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Embracing Automotive Mobile Marketing in Car Dealerships

According to a recent cell phone study by Pew Internet, “85% of Americans ages 18 and older own a cell phone, making it by far the most popular device among adults” and a great opportunity for car dealerships to utilize for automotive mobile marketing purposes.  Not too surprisingly, the study also found that a great deal of time spent on a mobile phone has nothing to do with talking!  A large majority of people use their mobile phones to text, as well as visit social networks, surf the Internet and take/share photos.  This type of behavior qualifies for a great opportunity to engage your target market in automotive sms marketing services for your dealership.


Since it is clearly evident that Americans have rapidly embraced mobile phones – and their various functionalities – dealerships should consider how to utilize mobile technology to improve automotive mobile marketing efforts.  Here are a few recommended automotive text messaging solutions your dealership should strongly consider implementing:


1.  Automotive Text Messaging Solutions:  By nature, text messaging is meant to be short (160 characters) and to the point.  It is well suited for sending relevant, timely and brief messages that are speaking directly to a customer’s need and/or interest.  Of course, like other modes of communication, unwanted, irrelevant and unnecessary text messages will damage your relationship with customers.  Therefore, some good ways to use text messaging in your automotive mobile marketing efforts – without becoming an annoyance – is to send texts related to:

  • Service: service reminders, appointment reminders, missed appointment notifications, additional service recommendations, arrival of a special parts order, and thank you.
  • Sales: notification of approaching lease termination, birthday, anniversary, and thank you.

It’s a good idea to get started with text messaging as a form of communication for your dealership because your current young target audience members are texting fanatics. Young adults (ages 18-24) exchange on average 1,630 messages monthly, according to Nielsen.  Note: You definitely want to get your customers to opt-in to receive text messages.  This can be done at the dealership or by implementing an opt-in submission form on your website.  Either way, your dealership must gain consent before sending texts to customers and have an opt-out option available should they no longer wish to receive texts from your dealership.

2. QR Codes: If you don’t know what QR codes are, they are the 2-dimensional barcodes that store information that can be read by a mobile phone or device.  You’ve likely seen everywhere lately: magazine advertisements, promotional pieces and emails, for example.  They are easily scannable barcodes that, when you point your smartphone camera at them, they provide a message, open a website or produce other branded content.  The use of QR Codes is a step toward fully taking advantage of mobile marketing for the automotive industry.

While many OEMs are implementing QR codes in their automotive mobile marketing efforts, car dealerships at the local level can also use them to engage customers in various ways.  One way is to interact with those who peruse their lots during off hours.  A QR code for each used vehicle can be created through a free QR-generator site (such as Kaywa), printed (whether on paper or in sticker form) and posted on the vehicle.  When customers scan the code, they are brought to a page on your dealership’s website regarding that specific vehicle to obtain any additional information and even specials on pricing/financing. QR codes can also be included in your print advertising, whether it be your newspaper ads or direct mail pieces…again, leading traffic to your website.  Lastly, your dealership can place a QR code on service department receipts to lead customers to an online customer service survey.

Though QR codes are fairly new, they are definitely growing in popularity and serve as a great tool to bridge the real and digital world.

3.  Automotive Mobile Apps – Smart phone applications are all the rage.  How many times have you heard “There’s an app for that!”?  Well, even car dealerships are intrigued by the possibility of developing a customized app.

has developed a customized app that allows you to explore their new and used car inventory from the comfort of your Smart Phone.  Additionally, it allows you to estimate the Kelley Blue Book value of your current car.

Similar to QR codes above, Mobile Apps allow your dealership to maintain an additional touch point with your customers, providing critical information about vehicles and your dealership (such as directions and contact information) in a very user friendly way. If your current website isn’t mobile optimized, then a mobile app is the best way to share your critical web content to people surfing on a smartphone.

We’ve listed a few ways above for dealerships to include mobile as part of their overall automotive mobile marketing efforts.  Has your dealership implemented any mobile efforts?  What has your experience been thus far?

~ Missy Jensen, Social Media Manager at DMEautomotive

Missy designs, deploys and maintains the social media initiatives for DMEautomotive in an effort to increase brand awareness, distribute company and industry news, provide updates on products and services and promote consumer engagement. Missy enjoys the process of learning; researching and watching projects come to fruition!

Prior to her transformation into a web specialist and work with DMEautomotive, she has 10 years of experience in the marketing and communications industry. Missy served as the Director, Handicapping & Communications for a regional golf association and helped successfully launch and maintain a cutting edge technology-based ticket resale program on behalf of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Missy attended St. Lawrence University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BS in Psychology. She also holds a Master’s Degree from Miami University in Oxford, OH. She can be reached at and check her out on LinkedIn.

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