3 R's of Email

Brad Cannon | 08/27/2019

As I am writing this, school is getting ready to start back up, so I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon and talk about the 3 R’s of email: ‘Readin, ‘Ritin, and ‘Rithmatic.

There’s an art to effective email, but it’s more like finger painting than Da Vinci. If you stick with the fundamentals, you can make some really neat things happen. But you have to stick to good, basic, fundamentals.

‘Readin – The very first goal of your email is for it to be read. If it doesn’t get read, you’ve wasted your time. 

We live and work in a niche market. Only a small percentage of people ride. Given this, it’s important for emails we send to appeal to that whole group each time we send one. If you want to set yourself up for failure, only send emails out referencing special financing on new units. That’s about as close to a bullet in the head as you can do to your email program.

Only a VERY small percentage of people in your email list are interested in buying a new unit at any given time. Like maybe 2%. 

The best practice is to have content in your email that corresponds with each department in your dealership. Mention your parts department with an offer or two, and service. Show a used unit, and for those Harley guys reading this, Motorclothes. 

The point is, you have more than one department in your dealership, and each represents an opportunity to pique the interest of, and create a sale to a customer. Each needs to be represented in your marketing. If the only thing you’re sending me is email offers for 0% on new units, I’m going to get bored of you really quickly and either stop opening your emails, unsubscribe, or mark you as spam.

‘Ritin – There are some foundational best (and worst) practices when it comes to the actual writing of emails. Let me go ahead and get 2 of the biggest writing worst practices out on the table first….


Just knock that the hell off for the love of God. That was cool for like 15 minutes back in the mid-nineties, but since then anyone who receives emails like that has an immediate visceral bad reaction and is significantly less likely to open it than if it were just typed and not SCREAMED. All caps is understood by literally everyone on the internet as yelling, and throwing 14 exclamation points at the end comes off with the same level of desperation as that ex that can’t understand, “Why can’t you just love me?” Stop it. We want our emails to be friendly, not creepy or off-putting.

The absolute best email subject lines create curiosity, or appeal to the desire for gain, or fear of loss. Here’s a couple of good ones:

• Want a free <premium>? 
• Check out what’s happening at <dealership> this weekend!
• Top 5 things to check before you go riding this Spring

• Top tips on storing your motorcycle for the winter

Cardinal Sin #2 is creating emails that are nothing more than one banner image after another. There are a couple of reasons this is awful. 
First, it reeks of being thrown together. Like I told my mom about my science project the night before it was due kind of thrown together. Don’t do that.

There’s an additional fun fact that may not be as well known: email service providers hate them. Your deliverability WILL suffer (from both sins I mention here). Have a good balance of images and text. You’ll have better open and response rates.

Extra party foul points for not linking the images to anything. In doing this, we’ve literally emailed a billboard out….

Best practice in creating emails is, as I mentioned earlier, presenting every department, so that no matter where a customer is in the life/buying cycle, there’s potentially an offer that will appeal to them. In crafting emails this way, your customers will begin to open your emails, and even look forward to doing so because there will be a reason to do so if it’s not always about special financing.

Bonus points if you include small blurbs, or a paragraph or two of content in each email that passes on best practices for riders, or interesting local or dealership info. 

It doesn’t have to be a lot to be interesting.

‘Rithmatic – All of this leads to this part: The math. Following best practices leads to better numbers overall. You get better open rates, click rates, and my favorite math – bank deposits.

Firestorm email goes a long way towards helping you create better emails with hundreds of different powersports-centric designs that contain the building blocks for great emails. If you haven’t seen Firestorm email yet, give us a call and let us walk you through it: 877-242-4472

Talk soon,

PSM Marketing

825 Highway 74 South
Peachtree City, GA 30269
Tel: (877) 242-4472
Int: (770) 692-1750
Text: (770) 692-1750