Automotive Text Marketing for Dealers

Are you not yet using automotive text marketing and sending text messages to your customers?

If you are not, you are missing out big time and let me explain. Today I want to open your eyes to one of the most powerful communication technologies available for your dealership. Automotive text marketing maintains an average text open rate of 98% compared to 20% for emails. And with a 45% response rate for text compared to only 6% for emails – check out some text message stats.

You can see why your dealership absolutely needs to harness this tool text marketing. It is the perfect complement to your email marketing strategy. But the edge of text marketing doesn’t stop at open rates. It takes the average person 90 seconds to respond to a text while it takes the average person 90 minutes to respond to an email. That is because 95% of all text messages are read within three minutes with most on average being read in under five seconds.

Text Vs. Email Marketing

Nobody deletes a text message without reading it now. Email marketing is still one of the three most powerful marketing tools to drive traffic and sales for dealerships. But text marketing is a necessary complement to your email strategy and will strengthen some of the inherent weaknesses of an email campaign. Need an additional kicker to get you on board with text automotive marketing well check out this statistic from digital marketing magazine. It states that 75% of people would like to have offers sent to them via text. Yes, 75% of your dealership’s customers want you to send them text messages now.

Mobile Phone Popularity

Automotive Text MarketingFor obvious reasons, the importance of Automotive Text Marketing rides on the coattails of the rising popularity of mobile phones. With the growing list of mobile capabilities and functions added to mobile devices daily. You know mobile technology is not something going anywhere anytime soon. The stats show that everyday mobile usage grows for all aspects. This includes search, text and even voice search optimization for dealerships.

In fact, with the meteoric rise of mobile phones, you know most of your customers will have their device in their hands or pockets when you send them your text message which is a marketer dream. Warning though, be prepared for some rough replies as well.

Not All Replies Are Positive

Now, on the one hand, you have 75% of your customers who would like to get offers by text messages. However, be prepared for some course replies from some members of the other 25%. Text marketing is very personal more so than email and people are used to getting newsletters, invoices, corporate communications and even some spam in their email inbox. Some text replies could b considered nasty and abrupt. Simply let them have their say and move along to the next message. 

But text messages are still mostly used for friends family members and colleagues, for this reason, don’t be surprised by some of the harsh replies you’ll get. Some individuals who don’t want your dealership on their phone don’t take it personally. Don’t let these few negative voices detract you from your automotive text marketing gameplan. Why would you want to take away from most of your customers something they want because of a few bad apples?

Play By The Text Message Rules

Just make sure you always follow the laws and regulations that are in effect in your local area. Always provide recipients with a way to easily unsubscribe from your distribution list. Once these people are off your text broadcast list you’ll be left with a captive audience who will embrace your text marketing efforts. Most people will reply with certain terms to be removed from the list. Build a list of common phrases “Stop, Remove Me, any profanity” and have them removed from the list. 

Keep The Text Simple

Ready to send your first text broadcast? Well, keep it real when creating your text message. Don’t make the mistake of using a corporate voice as if you were talking to the masses. Picture one customer in your mind and write the text for him or her using simple language. Just like you would when texting a friend or family member. Keep in mind that each text is a hundred and sixty characters long. So if your message is longer than 160 characters even by one letter you will be charged for a second credit by your text provider.

I personally like to use the equivalent of two text messages or just under 320 characters. I don’t feel that 160 characters or enough to create curiosity. Communicate my call to action and provide the recipients with the ability to unsubscribe. Just make sure you factor the costs when deciding on the length of the message.

Customize Text Messages

If the text broadcast technology allows it you can use merge fields or tokens to personalize your text messages. But I haven’t found it improves conversions for our dealers. What does improve conversions is when you keep it real and stay away from the usual boring corporate tone. Make sure you also use links to landing pages where people can learn more about the offer or vehicle.

Automotive Text MarketingMobile Landing Pages

When you’re communicating just make sure the pages are mobile-friendly. Important they designed specifically for being viewed on phones. When it comes to technology find one that will allow you to manage your unsubscribe lists. That is easily a critical component of automotive text marketing.

Dealership Responses to Texts

You’ll also want a technology that will allow different members of your team to respond to people engaging in a conversation from a cloud-based back-end where your whole team can share it 24/7 you don’t want all those replies going to one single device you also want a technology that will allow you to adjust a throttle of your broadcast if you’re sending a few hundred or even a few thousand text messages you want them to trickle out at a speed that will allow your team members to manage the requests

Throttle Text Message Sends

Remember most people will respond within seconds I personally like to adjust the throttle to around 25 text messages every 15 minutes. You also want a technology that will allow you to adjust your broadcast schedule. You don’t want to be sending text messages to your customers in the middle of the night or the wee hours of the morning. They will not forgive you I find this sweet spot to be between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. and the best response rate to be around lunchtime and right after supper.

Automotive Text Marketing Platforms

If you’re using small lists you might also want to look into the Automotive Text Marketing platform that provides technology. This will allow you to automate the dialogue with your prospects in the early stages of the conversation. Need some help if you require help building your dealerships text marketing strategy? Don’t hesitate to reach out to the automotive text marketing specialists at Shawn Ryder Digital. We have the expertise that know-how and the technology to help you launch your first text marketing campaign within hours. So you can also experience the immediate results of this exciting communication technology.

Are You Ready?

Based on my experience, my objective is to work with dealerships and help with their email communication. This means more traffic on the website, in the dealership and more sales! Contact me to learn more about how I help dealers.

Contact Shawn Ryder


Shawn Ryder

Shawn Ryder

Shawn Ryder has over fifteen years in the automotive industry. Having worked with a training company in the early 2000s for a number of years, focusing on manufacturers and dealer groups. I then transitioned an automated digital marketing company for a couple of years focusing specifically on automotive dealerships. At that point decided best to work in a dealership for real experience, so I worked at a dealership selling vehicles for two years to understand the retail world. For the last three years has worked with dealers on digital marketing and growing traffic, leads and sales for the retail dealership.

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