Five Simple Ways to Gather More Email Addresses

hand coming out of computer screen with mail

Email is a very powerful channel that helps you keep in touch with customers and prospects. You can easily provide personalized, targeted messages to the right people at the right time. It’s also a great tool to simply stay in front of customers so that you’re top-of-mind throughout the customer lifecycle. Of course, all of the amazing performance, reporting, and affordability of this communication channel isn’t worth much without an email address to send your message to. Most dealerships are great about capturing customer names, phone numbers, and home addresses, but the email address is often more elusive. Customers will be more comfortable providing an email address if you give them something of value in return. Some will give out their email to anyone who asks, but most are hesitant, because they are afraid you’ll clutter their inbox with irrelevant emails. Prove them wrong by developing an email program that sends timely and relevant information. To support your email efforts, here are some ideas to help you constantly pump new email addresses into your system.

Put out an offer box/fishbowl for an “enter to win money off car payment” or service offer.

Place your bowl right next to high traffic areas or waiting rooms. Train employees to briefly point out the drawing when ringing the customer up for service or as they are leaving an appointment. This must be an above average offer in order to get substantial submissions. You can then decide if it’s a monthly, weekly, or daily drawing.

Have the manager mandate it as a required field in your CRM system.

This may seem obvious, but dealerships sometimes do not put enough emphasis on the importance of gathering email addresses from current and potential customers. When entering customer info into your CRM, make the email address a required field for your salespeople. Of course, customers have the right to not provide an email address, but this will emphasize the importance of asking for it.

Create incentives for employees that gather email addresses.

For example, have a contest and reward the employee who gets the most valid email addresses each month. This should come naturally, because your employees excel at the sales process, so train them on how to convince customers that by providing an email address, they will be rewarded with money saving coupons, product info, etc. Make it a part of your standard talk track when interacting with a customer. Don’t just ask, “What’s your email address?” in a long series of other questions. Try saying something along the lines of, “So we can send you a quote for your records, may I have your email address?” Or try, “For your convenience, we can send maintenance reminders when you’re due for the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance. May I have your email address?” You’re making it about them, which is the essence of customer service.

Start a birthday club.

The idea is to send an email to someone on their birthday with a special offer. Even a small offer like a free oil change or car wash will make the customer feel special. When you’re wrapping up an appointment, check to see if you have an email address on file. If not, you could mention that you have a birthday club and ask if they’d like to join by simply providing an email address (assuming you have their DOB as well). It’s just another simple tool that you can use to increase the value of providing an email address. Plus, they’ll be pleasantly surprised when you actually send them a birthday offer. Even if they didn’t buy from you the first time around, they may be so impressed by the personal message that they take another look when it’s time to buy or service again.

Append services.

Many dealerships have years and years of customer records without email addresses. A majority of these customers didn’t refuse to give their email address, they just weren’t asked or were walk-ins that purchased without submitting an email address. There is a long-term lifetime value of keeping in touch with these customers and email is one of the best ways to maintain the relationship. For dealerships with a large database of customers with blank email addresses, an email append might be the way to go. There are email append services that take the customer information you do have, and match them to a known email address in their massive databases. A reputable append service will receive your list, confidently match individuals to email addresses it finds, and then send an email asking for permission to send future emails from your dealership. Now you’re able to fill in the missing email addresses on a good percentage of your database, thus increasing the reach of your engaging and relevant email campaigns.

Try implementing a few of these strategies and see if the size and quality of your email list improves. Just remember, if customers are willing to provide an email address, you must be prepared to offer good rewards in return. Even if you have the most sophisticated email program in the industry, you won’t reach your full potential without a robust list of email addresses.

Craig is responsible for guiding creative for new and existing campaigns for Outsell, a digital marketing Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company. In conjunction, he facilitates various testing and optimization initiatives to improve campaign performance. He also assists in strategy and product development.

Michael Bowen


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