text message marketing tips

If a nearly 100% open rate sounds like sheer fantasy, try these text message marketing tips and discover the exciting reality.

Think about your personal email inbox for a moment. How many emails do you get every day that you have no interest in? How likely are you to delete those messages without ever reading them?

Email marketing is popular because it has proven to be a successful medium for speaking to new and prospective customers. However, with the sheer volume of marketing emails sent on a daily basis, the average open rate currently hovers around 20%.

That’s not a bad number by any stretch of the imagination, but what if you could reach a 98% open rate with your marketing messages? It’s possible when your dealership joins the world of SMS text messaging and uses these text message marketing tips.

According to Pew Research Center, 95% of Americans own a cellphone of some kind. The vast majority read a text message almost instantly upon receiving it, whereas emails can sit untouched in an inbox for days—even weeks—before someone reads (or deletes) them. If you play your cards right, SMS texts can become a lucrative marketing channel for your auto dealership.

text message marketing tips

7 Text message marketing tips all tech-savvy dealerships know

1. Get permission first

Compliance is a major part of dealership life, and text messaging is not exempt. Under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, you are required to obtain “prior express written consent” from an individual to send them texts. This written consent can be given with a written signature, through email, a website form, or a text message. If you are using a CMS like AutoRaptor, it’s easy to keep track of whether a customer has consented to text messages so, there aren’t any mistakes or mix-ups.

2. Keep it short and sweet

With most carriers, text message length is limited to 160 characters. After that, the message might get broken up into more than one text—which you don’t want to happen. The length limit tends to be a good thing, though, because it encourages you to get to the point without needless marketing jargon and annoying descriptors.

3. Less is more

With such a great open rate, you may be tempted to text your customers far more often than you should. You have a direct connection to them that they have opted into—don’t abuse the power and become spammy. Among all text message marketing tips, this is one of the most important. You worked hard to get a customer to opt in; don’t send them so many messages that they decide to opt out.

4. Incorporate media

Depending on the type of text message you’re sending a customer, your interaction could benefit from the use of media. For example, if someone submits a test drive request through your website and asks that you text them back to confirm, you could also ask if they’d like additional photos of the vehicle sent via text. It’s usually best to ask first before sending photos or videos, as you don’t know what kind of text plan a person has.

5. Segment

Rather than blasting your entire database with texts every time you’re having a sale or event, use it for very personalized communication. For example, use SMS messaging to send service reminders or to cross-sell a service or product that’s related to something a customer already owns. There are many different text message marketing tips out there, but it’s hard to go wrong when you take the time to send very specific messages a customer will care about.

6. Be professional

Texting tends to be a more casual form of communication, but when you’re conducting business, don’t let your guard down too much—you risk coming across as unprofessional. Don’t slip into using slang, and though you’re texting, avoid abbreviating words; spell everything out in correct English.

7. Throw in some variety

If you’re sending out deals or discounts via SMS, they should be different from any other deals you’re promoting through social media, your website, or through other marketing channels. Why would a customer opt into your text messaging service if they’re just going to receive the same notifications they’re getting on Facebook and TV?

Text message marketing has a lot of potential to enhance your current marketing efforts. In general, the best advice is to take it slow and avoid coming on too strong. You are reaching out to customers on their direct, personal lines and it’s important to show them that you respect their privacy and personal boundaries.

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