Best New Idea
One of the most important facets of the Top 100 program is the sharing of best practices – not only among the Top 100 companies themselves but the entire industry.
This year, for the first time, we’re recognizing one particular idea as the Best New Idea from a Top 100 dealer. That winner for 2015 is BMC Boats for the overhaul of its email and ecommerce efforts.
Digital marketing has only become more important in the last year, making these efforts key to the success of any dealer that wants to thrive.
“Email is still one of the best marketing things going,” says BMC Vice President Paul Fulton. “This year we have totally enhanced our email by implementing a strategy that surpasses sales numbers generated from our past email marketing efforts.”
After analyzing its existing email program, BMC Boats found many problems, especially when it came to managing opt outs and spam. With its new provider, Constant Contact, BMC undertook a massive review of its email campaigns consisting of several steps:
Identify all “engaged” and “disengaged” subscribers. “Engaged” was defined as any subscriber who had opened or clicked on an email promotion within the past 18 months with Constant Contact. That gave BMC a list of 2,000 email addresses of engaged subscribers.
Send reengagement email to “disengaged” subscribers. Because “disengaged” subscribers were more likely to make a spam complaint, BMC sent an email to each subscriber to reaffirm their interest in receiving additional email promotions.
Design and implement a “contact strategy” that included reengagement campaigns. These campaigns included sending the BMC Boat Club Newsletter and new boat models of interest.
Approximately 150 emails a day were targeted with the resend email, increasing the Constant Contact list to over 2,500 addresses (and growing).
“As expected, the opt-in campaigns resulted in a smaller list size, but the open rate, click-through rate, and sales leads after the campaign were astonishing,” Fulton says. “In addition, our email campaigns were unblocked by the major ISPs, virtually spam free. Because the subscribers on the Constant Contact list were all ‘engaged’ we saw an impressive 30 percent increase in the lead generation with all our campaigns post-op in.”
BMC’s open rate has increased 120 percent, and the company estimates a 350 percent return on its investment.
Now that BMC has improved its list, it turned its attention to creating the best messages, tactics and campaigns to keep those subscribers engaged:
Limit frequency - As a rule of thumb, BMC typically limits email campaigns to no more than twice a month, unless the dealership is having a specific event.
Segregate the list - The email subscriber list is divided into two segments, those which are part of the VIP Cruise Club list and the regular Constant Contact List.
Develop “mouth-watering content” – “Like cooking we come up with the right mix of content, sales pitch, news and spice in order to keep our subscribers engaged.”
Attention-grabbing message – “We strive to grab their attention in our opening message. We use openers like, 2016 Center Console Fishing Boats Under $20,000, BMC Boats latest Cruises, Did you know? articles, Best places to Fish, Ask an Expert.”
Test, measure, refine, repeat – Because customers’ interests change over time, BMC is continually reviewing its strategy throughout the year to maximize its potential.
Think small for big results – “We think quality, not quantity. We have changed our strategy to focus on getting our subscribers to anticipate our every email, as opposed to just growing our list in sheer numbers. It is better to have 1,000 subscribers fully engaged, then to have 10,000 deleting it constantly.”
Keep it short and sweet – BMC tries to keep the emails short and to the point respecting that customers are busy.
Through the Constant Contact tools, BMC has been able to improve its landing pages as well, creating more professional and elaborate pages.
“All of our email campaigns, whether it be for an event or for some other type of message is always driving traffic to a landing page,” Fulton says. “We can do a much better job of grabbing the customer’s attention, and giving him reasons to explore further. The click through spots are so easy to set up, and make the whole process exceptionally user friendly.”