Every single industry should harness the power of SMS capabilities, whether to communicate with customers via their preferred method or as part of their marketing campaign. The auto industry is not exempt from this, but you don’t have to wonder how to incorporate automotive text messaging into your strategy.
This guide outlines everything you need to know about SMS auto sales, from how it benefits you to relevant statistics to encourage you to adopt texting to examples to get you started.
Benefits of business text messaging for dealerships
The most significant advantage of automotive text messaging is the fact that it comes with high open rates. This means that your customers are much more likely to see the text messages you send them than marketing messages via other methods.
The reason is that SMS has high open rates and that the recipient can open the message at their leisure. Contrast this with calling a customer to remind them about an appointment or tell them about a car. They have to be available to answer the phone calls AND willing to do so at the time.
Many customers also prefer that you contact them via text messages. This means that by using SMS, cars could fly off your lot at a quicker rate due to improved customer satisfaction.
Dealerships will also appreciate the low cost of text messaging. This is especially true when you compare the cost of texting, even with automated services, with other marketing methods. The costs will vary, but you can expect it to fit into your budget easily.
On top of those advantages, text messaging can also be easily automated. This can save your team a significant amount of time. Even if you don’t automate marketing and notification texts, sending them will take up less of your team’s time than they would spend on a phone call to convey the same information.
Automotive text messaging case studies
We mentioned that text messages have a very impressive open rate, but that rate is 98% to be more exact. On top of that, the response rate for texts is 45%. These rates are nearly impossible to get with another method.
It is also worth noting that there are plenty of use cases for automotive text messaging.
- You can improve customer service by sending reminders or alerts via text
- Follow-up on leads
- You can request feedback via text (surveys or reviews)
- You can boost sales by texting customers about specific vehicles
- You can share service promotions
- It can improve internal communications
- Tell customers about recalls
- You can follow up after an auto purchase
The point about following up after an auto purchase is critical, as it lets you turn one-time customers into lifetime customers. On top of that, 46% of auto buyers indicate that they want the dealership to contact them following their purchase.
There are also some specific case studies involving SMS auto sales. For example, one company, the Road Code, now gets about 70% of business from SMS and has a 20% close rate with its new customers.
Another study saw that Hawkinson Nissan boosted their service by $168,000 after texting a single coupon to about 2,400 customers.
Eight automotive text messaging examples
With that background in mind, take a look at some examples of text messages for car dealers. The following cover most of the situations when you will want to take advantage of SMS automotive contact methods, but there will likely be other situations as well. If your use case is not one of the example situations listed below, you should still be able to adapt these examples to create your own template for the situation.
#1 Automated service reminders
One of the most common reasons you will want to text customers of your dealership is to remind them that they have service scheduled or need to schedule service. You can even use texting to schedule appointments.
#2 Information requests
Information request texts are when you text potential customers back about a vehicle or vehicles that they wanted more information on.
You can also let customers text you with information requests, such as learning more about a given model’s features or whether you have a particular auto in stock. Compared with calling, texting lets your team find the relevant information for the client without feeling rushed.
#3 Service and satisfaction surveys
As with every other industry, all auto dealers should constantly look for feedback from customers. This can come via satisfaction surveys about the experience of buying a car from your dealership or having service done at your service center.
You can even take this a step further and text to ask customers to leave reviews about their positive experiences.
#4 Recall alerts
Obviously, you hope that none of the vehicles you sell ever have a recall, but this is not entirely realistic. Recalls will occasionally happen, and they can be challenging to deal with, both for your dealership and customers.
Texting about recalls is perhaps the easiest way to notify your customers about the recall. While email is another option, remember that texting has a much higher open rate.
Even better, you can combine this with the ability to schedule or confirm appointments. In other words, inform customers about the recall and encourage them to plan the service to take care of it in the same message, then do so over text. Or just include a link in the text message to the page of your website they need to visit to schedule service.
#5 Sales lead generation
Automated texts or mass texts are particularly helpful for boosting enthusiasm for new vehicles or anything else you want to promote.
To make the most of this type of text, try to segment your leads. That way, you can text them information about promotions that they are most likely to appreciate without sending them too many that they aren’t interested in. The second part of this is vital as if you send too many messages, customers may choose to unsubscribe from your texts.
#6 Payment reminders
At an auto dealership, you likely have many customers who have payment plans of some sort. The most common will be those who have dealership financing or lease from your dealership. But you may also need to send payment reminders for auto service or parts.
This is another one of the types of SMS messages that you can easily automate, so you don’t have to worry about it. Remember that sending payment reminders helps your dealership by ensuring you receive your payments on time, and it helps customers by letting them avoid late fees.
There are even some services that let you give customers the option to pay through texts.
“This is a friendly reminder that your payment for [auto/service] totaling [amount] is due on [date]. You can follow this link to pay.”
#7 Field service questions
If your dealership answers basic service questions over text, this is a great way to set yourself apart from the competition and boost customers satisfaction. Customers will appreciate being able to text to see if the issue with their car is a serious problem that requires them to bring the auto in or if it is something minor they can fix themselves or even ignore.
While answering these service questions will take a few minutes out of your team’s day, those few minutes will be worth it in terms of gains to customer loyalty.
#8 Instant follow-up
This strategy involves using text messages to follow up with people who fill out your contact form or reach out to you on another platform, such as Facebook, or even someone who visits your dealership. It lets you take the conversation somewhere that the customer feels more comfortable and that is more convenient for everyone. That, in turn, should help you gain loyal customers for your automotive business.
FAQs for automotive text messaging
How do I get my car dealer started with text marketing?
Getting your dealership started with text marketing is a breeze. You just need to find the right provider, ideally someone with experience with SMS campaigns and other services, like Podium.
Conclusion: Why automotive text messaging is relevant to your business
If you don’t incorporate texting into your dealership’s marketing and general communication methods, you will be missing out on connections with customers. You can send messages from your car dealerships to schedule or remind clients about appointments, tell them about new vehicles or promotions, give them payment reminders, or even provide field service. The more you do with texting at your dealership, the more you open yourself up to additional revenue.
Offering texting adds convenience for customers, boosts their satisfaction, and saves your team time. You will likely find your dealership using texting for more than you realized.