Video E-Mails Let Car Dealer Stand Out

Share this content:
Graff Chevrolet, a Grand Prairie, TX, automobile dealer, began sending video e-mails this week to consumers who visited the dealer's Web site and requested auto information.

The rich media e-mails feature customized vehicle information, a video commercial of the car or truck the consumer expressed interest in, a personal message from the company president, and a link to various pages on its Web site.

"When we get a request for certain types of vehicles, we send a video e-mail of that vehicle to the customer as our first response," said Ron Harred, general manager at Graff Chevrolet. The dealer has delivered about 100 video e-mails so far and has received positive feedback from recipients, Harred said.

"The consumers usually e-mail several dealerships, and everyone else just sends them a text message back," he said. "We're sending them an actual streaming video. And it sure gets their attention."

Graff Chevrolet is using a new company,, to produce the video e-mails and set up the infrastructure to deliver them. Peter Martin, president of ExpandMail, Dallas, said its technology allows businesses to send a streaming video message, combined with a fully functioning Web site, through a standard e-mail.

Both Martin and Harred said the video e-mails are more user-friendly than some streaming media because there is nothing to download. The recipient selects his Internet connection speed, which opens a video e-mail version in a 56K or DSL/cable feed.

ExpandMail produces the video e-mail using footage from a television commercial -- if the dealer already has one -- or by working with the client and a post-production company to shoot original footage. The clients choose whether to set up the e-mails as part of an auto-responder system or to send them to its inhouse mailing lists.

Graff Chevrolet is using the video e-mails in auto-responder mode, but by September the dealer expects to start testing their effectiveness to names on its inhouse mailing list.

"We are going to use it more as a targeting tool," Harred said. "We'll go back in our database and find people with an old-body-style pickup truck [for example] and send them a video e-mail of the new-body-style pickup."

Martin offered several reasons why ExpandMail's early marketing and promotional efforts have focused on the automobile industry. Auto dealers, especially large ones such as Graff, which sells more than 3,500 cars per year, tend to have a sophisticated understanding of marketing and usually have commercials ready to go, he said. Automobiles make for good video, Martin added. And ExpandMail's parent company, Expansion Unlimited, also owns, an online directory of auto dealers.

"We just understand that market and know there is a need for these services," Martin said.

Sign up to our newsletters

Company of the Week

We recently were named B2B Magazine's Direct Marketing Agency of the Year, and with good reason: We make real, measureable, positive change happen for our clients. A full-service agency founded in 1974, Bader Rutter expertly helps you get the right message to the right audience at the right time through the right channels. As we engage our clients' audiences along their journey, direct marketing (email, direct mail, phone, SMS) and behavioral marketing (SEM, retargeting, contextual) channels deliver information relevant to the needs of each stage. We are experts at implementing and leveraging marketing technologies such as CRM and marketing automation in order to synchronize sales and marketing communications. Our team of architects and activators plan, execute, measure and adjust in real time to ensure the strategy is working as needed and change things if it's not.

Find out more here »

Career Center

Check out hundreds of exciting professional opportunities available on DMN's Career Center.  
Explore careers in digital marketing, sales, eCommerce, marketing communications, IT, data strategies, and much more. And don't forget to update your resume so employers can contact you privately about job opportunities.

>>Click Here

Relive the 2017 Marketing Hall of Femme

Click the image above