Nowadays, there are so many channels that auto shops can use to stay in touch with their customers. That makes it difficult to determine which avenues are truly worth focusing on. One of those many channels is text messaging—is it still an effective strategy?
The short answer is yes. SMS text marketing can certainly be a powerful tool to reach your auto shop customers. However, it needs to be done the right way to maximize its effect. In this article, we’re going to explore the value of texting to your auto shop, and how you can do it right. Let’s dive right in!
Numbers Don’t Lie
There’s a plethora of data proving that text messaging is one of the most effective channels to communicate with your customers. Let’s take a look at some of those numbers.
- 98% of text messages are opened which is exceptionally high in comparison to other channels. Email marketing, for example, has an open rate of 20%. That means you’re five times more likely to have your customer see your content just by sending the message via SMS text marketing.
- 95% of text messages are read and responded to within 3 minutes of being delivered. That means the chances your customer opens your text and actually reads the content are extremely high.
- 90% of consumers prefer that brands contact them through SMS text marketing over direct calls and emails.
- SMS text marketing receives a click-through-rate (CTR) of 19%. Compared to the CTR of email marketing and Facebook ads–4% and 1% respectively–it goes to show the immense conversion value that SMS text marketing brings to the table.
Now that we’ve understood the metric-based value that SMS text marketing offers your auto shop, let’s shift gears towards how you should be framing these text messages. You certainly don’t want to be sending your customers a simple “How are you?” message; that isn’t going to garner any results for your business.
Studies show that 90% of customers have gained value from SMS programs, and that 75% of customers WANT to receive special offers via text. Crafting an effective text message can be done in a variety of ways, but they all have one thing in common: you’re bringing value to the customer. Let’s explore the various types of texts you should send.
This is how a text-based loyalty program works: a customer signs up by sharing their phone number. Your auto shop then begins sending text messages to that customer with loyalty reward that incentivize consumer purchase or visitation. The more rewards the customer responds to, the more they save and the more you earn.
Loyalty programs are such an effective tool for SMS text marketing because the customer inevitably feels like they stumbled on a deal. As time goes on, the relationship between you and the consumer grows stronger, as they garner more rewards. This continuously positive cycle drives growth and retains customers over time.
As we mentioned earlier, 75% of customers want to receive special offers via text message. That’s why framing your SMS text marketing as time-sensitive promotions can really produce the results that your auto shop is aiming for.
If you want to increase your oil change sales this month, you can send out a promotional text message stating “20% off your oil change until the end of this month!” That kind of SMS text marketing incentivizes certain customer behavior and drives the results that you want to see.
SMS text messages don’t always have to be about saving money. Sometimes saving them tim and energy can be the most effective. There are so many auto repair services that should be done on a regular basis: tire rotation, oil changes, changing air filters, and so much more.
By logging when the customer last received a certain maintenance task, you can use that information to send out text reminders to your customers that it’s time for their oil change again! This saves the customer energy because, without your reminder, they would have to remember it themselves.
The Sweet Spot of Connecting
Let’s consider how often your auto shop should send out text messages to maintain the sweet spot of connecting. Sending too many messages to your customers can irritate them and make them want to unsubscribe from your list. Sending too few messages can result in a lack of engagement, even though you’ll still retain your list. So what’s the sweet spot?
There’s certainly no one-size-fits-all rule for SMS text marketing. Some companies send messages twice a day, while others do it only twice a month. A good rule of thumb is texting customers once per week, with a monthly range of 2-4 texts. This creates a balanced frequency that generates high-engagement, low-exit SMS campaigns.
When evaluating how to create messages that resonate with your customers, there are two things to keep in mind: quality and value. If your message brings both those things to the table, it’s more likely to produce the desired customer response. Let’s break down a few more factors that go into making a quality message:
Relevancy- Is your message relevant to audience interests?
Sending an oil change deal every week is unlikely to be effective, since customers only need that once every few months. However, giving deal on retail products that your auto shop sells is more likely to generate audience interest.
Timely- Is your message somehow relevant to the season?
For auto shops, sending out reminder deals is a perfect way to stay timely. If you notice a bulk of your customers needing inspections at a certain time of the year, send out a deal on inspections the week before then.
Targeting- Is your message aimed at the right customer segment?
Some auto shops have more active consumers who make more regular purchases, while other customers come in once a year. A great way to improve the quality of your text is to segment those two types of customers and send them different frequencies of messages.
Automate Where You Can
Automating the SMS text marketing process is a powerful way to transform the efficiency of your auto shop. By allocating the task of sending out text messages to software, it ensures that your campaign sticks to a consistent strategy, stays on schedule, and never forgets to send out a message. While there are a variety of solutions that will enable you to automate text messaging, it’s important to find one that allows you to not only streamline that process, but other related functions such as your loyalty program and even review solicitation.
That’s where BayIQ comes in. As former auto shop owners, we saw that marketing efforts were taking away from our ability to run our shop. That’s why we decided to solve that problem!
Our software automates everything from loyalty programs, online reviews, digital marketing, and — you guessed it — text messaging! It integrates directly into your current system to efficiently and effectively track data and monitor progress. Make growth easy with BayIQ.