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Why your dealership can’t afford to ignore SMS marketing

Posted by Ashley Karr on March 27, 2018

The numbers don’t lie — mobile is increasing conversions earlier in the car buyer journey

With statistics showing that 39% of auto-related mobile searches in Canada convert to positive actions like store visits, downloads, and other types of connections, and an even more impressive 80% of those conversions happening within an hour of the original search, it’s clear that mobile is shaping how successful dealerships are.

While brick and mortar discussions in the showroom are still key in convincing a customer to pull the trigger on their car purchase, getting them to the dealership in the first place is where your mobile marketing strategy is more important than ever.

There are multiple options for reaching mobile-first customers, including mobile-only display advertising, social media, and more. Yet it’s simple text message marketing through short message service (SMS) that remains one of the most effective, especially when you know how your customers behave.

What you need to know about Canadians and their mobile behaviour

To understand why text messages should be part of your mobile marketing strategy, it helps to understand Canadians’ mobile usage patterns:

Equally important is understanding how mobile impacts shoppers’ decisions based on where they are in the buying lifecycle.

  • Mobile research: Canadians are increasingly using mobile when it comes to researching their next purchase. For auto dealers, this is especially key: Google Canada found that 39% of searches around auto-related mobile searches result in conversion.
  • Peer reviews: When making any kind of decision, mobile buyers look to reviews for validation of a business. According to a survey we ran, 61% of our shoppers tell us they always read reviews before contacting a dealership.
  • Dealership engagement: Another key factor for mobile buyers is how businesses interact with customers. Take the importance of responding to bad reviews, for example: the share of review readers who pay attention to how businesses respond to reviews rose from 20% in 2016 to 30% in 2017, almost the same share as those who pay attention to the sentiment of the reviews themselves.

When a potential car buyer is making a decision about which dealership to visit, your presence and activity on mobile plays a key factor.

How your dealership can take advantage

The benefits of providing consumers the ability to text leads to your dealership instead of email or call are numerous—including creating an instant one-to-one connection with your buyer and connecting with them in their preferred channel of communication.

Understanding the mobile behaviour of Canadian car buyers will help define what your campaign looks like.

  • Automated text response from an ad: According to Facebook, 39% of car buyers remembered seeing an ad for a car on Facebook via their mobile phone. Use a call-to-action where a buyer can text your dealership for more information, or to book a test drive, through automated SMS software to start the conversion process.
  • Location-based SMS ads: Using a feature called geo-fencing, where phones are recognized by the location their signal is being transmitted from, allows for location-based SMS ads. Use this type of tool to provide targeted and relevant ads that can be followed by specific text messages based on how close a consumer is to your dealership.
  • Building a mobile-first database of new and existing customers: Your dealership already uses a customer database to offer promotions, special offers, and more. Build the equivalent with a text-driven database for mobile-exclusive offers and events to increase your dealership’s conversion rate.

Do it right, though. Canada’s Anti-Spam Law requires that all commercial electronic messages include a way to opt out of future messages. On top of that, flooding a shopper’s phone with texts is just bad marketing. So keep it reasonable and legal with low frequencies and opt-out links.

A successful business knows that using multiple forms of marketing and advertising increases the likelihood of building awareness that, in turn, builds conversion.

With the Canadian car buyer, these conversions are increasingly being created on mobile.

Text lead marketing offers a simple, cost-effective way to get your dealership in front of your buyers online. Don’t waste the opportunity.


Topics: advice, tips and tricks