Using Text Messages to Reach the Customer

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Well managed, texting is a very effective marketing tool. PHOTO Jonas Leupe / Unsplash

In a webinar hosted by Driving Sales on Feb. 17, experts from Podium explained how to leverage targeted text marketing campaigns.

Dealers are familiar with several approaches to keep in touch with their customers and potential buyers. Sending a letter, making a phone call or sending an email to remind them of a special offer are common practices, but sometimes with mixed results.

“Texting is an important and overlooked addition to the dealership experience,” said Isaiah Rendorio and Marc Hansen of Podium. Only 12% of retail businesses, including auto dealerships, use this communication tool to convert prospects and retain active customers. Texting is a more direct approach that cuts through the noise of commercial solicitations that consumers are bombarded with. However, it must be well-targeted.”

Obtaining consent

First, during the discussion, whether it is through a chat with the customer on the dealer’s website or during a face-to-face meeting, the customer must give their consent to be on the mailing list. Also very important is the fact that the list of customers and potential buyers must be segmented.

“A good customer list (CRM) should be segmented by specific characteristics, says Rendorio. Is it the new owner of a luxury car, a student with an aging model, or someone interested in a type of vehicle that wasn’t available in inventory when they made contact?”

Aiming at the right target

A text marketing campaign must meet certain criteria to achieve maximum results. For example, new vehicle customers who are eligible for free oil changes but do not take advantage of this benefit can be contacted directly for a recall. The same goes for the owner whose vehicle has reached equity. A message inviting them to sell it back to the dealer in order to take advantage of a favourable financing rate on the purchase of a new model may be interesting.

“Personalize the message, send it during normal business hours and include a link to the appointment scheduling grid or to models in your inventory that might interest a potential client, says Hansen. And don’t send out more than once a week. The customer must feel that the communication adds value and is addressed to him personally. Also, put your company name in the message, so the recipient doesn’t think it’s spam.”

According to these experts, we must avoid generic messages addressed to everyone and to no one. The more relevant the message, the more positive the response rate. It’s better to have 100 targeted messages than 5,000 generic ones. And if the consumer no longer wishes to receive these messages, they should be able to simply unsubscribe.



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