IRVINE, Calif. -- Autobytel Inc. has introduced real-time email alerts and activity reporting to its Email Manager program, a dealership email follow-up program targeted at longer term customers.

With the upgrade, dealers now receive instant email alerts on various customer actions, including when a customer opens an email, responds to a survey, opts out, or clicks through to the dealership site.

"According to our dealers, their number one tactic for weathering the current economic challenges is improved focus on follow up and lead conversion processes1," says Autobytel vice president dealer sales Lenny McGinley. "We have upgraded Email Manager for our dealers with this specifically in mind. The addition of data-rich Real Time email alerts provide dealerships with the opportunity to communicate with their longer term customers in a timely, efficient and targeted way. This is an important competitive advantage at a time when dealers need every advantage they can get."

The Email Manager program, offered to Autobytel member dealers for $10 a month, is a value-added service that is already helping over 900 dealers across the country target long-term buyers without having to invest in additional personnel.

When a car buyer requests vehicle information from a dealer on an Autobytel site, Email Manager automatically generates a series of sophisticated dealership-branded emails over the course of 90 days, each containing relevant vehicle information (based on the customer's query) and multiple points of entry to the dealership. Open rates for Email Manager are 40 percent, which is well above the industry average.

With Email Manager 2.0, dealerships now receive email alerts the moment a customer expresses interest in the dealership -- whether their action is opening an Email Manager email, clicking on the dealership link, responding to a survey indicating where that customer is in the sales process, and/or opting out, etc. Email Manager Real-Time Alerts can easily be customized according to the level of customer information and data the dealership is interested in.

Industry data shows that while the average car-buying cycle stretches for 50 days, many salespeople drop customer follow up after just a few weeks. Email Manager 2.0 is designed to help busy salespeople continue to communicate with customers throughout the car-buying cycle.

"Designed to bridge the communications gap between the dealership's initial contact with the customer and the moment when that customer is ready to buy, Email Manager is unique in our industry with its focus on the customer who takes more time to make his/her car purchase decision," concluded McGinley.