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The SMS Marketing Strategy Every Dealership Needs

Smart phone users in the United States send 764 text messages and place 164 phone calls per month. Without a doubt, younger generation users skew that data, but even users aged between 55 to 64 text on average 80 times per month and users 65+ text on average 32 times per month1. Given this shift in text messaging becoming a primary form of prospect contact, dealers must adapt to effectively reach out to consumers the way they want to be reached out to.

From a car sales prospecting standpoint, the automotive industry tends to be more traditional and in turn, tends to perform more telephone outreach than most other sales industries. In this blog, Mastermind covers:

- Why car sales text messaging is favorable over phone calls to auto dealers and prospects alike  
- How automotive dealerships can build a strong text message marketing strategy
- How dealers can increase customer loyalty through text rather than phone calls
- How dealers can avoid hefty privacy law fines by getting consumer consent

The Automotive Cold Phone Call: The Dinosaur

Even dating back to the early 2000’s, calling and leaving voicemails were the easiest and fastest way to reach a prospect’s ear. Texting was only for more personal relationships, and the response time was nowhere near as quick as it is today, prolonging the already dreadful prospecting process. With today’s abundance of robocalls and local area phone number masking, prospects have learned to ignore calls from unfamiliar numbers and are less likely to check voicemails from those numbers, leaving auto salespeople in a state of limbo.

Now for dealerships, SMS marketing programs allow for faster response times from smartphone users as dealerships generally have a high number of mobile numbers in their CRM database already due to the increasing amount of homes getting rid of outdated landlines. Studies show texts are replied to, on average, within four minutes. The expectation for a return call to a voicemail is the same day, and the expectation for an email is 24 hours. This is crucial to the sales cycle turnaround time when a dealership is tasked with moving a certain amount of metal off of the lot before end of month. 

Dealership Text Messaging Marketing Strategies 

With an SMS marketing strategy, automotive dealers can build a strong database of subscribers and increase customer loyalty. Even with a strong marketing program in place, SMS could complement, if not propel, that marketing program forward. The first step to executing a successful text messaging marketing strategy is to simply use your mobile contact database from your CRM as a communication tool. Reach out to existing customers who may be approaching their lease-end dates and you will likely get a higher response rate than trying to cold call them.

Another approach is to use SMS marketing to increase the response rate of your email campaigns through targeted SMS. The average open rate of text messages is 98%, which is 78% higher than email marketing messages2. Using SMS to engage your audience through discounts, promo codes, etc. can help each facet of your marketing work off one another. Lastly, using lead nurturing technology can help import your contacts from Facebook or Google ads into your CRM. Given how powerful the response rate is for SMS marketing, when combined with other marketing technologies such as predictive marketing campaigns offered by Market EyeQ, dealers could maximize outreach to sell more cars.

SMS Marketing Regulations

With great power comes great responsibility. Considering how personalized a text message can become, there comes certain rules companies must abide by to follow privacy laws. TCPA regulations are aimed at restricting unsolicited phone calls and text messages which means consumers must opt-in to receive communication from your dealership. In order to avoid harsh fines, a dealership can take certain precautions when developing an SMS strategy:

- Attain written consent at the time of the vehicle sale

- Attain written consent at the point of service or when a customer brings in a car for repair

- Obtain prior express written consent on website forms and recorded chats. Whenever you capture phone numbers in lead forms or in person, make it part of the dealership process to attain the customer’s written consent to be contacted via text messages

- Make sure to honor opt-outs: Offer “text STOP to end” in messages sent and make sure your texting vendor immediately blocks unsubscribed numbers from all future text messages.

The global increase in mobile devices has expanded the huge potential of text message marketing for car dealerships. Every auto dealer can take advantage of the benefits associated with having an SMS strategy. There is one constant in this day and age– people will always have their phones by their side. If you can get them to opt-in to lead nurturing, they will never miss a message from you. The SMS strategy discussed in this article can be used to increase customer loyalty, increase leads, and generate revenue in conjunction with your dealership’s existing marketing programs to help your dealership sell more cars

Interested in learning about how to improve your dealership’s marketing? Contact us to set up a demo today.


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