletter
  • Moving your newsletter from the junk folder and marking it as not spam
  • Adding your newsletter address to the safe sender’s list
  • Replying to your newsletter

My advice was for the next month or so, reduce his list to those people who had a history of active engagement, send them content that they were interested in receiving with a strong call to action, and spend some time rebuilding their reputation.

Three weeks pass. My friend calls me back and is ready to kill me for taking my advice.

I’m thinking, how the heck can suggestions for improving your sender reputation be bad?

Here’s how… he said since email providers are measuring active engagement, he delivered just that.

He hired a company out of India to set up 500 US email accounts for each of the main email providers: Yahoo, Gmail, and Hotmail. He then sent an email to those 1500 accounts, many of which were delivered to the spam folder. Next, he had the company log into each email account, mark those in the junk folder as “this is not spam,” open it from the inbox, and click through on one of the links.

Then he did another email blast. The results were even worse than before.

Insert face palm.

I had to break the bad news that his “genius move” had probably dug a deeper hole for himself.

The reality is that Gmail is better than Santa Claus at REALLY knowing if you’ve been good or bad. You just can’t fake it with the email providers.

Here’s why… while he thought he was getting gold stars for marking the email as not junk, opening and clicking – and normally he would – in this scenario, he didn’t. That’s because the email providers look at the big picture and saw the following:

  • A brand new email that was probably created from some anonymous IP addresses to mask the foreign location (assuming the company didn’t just buy bulk email addresses created with a bot or script).
  • An email account that only had one incoming email. No other history of incoming or outgoing messages.
  • A series of logins from a single IP address to check all of the emails.
  • An extremely high rate of TINS rate. (TINS = This Is Not Spam. A ReturnPath analysis showed that for every 1,000 messages routed to the spam folder, on average there are less than two TINS reports made. Clearly the percentage rate of TINS for my friend were not average.)

Now, compare that scenario with Suzy Jones who uses her Gmail account daily to send and receive emails. Several times a day, Suzy is actively clicking through emails and moving them to folders. And then one day Suzy sees an email in her spam folder and moves it to the inbox. Somewhere in cyberspace, Gmail makes a note that Suzy likes the sender and that content. The sender just got a well-deserved brownie point.

As I’ve mentioned in my previous posts, engagement matters. You want to send automotive newsletters to customers with content that customers actually want. How they engage with your car dealership newsletter (for better or worse) can affect your inbox deliverability, and unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of shortcuts on the path to the inbox.

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How to Track Your Email Campaigns with Google Analytics

Many people don’t realize that there is a lot more to Google Analytics that just tracking your website activity… it’s also a great way to provide you with insights into your email campaigns.

Advanced Segments are GA’s way of dividing up all your visitors into associated groups. You can acquire details telling when visitors were there; what operating system they use on their computer, and so on… You can find the referring URL (what site they came from) or how many times they have visited. However you can do so much better with your data-mining.

GA includes one Advanced Segment (of many) that sorts by referrers or Traffic Sources. This is much more important because these can include Social Media Sites, Direct Traffic, Search Engines (Paid leads, Non-paid Leads, SEO, etc.), as well as email newsletters and email campaigns.

In this instance, the last two are the important ones to us. If you tag an email for a campaign (or within a newsletter), and clients click on links to your site within them, Google Analytics provides you with lots of data. What you need to do is build the URLs that will allow you to code your links with data GA can interpret. It might be complex, but there are automated tools…

There is a Campaign URL builder here that will take you through the whole process in six fairly easy steps so that you can have information laden URLs, for Google Analytics, that identify your newsletter or email campaign specifically. You input the data required (your website URL, campaign source, medium, term, content and Campaign Name) and it will return the URL you can use on that particular email/newsletter. As a sample I created an URL with this data: website URL), source), email(campaign medium), Science Fiction(Campaign Term), Writing for Dummies(campaign content), Profit Making(Campaign Name).

It generated this URL:

You include it in a hyperlink like this that doesn’t reveal its complexity (hover over it to see it is the same as the link above). Now the client clicking that URL is traceable when they get to your website. GA “knows” what the source of their visit was; where they spent their time; and what they read, purchased, or downloaded can be tracked to show you the success of that particular campaign or newsletter.

Google makes it easy with handy videos explaining strategies and methods. Have a look at this video to see how marketing goals are important waypoints on your road to success.

Yes, it’s a bit time-consuming, and it takes some effort, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be generating useful data filled with sales insights in no time.


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Can You Find the Terrible Template?

If you had a salesperson who was going through a sales presentation and constantly choking on step four of that presentation process, you’d find a way to fix the issue in step four. Better presentations lead to more sales, right?

Guess what? There is a point in your automated follow-up process that is choking and affecting not only the remainder of your follow-up campaigns, but possibly your deliverability to your other customers.

Here’s what I mean.

Let’s say your initial email autoresponder rate generates a 40-50% open rate.

Then time passes.

By day 90 in the follow-up process, your open rates might be down to 18%.

While declining open rates in prospect follow-up campaigns are completely normal, here are two abnormalities you should look for, plus an easy test you should try.

With most CRMs, buried at the bottom of the reports list, is usually an open rate report for your follow-up campaigns. You’ll want to have this information handy and then look at the following:

Scenario #1
Your overall open rates decline from beginning to end, but some emails towards the middle or end, have much higher open rates than earlier emails. Maybe the open rate for email #4 is 21% and the open rate for email #12 is 27%.

The good news: your have emails later in the campaign that are still getting high open rates which means you are still getting good inbox placement with the campaign.
What to fix: This is just like the sales person who is struggling with a step in the sales process, you want to keep trying to improve your weakest link in the sales process. Test changing the subject line on your lower performing emails or see if that email can be eliminated or possibly replaced with a phone call.

