The Dealer Playbook
The Dealer Playbook

Episode · 10 months ago

Does Email Marketing Still Work? w/ Erik Huberman


Whenever you hear someone say "email marketing is dead" think again. Erik Huberman, founder of Hawke Media explains that email marketing open rates have remained the same for the last several years at an average of 15%. 

Contrast those numbers to your current ad performance, and there is a chance that your emails have a higher chance of being opened and read. That's only half the battle, however. It's one thing to have people open your emails, it's another to make sure the quality and messaging align with your overall marketing strategy. 

That's where many dealers fall short. Email is another avenue to blast promotional messages rather than a place to keep the conversation with customers open; to build relationships of trust.

Does email marketing still work? Listen to what Erik Huberman has to say.

Access the full show notes, timestamps, resources, and more at 

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Connect with Michael Cirillo on LinkedIn: 


Support the show by checking out our sponsor over at 

They provide powerful resources that are helping dealers supercharge their sales volume. Whether you’re looking to increase market share vs. your competitors, turn inventory faster, increase ROs or expand reach.

PureCars is offering DPB listeners a free digital strategy analysis so that you can unlock your dealership’s true profitability potential.

Hey, gang, you know what's on my mind?More than deleting all the annoying kids shows that show up in my YouTubewatch. History from over quarantine. Better marketing decisions. Yep, that'sright. That's why I'm so excited to be supported by my friends at Pier carswho put the power of data and superior information into the hands of dealerswhere it belongs. Use peer car to make a better marketing decisions and getbetter results. Visit Pierre cars dot com to get a free no risk, noobligation digital strategy analysis today That's Pierre cars dot com. Yeah, there's a lot of hype around shinyobject, right? Like we're shiny objects. And look at the new software. Look atthe new tool. Look at the new this and...

...that. And then we we I'm not saying welike you and I because I don't really believe in this. But like as anindustry, we kind of go and present those and say, Here's the solutionthat's going to solve all of your problems. And most often it comes downto No. What? What tools do I already have at my disposal? My website. I havesocial platforms. I have ad platforms. I have email marketing. What am I gonnado with those? Because I don't think I fully explored everything I canactually do with those email marketing. Somebody said it the other day whensomebody says that a certain method is dying, that's an indication that it'snot 100% whether you're saying that because I've said this a lot, and Itotally agree. Email marketing. So I've been doing this for a decade. A littlemore, actually. An email marketing stats are exactly as the same as theywere a decade ago, meaning it's not better. It's not like it's skyrocketed.It's just not worse. It hasn't declined. The average open rate on an email is15% in e commerce. The average click through it is 3%. It has been that statin terms of averages for probably 15...

...years. Before that, it was probablyhired was probably better. So it declined at some point a long time ago.But then it just kind of steady state and even to this day, like I'm aninvestor in an SMS platform, you would think it's competitive, but no do both.SMS is 10 times as effective as email marketing. It's just harder to get aphone number, but still it's a lot more effective, but both because differentpeople respond to different modes of communication. It's not like the itreminds me of the hubspot method. Everybody thought it was controversial.It's like I just want the e book. Why do I have to put in my name first? Name,last name, email, Phone number. Best time of day to contact you. What's yourbiggest marketing challenge? How big is your organization? And you just saidsomething that triggered that thought process. And it was It's harder. Fewerpeople will get through, but the ones that get through are likely to be much,much more qualified, so that when I do speak to them about that topic, they'remore likely to take action when it's a balance. We have a pretty big sale. Atthis point. It is always a balance...

...between filtering out qualified leadsand keeping the funnel open. But you start to realize as you scale early on,you want to take any way you can get and figure it out. But you get to apoint where you realize how much at scale. Time is wasted on shitty leadsthat you do start to want to filter those out. Even if you filter with someof the good with the bad, the efficiency makes you so much more money.Yeah, amazing. Now let's talk about email marketing for a minute becauseespecially, you were just talking about your wife's leasing experience. We Iwas in a room yesterday with an individual from one of the O E. M s. Um,it happens to be the vehicle that we bought. My wife loves her SUV, but theprocess to get that SUV, and by the way, I am a complete and total lay down. Iwant that one. That's how I buy cars. I want that one right there, you know. Oh,well, hold on. Let's bring you back into the No, I see. I want that one.Well, how soon are you looking to buy? Well, I have to pick my kids up fromschool in two hours, and I'd like to do it in that one. You know, like that'show it took 18 days to get delivery of...

