Logo mobile Logo mobile

Digital Fatigue and Customer Engagement: Are customers ignoring your emails?

Automotive Industry
Automotive Marketing
Customer Engagement
Driving Growth
Aimi Gundersen

Aimi Gundersen

15 Oct, 2021
Facebook X Linkedin

Digital Fatigue is affecting not only open rates on emails but can also hurt your overall email quality. Understanding the definition of Digital Fatigue is important. Understanding some ways to avoid it is paramount.


Automotive News recently posted an article that caught my attention right from the headline. This article focused on digital fatigue and ways to combat it.  Part of the reason this grabbed my attention is that digital fatigue is a thing that I feel on a daily basis, and the other part is that I know dealers are fighting this as well.


What is Digital Fatigue?


Thinking back just through the past year, calculate how digital touchpoints have increased dramatically.


Think about how many more: 


  • Emails you get daily - whether solicited or not
  • Zoom or team meetings you have to attend with vendors/partners/agencies
  • Ads you are served via social media or targeted google ads


Our world has continued to become smaller and more virtual, which means there is an increased tax on us concerning digital communications, which leads to Digital Fatigue. The problem is that with our desire to communicate and stay connected, we have made our communications superfluous. There are too many messages, which makes it difficult to discern what is most important.


In an additional article by Outsell that Automotive News highlighted, they outlined some of the types of digital fatigue and posed two thought-provoking questions:


Dealer Fatigue – how can you as a dealer defeat your own digital fatigue?

Consumer Fatigue – how can you reduce digital fatigue for your consumers?


As much as we feel this on our side of the email inbox, imagine what our customers are feeling, or even worse, imagine what they are ignoring in their inbox.


Email is still an important and integral part of dealership and consumer engagement. It can target specific customers, provide value, and offer timely messages that customers are looking for.


If it is done the right way.

How Digital Fatigue Affects Emails


Emails have been a standard form of communication for many years. This is something that as an industry we rely on as a main form of communication and have consistently worked on perfecting. From subject lines to specific content, to the all-important First Quality Response, we in automotive know a thing or two about the importance of getting email right.


But what happens when that platform gets diluted with too many emails and too much information? 


  • Emails get deleted before any interaction
  • Emails get put into folders that are ever opened
  • Emails get sent to spam


In a study done by Mailgun (Pathwire), they found that over 55% of companies surveyed are sending more emails than pre-pandemic. And 49% are sending emails on a more frequent cadence. While this is great for email marketing, and we are increasing our digital communication, the overload of B2C emails has increased dramatically, and we need to make sure we protect not only our customers from over-communication but also our email reputation.


And an overwhelmed inbox is ignored and deleted.


How to Combat this in Consumer’s Inboxes


As an automotive marketer, it is critical that we focus on the what, when, and why of digital communication and email with your consumers.  Here are some tips to help your emails avoid the spam folder.


Subject Lines


I remember one of my professors in college stating that coming up with a title should take you just as long as writing the entire piece of work. They are that important because it is what hooks the reader. 


The same rule applies to the subject lines of an email.


As stated in one of our previous articles, subject lines are literally the catalyst for a click or an ignore. If you are responding to a customer lead, use their name and tell them what you are offering. (ex. Aimi - Here is the information you requested for your 2022 Chevrolet Tahoe.) 


The subject should be clear, concise, and avoid “clickbait” language that is used solely to get someone to open the email. That could turn into a quick trip to the spam folder.


For more information on subject lines, this should help.


First Quality Response


If your email is responding to a customer, make sure you have three elements: speed, quality, and questions.


  • Speed--you want to answer that email as quickly as possible. Most studies state 10 minutes or less WITHOUT an autoresponder


  • Quality-- Make sure the email is written well. Grammar, punctuation, and word choice truly matter, and you want to present the best, most professional image possible. This is the second-largest purchase most people will make. Show them you can handle the job well.


  • Questions-- Ask good questions and respond to questions the consumer may have asked. Always look for ways to provide information, surprise and delight the consumer, and start a conversation.


Frequency of emails


This is something you need to test out with your audience. If you have an offer in service or a Thanksgiving event in play, this is the time to ensure you are connecting with your customers or potential customers. 


What you do not want to do is overload their inbox. People expect multiple emails from Target because they are going to Target multiple times a week. Customers are not visiting the dealership multiple times a month, so remember that email messaging must be relevant, offer either information or a deal, and be specific.


Remember--you want to offer something of value to the customers so they will open your emails when you send them.


What Now?


If you are looking for experts to assist with email follow-up (and other forms of consumer engagement) Better Car People can help. Reach out and find out how we can respond to your customer inquiries night or day with live U.S.-based agents.