Scenario #2
You begin with high open rates but somewhere towards the middle of the campaign, there’s an email with a sharp drop in the open rate and the open rates continue to drop for those emails that follow.

This is kind of like the salesperson who keeps talking in the sales presentation and talks the customer out of sale.

What might be happening in this scenario is that you have too many emails in your follow-up campaign or your subject lines aren’t very engaging. In email terms, there is a point in your campaign when you are losing most of your prospects and as a result, you may have trained the email providers to start sending those remaining emails to the spam can.

Here’s an example:
• Your prospects are opening emails #1 through #12.
• By email #13, many stopped reading or started marking your emails as spam.
• This trained the email providers such as Yahoo and Hotmail that when email #13 arrived, to start sending that email to the spam folder so even those prospects who may have been interested, now don’t know that they have your email which causes a further decline in your open rates.

What to fix: Start with the email in your process where the drop in the open rates begin. In the example above, it is email #13. Consider testing a different email and see if your open rates improve – maybe one with a subject line that asks: Are You Still Interested?

Other options you can do to improve declining open rates:
• Reduce the number of emails in the campaign – especially the type that don’t provide the prospect with any new information such as those with a subject line: Just Checking In.
• Add personalization fields to your subject lines: Pricing Update on [Year] [Make] [Model]
• Check the email in the campaign right before the open rates drop. Make sure there isn’t anything in that email that sends the message: Don’t bother reading any of my future emails.
• Check your email reputation for free at To do this, you’ll need the ip address that is used to send your prospecting email. (For help finding the ip, here’s a how to article that covers most email providers: Having a sender score below the 90′s will impact your inbox deliverability and this can only be improved by better email behavior (sending relevant emails to those people who want them.) The exception to this is if you have a good sending reputation but are on a shared ip with others who do not. In that case you may want to talk to your CRM provider.

And a final, unscientific test, here’s something you can do: set-up an account with Hotmail, Yahoo and Gmail. Next, send in a lead to get those new email addresses added to your prospecting follow-up campaign. Log in to those accounts but don’t click on any of the emails that your campaign has sent. Check in after 30, 60 or 90 days and see at what point those emails start getting routed to the spam folder rather than your inbox.

There’s nothing particularly fun about testing and tweaking your follow-up campaigns. But if you consider how many prospects these campaigns touch, improving their effectiveness by just 10% can have a multiplier effect on your sales.

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Is Your Email Mobile Friendly?

E-mail has definitely changed. Here are some of the latest statistics regarding the use of mobile devices:

  • 53% of total email opens occurred on a mobile phone or tablet in Q3 2014. This is an increase from the 48% percent seen in Q2 2014. – Experian “Quarterly email benchmark report” (Q3 2014)
  • Mobile email opens have grown 180% in three years. From 15% Q1 2011 to 42% in Q1 2014. –Campaign Monitor “Email interaction across mobile and desktop” (Q1 2014)
  • By the end of 2018, worldwide mobile email users are expected to total over 2.2 billion. By this time, 80% of email users are expected to access their email accounts via a mobile device. (Radicati)

Here’s another number for you… 69% of e-mails that aren’t optimized for Smartphones are deleted as soon as they’re opened. Ouch!

Most emails that are deleted due to formatting are usually deleted because the images are too big and clunky; they don’t fit on the screen; they can’t be moved or the whole process is arduous and annoying. That means “Bye-Bye” for your e-mail.

I recently received an email with a .bmp image (Bit-Mapped Picture file) that was in excess of 30 megabytes of data – for an illustration of a man in a tuxedo, sitting at a piano – just three colors (black, white, and skin tone). Why?—because it was a couple of thousand pixels wide and tall, but completely uncompressed. I ended up stopping it because I thought it was broken. I only found out when I got back to my desktop and tried again that it was just too big. Remember, every second it delays a customer, causes a 6-8% drop in the conversion rate.

You could struggle to prepare all your e-mails in an HTML editor, and then add Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) instructions inline to force it to work with most phone mail-readers, and that’s fine if you have an innate talent for programing. Instead there are places you can go to get templates for your e-mails that are already formatted to render perfectly on any mobile device. In the space of about five or ten minutes, you can create a beautiful e-mail in its entirety.

Some free template options include: also provides a free trial to let you see how exactly how your email will look in 70+ email clients and mobile devices so you can fix any rendering issues BEFORE you hit send.

It really is amazing how simple it is to create a complete e-mail that you can confidently sent out, knowing that everyone will be able to see it, read it and not delete it due to formatting issues. If you’re not using a responsive design in your emails, why not give it a test for your next campaign and see how it performs?

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Announcing Automotive Newsletter Custom Domain Microsites (say that 3 times fast)

We are excited to announce that once again, 1to1 News, LLC is leading the way in automotive newsletter innovations with our latest new feature – custom domain microsites.

Previously when we created newsletter content for our clients, we built it on a microsite to match the client’s main website. All of these microsites were hosted on individual dealer subdomains at 1to1 News. While that made it easier for our programming and tracking, it didn’t help dealers with their SEO.

Now that has all changed.

If your main website is – your newsletter content will still be on a custom microsite that matches, but now it will be hosted on your own custom domain such as You get all of the SEO benefits without having to modify your main site.

This one little change required a really big change in all of our programming and tracking but we think it is worth it. In fact, we’ve been doing the happy dance all week.

Want to see a demo of this ground-breaking, automotive newsletter? Just give us a call at (800) 879-8870.

Posted in Automotive Email Marketing, Automotive Newsletters, Automotive Sales Follow-up, Customer Rentention, Responsive automotive newsletters, Social Media and Newsletters | Comments Off