...this deal. Because, oh, we have toorder the exact one from this store because you want the eight CR theseventh seed or not the eight cedar. And oh, actually, we ordered the wrongone, but we forgot to tell you. So now you're wondering why it's been a weekand I haven't heard anything about this vehicle that I bought. So is this sortof thing. But then what happens? Robotic email marketing. We takedelivery. And then the next day it's like, Would you please leave? Considerleaving us a high rating on? Yeah. And I'm like, I'm not even gonna touch this.Um, but then and then you're into this thing, and what's interesting about itis now any time I get any sort of communication from this dealershipbecause nobody took ownership of the poor experience I made everybody knowwhen I picked up the car, I told the sales rep who de mode it for me. I toldthe finance person who told me that I point I looked straight at the managerthat screwed the whole deal up. And I'm..., You know how this could have beenlike everybody knew to this day, though, because nobody acknowledged and tookownership of that experience. Any time I get a communication from that store,I'm like, uh and then you can't unsubscribe like it's a weird It's noteasy to unsubscribe. And so doing email marketing in a robotic way andcertainly on the back end of a poor experience just puts you in theopposite direction of loyalty and ascension. This might make you feelbetter because we ended up sticking it back to them. We had a dealership. Weordered a car. They told us it would be. You know, we want to make some changes.They're like, Oh, no, it's already shipped. It hadn't shipped. So we'relike, Okay, well, then when we're going to get it there like mid January Whatday? They said January 15th, 15th. Roll around. Nothing. Last Monday, whateverthe date was rolled around nothing. And then they're like, Well, it's going tobe here on the 25th. And is it like we'll let you know? I didn't hearanything until Saturday. In the meantime, we realized, Oh, covid, we'rein L. A. We don't need to be in l. A.

Why don't we go to Utah for the month,like, actually, and so we decided to book that. Then we went There isactually a cool little game we could play. Why don't we go to Mexico for themonth of April? Like it is actually that easy, right? Right now, my companyis only fully remote. We can be where we want. So now we're going to We'resitting here, right? So we haven't got this car yet, but we're gonna be goneall of February. Gone all of April. I'm gone all of June with my wife alreadyhave a car, and we're all going to be home together for two months wherethere's not really that much to do in l. A. And we could probably have one. Sowe called them and said, You know what? Cancel it. We're not buying the car.We're gonna wait till later this year. So they just lost a sale. Have now apiece of inventory. I also asked to sign for it. Can I get the paperwork soI can just get this done so we can just get delivering? Go and they want tosend it to me. All right, So now they just lost the sale completely. Now,listen, Dpb gang my beloved gang. We're not saying this. Just a dog on you all.And I mean, if you're listening to this, what I'm hoping is you it's triggeringyou to go look at the friction points... your process. Exactly. Because that,for example, if the and they When I said never mind, please cancel. Theorder was a week ago. They haven't responded. They haven't answered me. Ifthey had said, Oh, sorry to hear that. Can we talk about this? When are yougoing to need a car? Next et cetera? And now what's going to happen is I'llprobably need a car again in July or August is when? Because we're travelingback and forth a lot. So we're just going to go find the best deal nowagain and go to somewhere else. If this dealership had actually built arelationship with us, we would have gone right back to go again. Sorry,we're going to hold off. If they had let us sign, we would have had a carright now, but they didn't. So then it was like, Okay, well, we're gonna holdoff, but we still need to buy a car in a few months, so I will just come rightback to you. And now we don't even have that. There's no loyalty, because whywe don't even have a relationship. I have been taking care of us. Haven'tresponded to my last message. Wow. What? What's your take on to thisend? Kind of segue weighing into a shiny object. Yeah. What? What's yourthoughts on emerging trends like car...

...purchasing online, the rooms, thecarbon knows the, um what am I missing? There's another one that I'm missing.This this idea of you can just buy it online and the car shows up in yourdriver. Kind of like the Tesla model. Now, dealers are scrambling, especiallywith covid where they're like, we have to be able to digitally retail avehicle. And so now they're Focus is all on this. This tech, My opinion isthat's fantastic. However, what about the segment of the market like mymother in law, who believes that if she doesn't specifically, click the signout button on her Yahoo email account that her emails start floating out intothe ether like she's never gonna buy a car line? So what about this? Thissegment of the market or these segments of the market who still are in aposition to buy a vehicle who will never buy online. Do you have a processto support this because it's still going to come down to experience, in myopinion, But I'm curious on your take.

