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4 email marketing campaigns to drive sales

By Justin Di Vilio

There are a lot of strategies out there for driving sales. You can run advertisements, optimize your website so you show up first in search results or use numerous other tactics to get more shoppers through your doors, but did you know that email marketing is one of the strongest ways to get your message out to engaged shoppers?

According to Campaign Monitor, email marketing can have a return on investment as high as 3800 percent or $38 for every $1 spent. Using products like ARI’s FootSteps, ARI’s Digital Marketing Services or a third-party email provider, you can craft targeted email messages that will inspire shoppers to make their next big purchase – and to make that purchase with you!

There are a variety of email campaign types you can use to engage shoppers. I’m going to dig into four different types that can be especially effective for marine dealers. But first, let’s look at what makes up an email campaign. An email campaign is a targeted plan for one message or a group of messages intended to help you reach a specific goal. To create an effective email marketing campaign, you need to ask yourself a few questions:

  • What do you want to accomplish with your email? This is your goal
  • What customers would benefit from this email? This is your audience segment.
  • What action do you want shoppers to take, and how will you inspire them to take it? This is your call-to-action (CTA).

Now, let’s dig into four types emails you can use to drive new sales -- new unit promotions, service promotions, upsell promotions and newsletters.

Campaign #1: New Unit Promotion

Goal: Drive new unit sales
Audience Segment: Customers who bought a new unit three or more years ago
CTA: “Call us today to learn more!”

New unit promotions are probably one of the first things that spring to mind when you think of marketing emails. Promoting your top-selling lines and the latest and greatest models you carry lets shoppers know what’s available and gets them excited about investing in a new boat.

When you’re crafting a new unit promotion, target your messaging (and your email list) to the customers who are most likely to be interested in a new boat. If you’re promoting the newest models to someone who just bought a new boat from you last week, they’re not likely to come in and make another major purchase. They also might tune out future emails if they don’t find the content they’re getting from you relevant.

Campaign #2: Service Promotion

Goal: Drive service appointments
Audience Segment: Customers who have purchased a boat from you or brought a boat they purchased elsewhere in for service
CTA: “Book an appointment today!” linked to an online service request form

Whether it’s regular maintenance, needed repairs or seasonal upkeep, your customers are going to need service at some point. A service promotion email is a great place to offer your loyal customers a discount on their next service appointment and encourage them to get their boats in for any needed maintenance.

This type of campaign is also an easy way to drum up more traffic for your service department and take advantage of those higher margins. Incorporating a call to action that encourages shoppers to book an appointment now and providing them with an appointment request form on your website gives shoppers an easy action to take. The convenience of booking an appointment online goes a long way with today’s busy shoppers who might not be able to call to book an appointment during your regular business hours.

Campaign #3: Upsell Promotion

Goal: Drive accessory sales
Audience Segment: Customers who recently bought a new boat
CTA: “Shop now!” linked to a page on your website where they can browse accessories

So a customer made the investment and bought a brand new boat from your dealership. Since the boat was such a large purchase, though, they weren’t able to buy all of the accessories they wanted to really make it amazing. Now what?

Sending shoppers who recently bought a boat from you an email featuring the accessories you offer in-store or on your website and maybe giving them a bit of a discount on an accessory purchase or promoting a sale can help you drive your bottom line. Shoppers might not be able to buy a new boat every few years, but they can probably afford a new top cover or some shiny deck chairs to keep their boat looking like new. Make sure your email links to the accessories page of your website so your customers can get shopping right away!

Campaign #4: Newsletter

Goal: Nurture contacts and drive customer loyalty
Audience Segment: All customers
CTA: “Read more” or “Learn more” linked to your website

A newsletter takes bits and pieces from the other types of campaigns I mentioned and puts them all together for one strong email that updates shoppers on everything that’s going on at your dealership. In addition to featuring some inventory and plugging your service department, a newsletter email gives you space to promote everything else going on at your store. You can feature in-store events like sales or open houses, link to industry news, share company announcements, request feedback from your customers or offer store-wide savings through email-exclusive coupons.

Because email newsletters cover a bit of everything, they have a lot of value for your readers. They also have a lot of value for you! Sending customers a newsletter packed with helpful information can help you establish yourself as the expert in your field and keep shoppers coming back to you for all of their marine needs.

Email marketing can be a powerful tool for your dealership. By using new unit promotions, service promotions, upsell promotions and newsletters, you can drive sales and fatten your bottom line. Need help? Reach out to ARI today to learn how we can assist with your email marketing needs.

For more information about ARI and the products and services they offer to help dealers manage their digital marketing and online presence, reach out to Justin Di Vilio, business development manager for ARI’s marine division, at 414.973.4460 or by email at Justin.DiVilio@arinet.com.

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