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Tips For Your Body Shop SMS Program

Learn the best ways to market your auto body shop to both new and existing customers through the power of SMS.

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There are approximately 112,682 body shops in the US. Divided evenly, that’s about 2,253 shops per state. 

Layer in the added competition from the 16,682 franchised dealers/repair centers around the country, and you can start to see why savvy marketing is necessary to set your body shop apart from the competition. 

But knowing when, where, and how often to reach your customers can be tricky when your services range from one-off repairs to regularly scheduled maintenance.

The answer? SMS text messaging. 

With average open rates as high as 98%, the ability to text 1-on-1 with customers, and engagement rates eight times higher than email, it’s the perfect communication platform for every type of customer.

How Your Body Shop Can Use SMS

Almost everyone has a cellphone, and now more than ever people are accustomed to communicating with businesses over text. 

We surveyed hundreds of folks in our 2020 SMS Marketing Report and found that 66% of consumers either prefer mobile messaging or consider it their second choice for communications when compared to phone and email.

When it comes to what consumers like to receive from businesses, it ranges from customer support to deals and promotions. 

What does that mean for your body shop? 

Well, for the short answer, it means there’s no limit to what you can use texting to do with your customers!

Here are some examples of just a few of the ways your business could utilize text messages to reach more customers. 

Appointment Reminders

Did you know businesses with over $120,000 yearly revenue can lose over $26,000 each year due to missed appointments? Help dramatically cut down on no shows by sending text reminders to customers before upcoming appointments. 

Hey Ricky! Just a reminder you have an appointment scheduled for tomorrow at 10:30 at Pep Boys on 1200 South Boulevard. Please reply with C to confirm!

Deals and Discounts

Drive new and old business with a deal too good to pass up. 96% of American consumers use coupons, according to RetailMeNot, so capitalize on the holidays, annual inspections, and other landmark occasions to encourage customers to bring their business to your body shop. 

Snow tire season is almost here, are your wheels prepared for the first frost? Come into Ludo’s Body Shop all of November for $50 off snow tires!

Share Tips and Reminders

Sometimes a sales strategy doesn’t have to be as direct as a discount. Sharing regular car care tips can be a great way to keep your contacts engaged with your messages and keep you top of mind for their next repair. 

Did you know that maintaining correct tire pressure can boost your fuel efficiency by 10%? Check your tires regularly to ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck 💸🚗

Answer Customer Questions

Triage support requests to deliver a great customer experience before a guest even walks through the door. Let your customers know they can text you any time with questions before bringing their car in for service—a major competitive edge many body shops don’t offer!

Hi! Do you guys do windshield replacements? If so how much does it cost?
Hello, we sure do! For parts and labor, it’ll generally run you $250!

Generate Ratings and Reviews

72% of consumers say positive reviews make them trust a local business more. It’s crucial to gather this feedback from customers if you want your body shop to stand out in a Google search. Because texting is so hard to ignore and has such high engagement rates, it’s the perfect space to request a quick bit of feedback. 

Tanya, thanks for visiting us at Anchorage Auto. If you could take 2 minutes to leave us a rating or review on Google it would help our business tremendously!

Body Shop SMS Best Practice

Now that you have some inspiration for the types of messages you may send, here are some tips to ensure you’re texting as efficiently as possible. 

Growing Your List

The first step for any text marketer is to gather subscribers or contacts. If you already have the phone numbers of customers who have given you permission to text them, great! You can upload those directly into our platform. 

If not, here are a few things you can do to start getting customers signed up as quickly as possible. 

  • Give your customers as many ways to subscribe as possible. This includes web forms, mobile sign-up widgets, click-to-text buttons, and keywords
  • Include a checkbox on your registration page. Be sure to include a checkbox indicating permission to text wherever you collect customer information. 
  • Include your keyword on in-shop signage. A keyword is a short word or phrase that, when texted in to your number, signs customers up to receive your messages. Be sure to include posters with your keyword and phone number on signs across your waiting area for ultimate visibility. 
  • Make sure your business cards say call or text. A simple change you can make to encourage customers to text in their questions is to include “call or text” next to your phone number on your business cards.  

Writing Your Messages

Now that you’ve grown your list, you’ll need to start sending messages your subscribers will actually want to read. Here are some ways you can boost your chances. 

  • Include photos. In a study we conducted, we found that text messages including photos had a 52% higher CTR!
  • Always have a call to action. The best messages always inspire action. More specifically, an action customers can take right away while they’re still on their phone. Be sure to end your messages with something actionable like schedule an appointment, claim this reward, read this blog, write a review, etc. 
  • If sending links, utilize our URL shortener. Our URL shortener not only saves you valuable character space by shortening your links, it also unlocks a world of data for your messages. For example, shortened URLs can track click-through rates and create new segments of contacts based on click behavior!

Sending Messages

There are a few more things you can do to give your message the best shot at converting into action. 

  • Keep it within reasonable business hours. Just as you want your messages to be actionable, you want to be sure you send them during a time when it’s possible for customers to read them ASAP. This means avoiding messages outside of business hours and not during traditional rush hour when people won’t have access to their phones. 
  • Limit message frequency. The TCPA requires you to send a compliance message when a subscriber opts in to receive marketing messages. This message includes an estimated frequency telling subscribers how often they can expect to hear from your business each month. Do your best to stay as close to that limit as possible to be both respectful and within the law. 

As you can plainly see, auto body text marketing isn’t about reinventing the wheel. It’s a simple, no-fuss solution that allows you to reach your customers where they’re spending the most time already—on their phones!

So, if your body shop is looking to:

  • Reduce no shows
  • Encourage new customers to trust your business
  • Inspire more return customers 
  • Seamlessly communicate with customers and employees alike

You may consider giving texting a try! Your first 14 days are always on us, no credit cards or contracts required. Set your body shop up with SMS today!

Meghan Tocci
Meghan Tocci

Meghan Tocci is a content strategist at SimpleTexting. When she’s not writing about SaaS, she’s trying to teach her puppy Lou how to code. So far, not so good.

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