Email marketing for the automotive industry

Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective marketing channels out there and is still achieving the highest return on investment for marketers across the globe. With this being said, email marketing provides a very unique opportunity for marketers in the automotive industry to use the data they have collected and personalise great experiences for their customers.

It is often said that people buy from people, and the automotive industry is the same. People in the market for automotive products often turn to existing relationships they have established to upgrade their vehicles. This is fantastic, but with a reasonably long sales cycle that involves a lot of research from a buyer (usually). You could use email marketing to stay top of mind and keep prospective returning customers in the loop of your latest specials.

It’s important to look at why digital campaigns are so effective for people in the automotive industry:

1. Location is really important:

Digital marketing channels offer marketers a great opportunity to target certain messages to people in a certain location. Email is no different and when you are able to gather information about where your subscribers are located, you are able to target your messages more effectively. Setting up an email marketing strategy and subscription workflow can help you reach an audience who is willing to travel to you to get the car they want at the right price.

2. Lots of information available about your target audience:

If you work for a specific brand, you’ll already know a lot more about your target audience than people in other industries. Car brands have certain demographics that they target..for example an owner of a Hyuandai will have different needs to that of a Porsche and probably have vastly different demographic characteristics.

Knowing your audience in this way can help you craft more personalised email marketing campaigns that will resonate with your buyer base. The level of data that car dealerships have extend to income levels and price points that appeal to their audience too.

How can you use email marketing to your advantage in the automotive industry?


The first way in which email marketing can assist you in the automotive industry is through prospecting. When potential buyers are starting to search for the ideal vehicle they are likely to sign up to different email lists to see what different providers offer.

Campaigns for buyers in this stage of the sale cycle would benefit from the following campaigns:

  • Car buyer lead generation campaigns: These campaigns should be packed with information about your dealership. What sets you apart from other dealerships? How are you adding value to the buying experience?
  • Trade-in deals: when you have a list of clients that could qualify for trade-in deals, you can craft specific messages to these clients to encourage them to trade in when the time is right. These campaigns should include all the information the buyer would need to know about trading in their vehicles and contain a comprehensive view of the benefit to them if they chose to proceed.


Promotional campaigns are meant to drum up interest and entice potential buyers to reach out to you. In essence you want to create engaging campaigns that will spark interest.

Promotional campaigns are meant to give subscribers information about special offers that you might have on certain vehicle models. Don’t forget about your service and parts department if you have one to ensure that people know exactly how you can help them. This will drum up additional information for your business.

Other campaigns you could run

Events and special dates: You can send out Happy Birthday emails to your buyers from an email marketing platform or even celebrate the anniversary of their vehicle purchase through a special email. Don’t exclude news about any events or open days you might be running so that you can invite your audience to attend.

Things that you shouldn’t do when you start your email marketing journey:

Not email

Okay, this might seem obvious, but you should definitely start emailing if you haven’t in the past. Even though you have staff who are communicating with your audience on an ongoing basis, it’s important that you set up a structured email marketing strategy to connect with your audience.

Sending the same email to everyone

It might seem like a good idea to send one email to everyone on your email list, but don’t. This is because your audience's needs will be different. Let’s look at an example:

  • Joan just purchased a new car from you in the past week.
  • Adam sent you an enquiry about buying a brand new vehicle with a motor warranty.
  • Shaun has just serviced his car.

All three of these people have had some sort of interaction with your company but their needs today are different.

Joan will not be needing information about your latest promotional offers on vehicles whereas Adam would as he is actively looking for a car. Shaun might be interested in trading in his car in the future so could potentially be interested in your offer.

You need to segment your audience to ensure you are sending them the most relevant email campaigns.

If you have a CRM system you should start there.

Not sending out emails frequently

If you don’t set up a frequent sending schedule, your email list will churn quickly. With this being said it’s important for you to create a robust email marketing strategy to ensure that you know what goals you are trying to achieve so you can create a plan to execute on.

Read more about how to set up an email marketing strategy.

Are you utilising the power of email marketing campaigns to achieve your business goals?


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