Getting your message out to existing and potential customers is always a battle. Pamphlets can be thrown straight in the recycling bin, TV and radio commercials can be ignored, emails unopened.

But there is one method of marketing that has been shown to have an almost flawless success rate in at least having your message seen: text messaging.

Research shows that marketing emails are opened at a rate of between 20 and 30 per cent, whereas recipients open text messages 98 per cent of the time.

As with any marketing, you don’t want to bombard your intended targets; however, timely reminders that their car is due for a service can increase sales and build customer loyalty. Including your phone number makes it easy for them to call and book an appointment while you have their attention.

When combined with an intelligent email marketing campaign and social media interaction, you have a holistic approach that results in what the marketing experts call ‘nurtured leads’: customers with whom you maintain a relationship from pre-sale right through the life of the vehicle, i.e. a Dealer’s dream.

Marketing technology analyst and author, David Raab, says nurtured leads have a 23 per cent shorter sales cycle than non-nurtured leads. Email has long been the preferred method of nurturing leads, but with Deloitte research showing 88 per cent of Australians now own a smartphone, the cut-through and immediacy of text message marketing cannot be matched.

Over 90 per cent of text messages are read within the first three minutes of being received. Making use of automated marketing services allows you to easily create your own SMS marketing campaigns.

How to use text message marketing

Everyone hates a cold call, and that applies equally to cold texting. You will not get anywhere attempting to generate new leads via texting. You should, instead, target those people already determined to be marketing qualified leads. That includes current customers.

Messages can take the form of service reminders or information about new promotions and products. The key is that it needs to be relevant to the recipient, or they will unsubscribe. Organise your leads into lists – for example, those who have shown interest in used cars, or want to be kept up-to-date regarding new models, or would like to be notified of sales and specials. Aftermarket promotions could be targeted to customers who enjoy kitting their cars out with the latest accessories. A specific, personalised text informing them of something they have expressed an interest in is far more likely to hold their attention and lead to action.

Another crucial ingredient in the success of any marketing campaign is generating the leads. In order to encourage customers to opt-in to receiving text messages, you could offer free gifts or incentives such as test drives or discounts on accessories.

SMS marketing is a beneficial promotional tool that allows you to reach current and potential drivers with the sending of a simple text message. Not only do you have the opportunity to let your base know about upcoming deals or sales, but you can use text message marketing to get your name out there, increasing brand awareness while making people aware of your dealership. An SMS campaign can also invite people to text the dealership, or offer a helpful service such as car maintenance tips.

The numbers don’t lie. With such a high rate of success in being seen by customers, text message marketing should be an essential part of any marketing campaign.

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