Why Your Customers Are Not Responding to You

Many dealers complain that they get lots of Internet leads and they email, email,
and email all to no avail. Although, when we can’t get ahold of a customer, we have
a tendency to point to the quality of the lead, the fact is that many dealerships’
email communications are getting blocked. It has nothing to do with quality of the
leads or the customer’s propensity to buy a vehicle. It has everything to do with the
technology that underpins the dealership.

Let me explain: A lot of people know that we don’t want our dealership emails to
get caught in spam filters, but few people have an accurate understanding of why
emails get caught in spam filters. Oftentimes, a consultant will say that you can’t put
too many images into the email because it will trigger the spam filter; or you can’t
use words like “free,” “sale,” “coupon,” or “discount.” While those spam filters are
very real, and they do block a portion of your emails, there’s a silent killer that is
much stronger than these surface level triggers that are tying up dealership emails.

Every email that gets sent in the World Wide Web gets sent from an email server
and these email servers, just like any computer that connects to the web, have a
unique IP address. It’s almost as if every computer has it’s own distinct license plate
in the world. No two license plates, and no two IP addresses, are the same. What
all of the Internet Service Providers (ISPs – those who provide free email accounts)
do is trace every IP address that sends emails. ISPs keep track of how many times
each IP address gets marked as spam by a recipient, and they have an acceptable
benchmark of how many times it’s okay for an IP address to be marked as spam by
an email recipient. If you exceed that benchmark for any length of time, they will
black list your email server, meaning no matter how clean your email is or spam-
free it is, the ISP simply will not deliver any email from your IP address to any of it’s
recipients.

Although you may think this doesn’t apply to you because you’re conservative in
your email marketing, think again. Technology vendors the serve dealerships, like
website providers and CRM companies – the people that run your email server at
your dealership – put multiple dealerships on the same server to reduce dealership
costs. So while you might be a conservative email marketer (or maybe you don’t
even do any marketing at all!), the fact is that there might be 5, 10, or 20 different
dealerships using that same email server. If others on your server are aggressive
email marketers and are getting tagged as spam, the ISPs mark the entire IP address
as spam, and since they can’t differentiate between the dealerships, your emails get
tagged as spam as well.

There are two things dealers can do about this. For starters, there are free tools
online, such as MXToolbox.com where you can check if your domain is blacklisted.
Another thing you need to do is create a free account with every free email hosting
place – Hotmail, Yahoo, MSN, Gmail, etc. Each month, email your dealership from

This way, you can check to see if those emails are going through. There’s nothing
worse than getting a live customer who wants to buy a car or set up a service
appointment that emails you and you continually respond, but the customer has
no idea that you’re trying to contact them. It paints the perception that you don’t
care about your customer, so your reputation goes down the tubes and then you’re
unable to set the appointment or sell the car.

One out of every four dealerships in the US is currently on a blacklist and very few
of them actually know that these lists even exist. This is something you need to
monitor every month to ensure that your communications are connecting with the
customer. To not track your email server IP address would be akin to the phone
company shutting off your phone line and you not checking that for a month, simply
assuming that no calls are coming in.

Posted in Blog