Email Marketing For Car Dealerships: The Complete Guide (2023)

Email Marketing For Car Dealerships: The Complete Guide (2023)

Published By John Desyllas
May 16, 2023

Email marketing for car dealerships can be an effective digital marketing strategy that can help you build a relationship with customers, convert more leads into sales as well as outsmart your competitors.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the following:

  • the importance of email marketing for automotive brands and car dealerships
  • the different types of email campaigns you can employ
  • and finally, tips for a successful email marketing strategy

Why Is Email Marketing Useful For Car Dealerships?

It’s a well-known fact that email marketing delivers a stunning return on investment (ROI) of $42 for every dollar you spend on your email campaigns. This statistic shows that if car dealerships are not leveraging it, they may be missing out on their potential profits.

Now let’s see the other benefits email marketing has to offer for car dealerships.

Benefit #1: Bring More Traffic To Your Website

Email newsletter campaigns are an ideal way to bring more traffic to your website. Prices, models and special offers are constantly changing, so you can get your target audience to check them out on your website through an email campaign.

Not only do you build trust with your potential customers if your content is good, but you can also increase sales the more traffic you drive to your website.

Benefit #2: Encourage Customers To Take Action

When someone wants to buy a car, they don’t simply march into a car dealership and purchase immediately. They need to be nudged or “persuaded” to take action.

Email marketing campaigns can play the role of further nudging customers to take action. This action could vary from visiting the car dealership, checking out more information about leasing plans, financing options, different editions and packages regarding the car model of their choice, etc.

So, email is a vital tool at the hands of car dealers that sometimes is wrongfully neglected.

Benefit #3: Increase Revenue Through Cross-Selling

Cars can be considered high-priced commodities and people are very likely to buy relevant things to further improve them or make them more usable. This is something that’s ideal for car dealerships.

Specifically, through email marketing, you can increase your revenue by upselling insurance packages, getting people to purchase upgrade items, promoting newer models, and more.

You can craft various email templates that have different goals and use them for different use cases.

Even if you don’t succeed in getting tremendous results, you still improve brand awareness and establish a stronger and closer relationship with your customer base.

Benefit #4: Top Channel For Communication

Email is a top channel for communication with new and past customers because it is personal and most importantly, cost-effective. Imagine how much you would need to pay to communicate with every customer via phone or have dedicated salespeople for this.

What’s more, if you have auto dealerships in multiple locations, it’s very convenient to keep one email list with all of your customers and communicate with them through this channel.

Social media would also be a good channel, but the reality is that not everybody is on social media or use a social media platform.

What Types Of Email Campaigns Can You Send?

Automotive email marketing involves sending a wide variety of email campaigns. Some of them are completely automated (based on user behavior) while others are goal-based. Let’s explore them in more detail!

Welcome Emails

Welcome emails are a crucial part of any email marketing strategy because that’s when the customer is fully engaged. Their purpose is to make a great first impression and create a memorable experience for new subscribers so that they keep coming back.

Not every email needs to be about making more sales. The good news is that these campaigns can be automatically sent through your email marketing platform. You craft them once and then set up a simple automation to be triggered every time a new subscriber signs up via your newsletter signup forms or popups.

Here is an example from a Honda automotive dealership:

email marketing for car dealerships

And another one from Citroen UK:

Citroen welcome email campaign

As you can see, both welcome email campaigns thank subscribers for their interest in learning more about the brand and prompt them to explore more back on the website. Both campaigns are well-crafted and the call-to-action (CTA) button is clear and visible.

Promotional Emails

Promotional emails are without a doubt the majority of emails sent from businesses in the automotive industry. Usually, when we think about dealership email marketing, we think of these campaigns exactly, but things shouldn’t be limited to just them.

Promotional campaigns can feature new models, reduced prices for regular inspections/services, invitations for test drives and special offers for after-sales items.

Here is a common example from an Audi dealership website.

Audi promotional email campaign example

When car dealerships send these kinds of campaigns, it’s useful to apply personalization in order for the content to resonate with the subscriber.

For example, if someone has visited your dealership website and looked for an Audi A4 sedan, your newsletter should feature sedans, not SUVs.

Online Surveys

Online surveys are particularly useful for any kind of business since they provide vital insight into what customers believe. They may even give you suggestions about how you can improve or what wasn’t ideal in their experience.

Especially for authorized car dealerships, online surveys are a must to build great customer relationships and retain existing customers.

To design your survey, there are various platforms like Typeform or SurveyMonkey that can be linked to your emails.

