Sorry. I just got a text from Roberts Chevrolet reminding me that my car is due for service. They even included their phone number so I could easily call and make an appointment right away while it was fresh in mind.
This is probably one of the best examples of how your car dealership can use strategic text messaging (more commonly referred to as SMS marketing) to increase sales and build customer loyalty.
Now I’m not suggesting that you pick up your phone and start texting your leads like crazy. That would probably have the opposite effect of what you want.
What I’m talking about is leveraging a marketing tactic that has a 98% open rate (compared to email’s 20% to 30% average) to help your auto dealership stay top of mind and connect with your customers like never before—especially when it’s combined with a successful email marketing campaign.
But before we look at how texting fits into the customer’s journey, we should first explore the many ways that an SMS marketing campaign can positively impact your dealership.
How Texting Benefits Auto Dealers
According to marketing technology consultant and analyst David Raab, nurtured leads have a 23% shorter sales cycle than non-nurtured leads. It should go without saying that the easier it is for a customer to make a purchase, the more likely they are to do so, as well as make another purchase in the future.
For years, marketers and businesses have used lead nurturing to stay in front of their customers and help guide them through the buyer’s journey, and they’ve typically been using email to do it.
Now text messaging has added another level of interaction, and it’s had some exciting results. Research from the Pew Internet Project found that 90% of American adults have a cell phone, 81% of which use texting. Now consider the fact that more than 90% of text messages are read within just 3 minutes of being received, and it’s clear just how valuable texting can be.
Plus, with automated marketing services such as the ones offered here at FullThrottle, you can quickly and easily create your own SMS marketing campaigns or have one set up for you by a marketing professional so you can start sending messages to the right people at the right times. With FullThrottle’s NurtureUp® feature, you get to determine how involved you want to be.
Applying SMS Marketing to the Buyer’s Journey
If you try to use SMS marketing to generate new leads, you probably won’t have much success. Why? Because people don’t let just anyone send them text messages every month, especially not businesses.
To use text messaging effectively, you should only target people who have already been determined to be marketing qualified leads. This should include any of your current customers to keep them in the loop about new promotions and products at your dealership that may be relevant to them.
I stress the word relevant because if your dealership is sending text messages that don’t have any value to the recipient, you can bet they’re going to unsubscribe quickly. Instead, segment your SMS marketing lists into categories and provide them with the useful information they need to make a purchase.
For example, let’s say you’d like to increase used vehicle sales. Collect your leads who have already agreed to receive text messages from your dealership and who have also shown interest in purchasing a used vehicle, whether they’ve contacted the dealership directly or downloaded a piece of premium content from your website. The customer is probably considering whether a used vehicle is what they want and whether they should buy one from your dealership or somewhere else.
With SMS marketing, you can send these leads a friendly text message like this: Hi Chris! We hope you liked our used car checklist. If you’re interested, a 2015 Chevy Cruze just arrived. Call 555-555-5555 for a personal test drive.
You can even make sure that recipients only receive a text message once. That way, they don’t keep getting texts for the same 2015 Chevy Cruze week after week (or worse, after they’ve already bought it).
How Do You Track This?
Think tracking your SMS marketing campaign is going to be complicated? It won’t be. In fact, with an automated lead nurturing tool like NurtureUp®, you can see who’s receiving your messages, who’s opening them, if they’re actually clicking on the links, and where they’re at in the buyer’s journey. This way, you can actively and accurately track and monitor your leads as they move closer to making a purchase.
Put It in Drive: You can start implementing text messages as part of your dealership’s lead nurturing campaign with just a little bit of planning:
• Step 1: Determine your goal. No lead nurturing campaign can be successful without a goal.
• Step 2: Map out how you’re going to reach your goal by creating a customer journey. What information will you offer to guide the customer through their journey?
• Step 3: Determine which leads to target. Keep in mind that your customers have to opt in to your text messaging service.
However, even if your customers click on the links in your messages, if they lead to an outdated or poorly designed website, they’ll probably close the browser without giving it a second thought.
But before you decide to change website platforms, you’ll want to know what to look for. Learn more by downloading our free eBook 4 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Website Platform.
All the best,
—Christopher Wirth is the Inbound Marketing Team Lead at FullThrottle