I think that I'm all for Omni Channel,meaning when things pop up that are good places to sell cars do it. And soif you can take advantage of platforms out there, don't jump in earlier. Idon't think there's a lot of benefit in being in the early adopters, theseplatforms. But I think once you see traction pick up and they're actuallyselling cars and you start hearing your customers went on, What's the big oneout here? Fair is the big one in No way won't you hear? Hear that taking off?Then it's like, Okay, maybe we should look into how this bear is partneredwith dealerships, so why wouldn't you? It's another channel to sell cars, so Ithink you know, if history shows us one thing, it's resistance to innovationtends to leave you behind, so I think it's a balance don't chase the shinyobjects. Don't be the first mover, but once there is a market created and itseems to be a good revenue stream, do it. It's like all the fashion brandsthat resisted e commerce forever. And now in Covid, they're screwed becausethat's where all purchases went and so versus all the companies have jumpedinto. It did really well. So doing it wrong. They will be wasted effort whenit comes to innovation. And also don't as I agree with you, don't chase theChinese object the first time it comes...

...on market. But as you start to see,actually, trends surface go for both. Because I agree with the people thatjump in and people that don't and painting a broad brush. Or like I guess,if you're starting a business from scratch and someone goes, you're gonnastart a business. Uh, would you rather see if you can open it up to anycustomer that wants to buy a car? Or would you rather focus on just thepeople that don't like the Internet? I'm gonna go for everyone, like to openit up and, like, maybe there's a brand that needs to be built around peoplethat hate the Internet. They want to buy cars. But I don't really care toplay. And that's not what I'm trying to build them. Trying to build a nice cardealership. I'm actually invested into car dealerships, and so I'd rather openit up to all types of distribution. Oh, see? Well, there's a little Jim had. No.So you're a dealer, Essentially. You know, that's Yeah, that's amazing. Uh,in, like, a Mark Walberg kind of way, because I think he's bought two orthree are invested in a definitely not my name on it. I'm, like, silentminority investor that. Yeah, so? So my...

...question to that point is, how do you,um how do you navigate all of the thingsthat you could do and whittle it down to the things that you should do? Uh, I look at the actual friction inthe business, So instead of saying, like the things you could do ourinfinite. So it's actually like, Where do I in this where you just have to bea good business owner. Like, where do I see the biggest friction that has thebiggest opportunity? What are the biggest levers to pull and the lowhanging fruit that actually affect my business. Currently, where am I havingchallenges and how do I fix those? That's what I focus on. It's less aboutwhat could I do? And then, in terms of a new opportunities, expansionopportunities, I look at less friction dealing with that right now. I'm sorry,Google. It's going off. But, uh, I looked at, uh, where the WestRestriction to get something going with the highest opportunity. Because what Inoticed, too, is a lot of people go into new innovation and want to buildout their business. Opened another dealership, whatever it is, and they gofor something that's really challenging.

And through that process, the return ontheir actual effort becomes away. Well, well, we're. And so I try to findthings that I can seamlessly add to my business by hiring one more person orbuilding out a little bit of spending a little time on it. But then it fallsright in nicely, versus launching something completely new. That takes aton of my time to build that thing out because the risk reward the risk is mytime on one of these things, and so if I have to spend a ton of time on it,then the risk reward ratio goes way down versus even if the rewards similarbigger. I try to find things that I can again really easily launch off of whatI'm doing and use it as a platform. So with dealerships again, I'd be lookingat stuff that are really easy to integrate, really easy to get going andfix all those first and then start to work. I'm Michel Cirillo, and you've beenlistening to the dealer playbook podcast. If you haven't yet, pleaseclick the subscribe button wherever...'re listening. Right now, leave arating or review and share it with a colleague. If you're ready to make bigchanges in your life and career and want to connect with positive,nurturing automotive professionals, join my exclusive dpb pro community onFacebook. That's where we share information, ideas and content thatisn't shared anywhere else. I can't wait to meet you there. Thanks forlistening. Yeah,.

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