Last but not least, online surveys can be used as a tool to discover customer preferences before actually purchasing and thus inform your salespeople on how to optimize their approach.

Service Reminder Emails

Another important email campaign type to keep your brand top-of-mind is service reminders.

These emails are not perceived as “promotional” emails, and they show customers that you care. Regular service intervals, scheduled oil changes and maintenance are excellent opportunities to target your subscribers.

You should also take into account that some car buyers do forget when they need to have their vehicle serviced. So, some of them will be more than willing to schedule the appointment right away by clicking on the CTA of your campaign.

For this reason, you need to do everything in your power to make things simple. A clear CTA, an eye-catching visual and copy that promotes action will most probably do the trick.

Here is an example from a Nissan dealer:

Nissan sercice reminder email example

Tech Updates & Recalls

Sometimes cars need to be brought back to the dealerships due to a recall. Instead of a call, you can send a personalized message to the affected vehicle owners and let them know about it.

What’s more, brands like Tesla may need to implement tech updates to the cars. One of the most affordable ways to inform customers is through an email.

An example of this occasion was in 2017 when Tesla issued an over-the-air update to cars due to Hurricane Irma, so as to accommodate customers who might need to cover large distances.

Here is the email campaign people received:

Tesla tech update email example

5 Tips To Improve Your Email Marketing Strategy

In the previous section, we saw what kinds of campaigns car dealerships can leverage to target their audience. Now let’s see some email marketing tips to help you perform email marketing at the highest level!

1. Collect Email Signups

To perform email marketing, you need people’s email addresses. So, to start building an email list, you need to set up a newsletter signup form on your website and collect data about your potential customers.

Land Rover dealership newsletter signup form

It’s advisable to have subscribers double opt-in and confirm their subscription. This helps you maintain a cleaner list. You’ll also have lower unsubscribe rates since your list will consist of people you have given their consent to receive email communications.

If you have social media presence, you can run Facebook Ads to collect more email addresses and potentially reach new customers.

2. Segment Your Email List

Proper email marketing is all about delivering personalized experiences to your subscribers. For this to happen you need to segment your email list, based on the data you’ve collected from your signup forms or in person.

The more data you have in your CRM about subscribers, the more tailored your email campaigns will be.

Potential segmentation of your email list can be done based on:

  • demographics (age, gender, location)
  • personal interests (e.g., car models)
  • purchase history
  • purchase intent
  • the kind of email communications they expect to receive

You could also segment subscribers into new leads and returning customers.

3. Keep Your List Clean & Up-To-Date

In email marketing for car dealerships, there is always a chance that your customers or subscribers have changed email addresses or are no longer engaged. You need to weed these addresses out of your list as they may be harming your email deliverability (due to high bounce rates). What’s more, you run the risk of hitting a spam trap if your list isn’t up-to-date.

So, the first thing you need to do is keep a close eye on your bounced emails.

Our next suggestion is to set up an automation sequence that cleans your list for you. You have to create a trigger that deletes subscribers from your list if they haven’t engaged with your emails for more than a year, let’s say.

4. Craft Compelling Subject Lines

The email subject line is the most important thing affecting your open rate. If you want your campaign to have any chance of being seen, then it needs a subject line that attracts attention.

You can add some car-relevant emojis (avoid spamming them, though) or be a little mysterious about what the email has to offer. This means you can tease special offers or reductions in the prices of services, for example.

However, as a general rule, you should be straightforward about what your subscriber should expect inside the campaign.

5. Optimize Campaigns For Mobile Devices

More and more people open emails on their phones and tablets. In fact, almost half of the emails are opened on a mobile device nowadays. This means that if your email campaigns are not mobile responsive you could be losing leads.

Campaigns won’t render well if you haven’t optimized them for mobile, so chances are that subscribers will simply ignore your messages or worse hit the unsubscribe button. Fortunately, the best email marketing services in the market offer this functionality and let you preview how your campaigns will look on mobile devices.

If you want to take things a step further, you can send a test email to make sure your campaign displays correctly across email platforms, before you deliver it to your whole list of subscribers.


Email marketing for car dealerships is more than sending the occasional promotional email. If car dealerships leverage the full functionality of email marketing and email automation, then they have a powerful channel to engage their audience and potentially make more sales.

If you’re looking for an all-in-one email marketing solution with forms and landing pages that requires minimal effort to master, sign up for a Moosend account and get ready to take your digital marketing to the next level!

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