According to Pew Research, 96% of Americans own a cellphone and 81% own a smartphone.
Implementing a texting strategy for your dealership a decade ago may not have been the best idea. However, with today’s tech-savvy consumers, it’s important for you to consider implementing a texting strategy—or revamping the current one for your dealership.
According to Tech Jury, “75% of consumers are OK with receiving SMS messages from brands after they’ve opted in.”
Consider the following types of SMS your dealership can use and helpful tips for optimizing the texting strategy at your dealership:
Different Types of SMS Your Dealership Can Use
Before exploring various tips to enhance your dealership’s texting strategy, it’s important to identify the different types of short message service (SMS)—text messaging—that you can utilize to boost sales.
- Basic SMS – Standard text message sent from one phone number to another.
- Email Originator – Your dealership can send a message to the consumer from an email address in the form of a text message.
- Coded Number – You can send a text from your dealership to the consumer from a special 4-6 digit number.
- 800 Number – Your dealership would use this toll-free number to send a text for special alerts or customer service purposes.
The type of SMS you should use will depend on the circumstance and your reasons for contacting the customer to ensure the highest possible conversion rate for your texting strategy.
Tips to Implement in Your Dealership Texting Strategy
Tech Jury reported that there were 3.9 billion people using email in 2019, and that number has increased to 4.04 billion so far in 2020. With so many consumers inundated with emails and sponsored ads, you may want to consider implementing a texting strategy for your dealership.
Most people respond quicker to text messages than email messages, which can remain unopened in their inboxes for days or weeks. Texting can become an invaluable way to communicate with your customers and leads.
1. The Importance of Consumers Opting In
If you’ve been doing your email marketing the right way, you’ve already had consumers opt-in to your subscription lists.
So, complying with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) where consumers would have to opt-in to receive calls or SMS text messages from your dealership should be no problem.
There are various ways to obtain consent from customers or leads to be added to your text messaging list.
- Completing a form and providing a written signature
- Complying through an email opt-in form
- Filling out a website text messaging opt-in form
- Responding to an opt-in text message
You can work with your digital marketing strategist to track opt-in compliance with TCPA with your current Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software—or they can assist you in utilizing the right one.
2. Simplicity Can Increase Conversion Rates
The top two industries that utilize text messaging to communicate with customers are real estate at 73% and entertainment and leisure at 63%. The automotive industry is number 9 in that top 10 list at 48%.
Communicating with your customers and leads through text messaging is a great way to reach them quickly and increases the probability of them reading your messages.
Consider breaking free from the pack in the automotive industry and start implementing a text messaging strategy today.
One rule in email marketing is to keep the messages basic and to the point. Follow that same rule with your text messaging strategy and create messages that do not exceed 160 characters.
Texts exceeding that length will usually get sent as multiple messages. That can annoy your customers and leads and cause them to opt-out from future text messages and decrease your conversion rate.
Remember that these customers and leads opted-in to receive text messages from your dealership. You want to cultivate a long-lasting customer lifecycle, and you cannot accomplish that with spammy text messages.
3. Maintain Professionalism When Communicating
Text messages were designed to be a way to send concise messages. They were not meant to be a way to send long content, which is better suited to emails or letters.
We all send text messages to those in our circle of family and friends.
It’s important to remind your sales and marketing team that they always need to maintain professionalism when communicating through text messages with customers and leads.
Consider the following tips for maintaining professionalism:
- Proofreading – Text messages deserve the same proofreading as emails, letters, and other correspondence from your dealership.
- No Abbreviations – Text without using abbreviations or acronyms. Doing so might confuse recipients and defeat the purpose of sending clear messaging.
- No Slang or Jargon – Avoid using slang or jargon since this colloquial language may not be understood by your entire customer and lead base.
- Proper English – Create text messages that follow proper grammar and spelling usage so you can avoid confusion with the message you send.
Always remember that professionalism and branding must resonate in each text message your dealership sends to customers and leads.
4. Utilize Customer Segmentation for Better Results
Text messages have a 98% open rate, and approximately “90% of SMS messages are read within 3 minutes.” Make sure your text message conversion rate is even higher by utilizing customer segmentation the same way you would with email marketing.
- Service Reminders – Schedule text messages to be sent to customers from the service department to remind them of appointments for vehicle servicing.
- Personalization – Let customers know you value them as more than just your next sale by sending them a personalized birthday text message.
- Cross-Selling – Segmentation allows you to cross-sell to a customer through text by sharing details on services or products similar to what they’ve already purchased from your dealership.
- Segment Groups – Send customized text messages to segmented customer groups based on location, purchasing history, demographic, and psychographic information.
Text messaging can become a conversion gold mine if used the right way with these various customer segmentation techniques.
5. Improve Effectiveness with A/B Testing
A/B testing can be as effective for your texting strategy as your email marketing campaigns. This split testing process enables you to identify what types of content will get better results when sending text messages to your customers and leads.
The following tips can optimize A/B testing for text message marketing:
- Testing Sample Size – Identify the testing sample size. For example, your list may contain 2,500 names and phone numbers. Your testing sample should include 10-30% — between 250 and 750—of those names.
- Varying Content – Divide your testing sample size into two groupings that will receive different content in the text messages, such as template A and B.
- Media Content – Add varying media content like a photo or video to one group and not the other to identify if the media improved conversions.
- Analyze Results – Data analysis will identify the following for both templates: conversion rates, open rates, unsubscribe rates, and sales increases.
After completing the A/B testing for your text message sample size, you might find that there wasn’t a substantial difference between the various templates. If that’s the case, your text message campaigns were likely too much alike to make a huge impact on one audience versus the other.
If that happens, consider evaluating the following and make sure that the A/B testing templates for future sample sizes are significantly different:
- Keywords – It’s essential to include persuasive keywords that resonate.
- Messaging – Create content that showcases branding professionally.
- CTA – Make sure both templates have totally different calls-to-action (CTA).
- Timing – Alter the times the text messages were sent to each testing sample.
- Segments – You may need to vary or use more similar segment groups.
As you’ve likely experienced with your email marketing campaigns, it will take time to get accurate results with A/B testing for your texting strategy. Testing with one sample size will not get you accurate results. Multiple tests are needed.
Consider working with your digital marketing strategist to find the best ways to implement A/B testing for your current text messaging strategy.
6. Optimize Texting by Using CRM Software
Your customer relationship management software can help you enhance communication with customers and leads and improve the way data is organized in your dealership.
As mentioned, CRM software can help you comply with TCPA and effectively track which leads opted in to receiving text messages from your dealership.
Consider the following ways that this CRM software can help you optimize your texting strategy at your dealership:
- Audience – CRM software can help target the right customers and leads through segmentation to improve conversion rates and boost sales.
- Customized Content – Create more personalized content by using customer data to communicate text messages that will resonate with specific people.
- Campaign Analysis – With the right CRM software, you can analyze text messaging campaign data to analyze results and improve future campaigns.
Improve engagement with customers and leads by utilizing CRM software to augment your text messaging strategy and deliver customized messages that positively impact today’s busy consumers.
Start Implementing a Winning Texting Strategy Today
If you want to reach consumers today, your strategy must reflect the way people want to receive information from your dealership. Texting is an acceptable form of communication for 75% of consumers.
Start implementing a winning texting strategy that includes the right type of SMS to meet the consumer’s communication needs at that moment by contacting the J&L Marketing team.