Posted January 4, 2008 3:13 pm by with 18 comments

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With absolutely no money spent on advertising, Martin’s (Peter Martin, CEO of email marketing strategy landed more than 200 dealership clients in one year. – MarketingSherpa

I’m a big fan of practical experience and reports to see what works in marketing. This case study by MarketingSherpa shows how a business used blogs and email marketing to reach their audience.

Women purchase 65% of the cars in this country and car dealerships are a hard sell. is a site to give car-buying advice and information to women and at the same time market to car dealerships. They teach dealerships how to reach women and create custom websites and email newsletters targeted to women.

Here are some of the successes they had:

Get Media Attention – PR
They used their blog to get attention with the media and leveraged that attention to build an email list. When the articles came out they used the information in their email campaigns. Essentially they let the media do the research (come up with the content). Their blog had a mission – to help women have a better car-buying experience.

There aren’t specifics on how they got media attention, but they got 300 articles in just six months. That included media like: The New York Times, Fox News and NPR.

Collect Email Addresses
Create an email list – AskPatty collected email addresses for car dealerships and emailed them once a month. They mentioned news about the site, their services, and related information about women car buyers.

Establish Goals for an Email Campaign
The goals of the AskPatty emails were:

  • Call Martin directly to schedule a demo
  • Drive them to the site with links to media reports or research.
  • Register for online demos of products and services

If people responded in any way they were added to another email list and they got up to 15 follow-up emails over 30 days. There are more details in the report on how they did this.

Typical open rates for email are low, but they got rates from 9.8% to 17% and get them even more leads.

This is an important point: “Our goal is to build a relationship with customers. Rather than really shooting in the dark, we’re now using ongoing communication.” How do you measure the quality of the relationship? The monthly rate of people who unsubscribe to their email list is consistently under 1%.

  • There are more than a few examples of blogs/websites which did not need to spend a fortune on advertising and have been successful.

    Personally, I have been more than generous when spending money for branding purposes (the design of the blog, logos, podcast intro songs) and am also running a few AdWords/YSM/AdCenter campaigns, but in the long run, the quality of the content I will be publishing on a regular basis and the value I will be providing to my readers will do the talking 🙂

    You can spend as much as you want to on advertising, but a website which is built on a shaky foundation as far as content is concerned doesn’t stand a chance in the long run.

    Alan Johnson

  • Blog has been operating as one of the most influential tool in recent years, every online business should have their own blog so that people will know what they are up to recently

  • I have zero marketing budget when it comes to blogging.I write all my articles personally and then submit them to various article directories and on my blog of course.It works, but it takes time to get results.The traffic increases with time.Another point, always make sure to host your blog yourself.

  • I wouldn’t recommend submitting the exact same article you are posting on your blog to directories, since it will end up doing more harm than good and instead, create articles for the specific purpose of submitting them to such directories (or hire someone for the job).

    Alan Johnson

  • i think it is always a good idea to explore all the ways to gain marketing mileage without spending money. People always want to find out how to do things without spending money 😉

  • @Edward I would have to disagree. Especially if you cannot keep up with it religiously. If your just going to set up a blog just so your “with the times”, then its probably not a good idea. You need to have an appropriate angle to attack it from.

    Lack of posting IMO can do more damage to your brand than good. Nothing like seeing a stale blog on an ecommerce site.

  • Brian, while I agree that a blog which is not updated on a regular basis can do more harm to your brand than good, I’d say that, for a large company, it’s fair to assume that there will be enough updates to prevent such a situation from happening.

    Alan Johnson

  • Pingback: News Roundup Part Deux at The Internet Marketing Guide()

  • While I think a blog can be a great marketing tool it does require work. There seems to be a lot of people who think they have to have one without any idea what they want to do with it.

    You don’t need to update every day, but you do need to add new content on some kind of regular basis. You also need to have something to say. Posting content just for the sake of posting isn’t going to lead to a successful blog.

  • If I was a visitor stumbling upon this website, why would I want to return? Your ability to answer this question will make or break your blog.

    As Steven has stated, writing content just for the sake of it will do you no good, since you are not providing value. Publishing quality content on a regular basis is the name of the game.

    Alan Johnson

  • In blog we are explaining our ideas others and I am sure it is useful to others. And also we can get some ideas, and it sis very useful to beginners.

  • The great thing about blogs is the fact that you can build a friendly comminity around them, it’s definitely a lot more than a simple webmaster-visitor relationship.

    As a blogger, you get to meet a lot of interesting people and will definitely be rewarded by your readers if you provide value on a regular basis.

    Alan Johnson

  • New laws in New Zealand make sending unsolicited email an offence. It is now illegal to send email to people who you don’t have direct provable permission to be sending to. Makes marketing much more difficult, but the overall effect will be positive.

  • Wow Takeabreak. I wonder if that will ever happen in the US. It would change things a lot!

  • Takeabreak, I think we have something very similar in the UK.

    Does it help? Every little helps I guess but the Web is global, so it just means the spam comes from somewhere else.

    @AlanJohnson, why would posting content on a blog and in directories would be a bad thing? Isn’t duplicate content more an issue when people post the same stuff within pages of the same site?

  • With all the email, legit and spam, one receives these days is it wise to purely rely on email campaigns as ones message can be so easily overlooked?

    Are blogs perceived as more reliable than email in marketing campaigns? i.e. not perceived as spam etc?

  • Inspiring post! If they can do it I can too…

    I have not really forked out much to get subscribers but I have a plan up my sleeve that I can start working at from next month.

    I just plan to massively beautify my mailing list promotions and then I want to add the free download link to all my related blogs.

    I already have all the tools – it’s just a matter of time 🙂

    Gert Hough’s last blog post..Business email list for sale – 5000 email addresses cheap cheap

  • blackcaboftucson

    I've always liked a soft sell approach. My husband used to sell cars locally in Phoenix, AZ. He was told to push and be arrogant. I told him to do the opposite. He got the same amount of “ups” to experiment on and had a higher selling average than the pushier salesmen. He built a relationship with complete strangers and recieved a lot of his sales following on referrals, referrals by follow-up phone-calls to schedule maintanence.