Effective email marketing is a critical part of any personalised marketing strategy, as it is one of the few channels where you have the consumer’s permission to engage them, according to John Bortolotti at Toyota Canada.
Speaking at the Salesforce Connections 2019 conference in Chicago, Bortolotti explained how the company redesigned its marketing programme and focused on better personalised content, with the help of partners, to achieve greater sales success.
After consumers register their interest online at the Toyota website, the company sends them a welcome email, which Bortolotti said was critical to the brand’s ongoing engagement with their consumers. “The welcome email sees the highest engagement of any we send, and most importantly, it’s not a selling moment,” he said. “People keep it as a reference and often re-open it five or six times a year to restart their engagement with us.”
This must then be followed with relevant, personalised emails to keep the consumer engaged, said Brad Bettinson, director of digital at agency JAM Direct. “In terms of getting your message considered, email is still an alpha channel because you’ve got consumer permission to engage,” he said.
An effective email strategy, Bettinson said, is to “continually deliver a remarkable experience”, which he quickly placed in context so it didn’t sound like a tired cliché. “We’re not going to change [consumers’] lives in an email, but we need to give them a moment of value with each one—maybe they learn something new, or appreciate a reminder.”
Added to this must be engaging content, with Bettinson advocating the use of GIFs and videos to show new vehicles or features, but most critically, that the message is “made for mobile, and it needs to feel high-gloss, like a car brochure” to get the consumer’s attention.
This model of “help first, sell second,” as Bettinson put it, is more than just a nice-to-have, it sells cars, in the case of Toyota. “Because you’ve given the consumer value, fast-forward six months and they’re still engaging with our emails,” he explained, meaning they’re more agreeable to future up-selling moments, such as test-driving a new model.
Bettinson added that being able to provide so many personalised emails at scale was only possible through using technology partners, but that the results spoke for themselves. He added that since the new Toyota strategy was implemented, more consumers were clicking through the email marketing—although still only a relatively small percentage of those who receive them—but those that did spend an average of four minutes on the website.