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SMS marketing for car dealerships

Learn how to increase your sales, get more showroom and service appointments, and more with text message marketing.

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The world of car dealership marketing is a revolving door of lifelong, loyal customers and new incoming leads. Energy and resources are balanced equally between these two audiences presenting unique marketing challenges. Or, as we like to think of them, marketing opportunities.

The simple decision to text-enable your dealership presents you with a collection of time-saving, customer-preferred tools sure to make your dealership a preferred destination for all customers.

Benefits of auto dealership SMS marketing

Customer. Convenience.

It’s the name of the game when it comes to dealerships. You’re all about creating an environment that serves and anticipates customer needs. And no tool does that better than SMS. Here are just a few of the ways texting can create optimum customer experiences across your dealership.

Automated client engagement & infolines
Around 46% of car buyers want to hear from their dealership after a purchase. Keeping up with that demand for information can be tough for salespeople to manage.

With tools like scheduled texts, autoresponders, and templates you can ensure all the essential information is sent to your customers directly. They’ll also be able to reach you via text with your automated messages reaching them without a second thought required on your end.

Encourage sales through text offers
Toeing the line between encouraging and pushing can be difficult with high-value purchases like cars. Texts are just personal enough, but they deliver the value of space that customers want throughout the decision-making process. You have the advantage of staying top of mind without customers feeling like you’re on top of them.

You can also utilize tools like keywords to automatically deliver discount codes to eligible customers who may be on the fence!

Service promotions
Not only are you competing with other dealerships for sales, but you’re up against local mechanic shops when it comes to car servicing. By automatically sending service reminder texts and promotions to customers (scheduled out after they make a purchase) you drastically increase the chances of them returning to you for work done based on sheer convenience!

No more phone tag
A distinct benefit of SMS is that customers can contact you on their terms. Phone calls are becoming more and more of a hassle for consumers on the go. But by allowing folks to shoot you a quick text you can avoid time-wasting back-and-forth and increase your conversion rates in the process.

Manage all your services
Thanks to tools like multiple-user access, one texting platform can be utilized by all of your salespeople, service providers, and billing agents. Stay organized across your dealership, all from one handy location.

Sample text messages for car dealerships

Let’s put some of those benefits into context with these real-world sample text messages your dealership could be sending. Check out the ones below, and try our free SMS template generator for more ideas.

Scheduling & appointment messages

Use SMS as a quick and convenient way to create appointment reminders or confirmations. You can choose to schedule these messages in advance or text a specific customer 1-on-1 and in the moment. Either way, these text-based scheduling options can cut down on missed appointments and provide valuable, non-sales-related touch points between you and your customer.

Hello Andrea! Ray for Hendrick Honda here. I wanted to send you a friendly reminder that you’re due for an oil change! Hope the CRV is still driving well, let me know if you need anything 😄.

Information requests

With SimpleTexting, you can have an unlimited number of keywords. This makes it easy to create a unique one for each make and model of your car as well as customer FAQs. Simply create a keyword and series of triggers that automatically answer any questions a customer may have about a vehicle or service.

You can automate your responses or simply log in to your dashboard and manually respond to your inquiries. Either way, you’ll have customer information stored with intel like the kind of purchase they’d like to make. You can go on to use that information for sales and promotions down the line!

Kia Forte
Hi, I’m Peter! Thanks for your interest in a new or used Camry. Can I answer any questions for you today?
Do you have Camry’s with Apple Play?
Yes we do! Are you interested in a test drive?

Maintenance tips

Another great, non-sales-related touch point you can have with customers is the occasional tip or tool text! Let your customers know you’re thinking of them with helpful resources directly from you, the car care experts.

The first real ❄️ of the season is expected tomorrow. The team at Howell Auto wants to remind you to put your snow tires on! Tip- if the temp is consistently below 50 degrees, it’s time to install your tires.

Sales lead generation

A great way to drum up enthusiasm for new or restocked products is by sending out a text blast! You can categorize your contacts based on expressed interests and past purchases in order to make sure they’re getting the most relevant and targeted information!

Image for sending MMS
The new Tesla Model S has arrived! Text our showroom by replying to this message and we’ll deliver the car directly to you for a test drive!

Instant follow-up

Do you use Facebook ads to find leads? Now you can follow up with potential customers by text without any extra work. Combine Zapier, SimpleTexting, and Facebook Lead Ads to generate and nurture leads.

Hi Nick, this is Alberto from Palm Beach Honda. Thanks for filling out our Facebook form! Do you want to schedule a test drive this weekend?

Payment reminders

For your customers who have financing plans, you’ll want to ensure there’s a system in place to make sure you receive all your payments on time. Nobody likes a late fee after all! By automating text reminders for upcoming due dates, you’ll create a win-win for both parties.

Hello Craig, just a friendly reminder that your next payment of $440 is due on Monday. You can mail a check or submit it online:

Service & satisfaction surveys

It’s important to collect customer feedback in order to keep delivering the kind of service that keeps people around. By texting out links to surveys, setting up Text-to-Vote Surveys, or polling your existing contacts, you give yourself plenty of options to receive feedback. Texts have a response rate [7.5 times higher than email]( Additionally, they receive responses 60% faster than other forms of digital communication. The perfect recipe for receiving feedback.

Rebecca, could you please take 2 mins to fill out this survey about your recent trip to Monroe Nissan? Text back “done” to receive a link to a car wash coupon!
Here’s your coupon!

Recall alerts

Although we’d like to avoid them, when recalls happen they can be a huge headache for your dealership. It’s essential that information about the recall is disseminated quickly, for both safety and legal reasons. With texting, you can share relevant recall information with hundreds in an instant. Additionally, you can easily schedule appointments to have the service taken care of reducing customer headaches as well.

Ferb, there has been a recall issued for the gear shift in your 2012 CR-Z. We emailed you the full recall report, but wanted you to know right away. Click this link to schedule your complimentary repair: We are so sorry for the inconvenience. Please reply with any questions.

Field service questions

Not every car issue warrants a trip to the dealership. Your customers will appreciate the convenience of the ability to chat in real time with a service expert to try and solve their problems remotely.

Hello. I can’t get my window to roll up. HELP!
Hi, Rick from service here. Can you check the switch above the window control to see if it’s in the “lock” setting?
OMG, it was 😅 thank you!

Car dealership text marketing case studies

Our client, The Road Code, started a text-based lead generation system to differentiate themselves from competitors and win dealership clients. The company now gets approx. 70% of its business from the SMS product, and they’re also seeing around a 20% close rate with new customers!

A study conducted by Text to Drive followed a Hawkinson Nissan text marketing program over seven months. In less than a year the dealership did $168,000 in additional service business after texting out one coupon for oil and filter changes to approx. 2,400 customers. The dealership also experienced a 38% increase in recommended repair approvals from customers who previously declined the work

How to get your car dealership started with text marketing

If all of this sounds pretty good, you’ll be pleased to find out that getting your dealership set up with text marketing is the easy part. We can break it down for you in just four steps.

1. Select a number

The chances are you already have a main phone number listed for your dealership. And it’s probably everywhere (business cards, Google, advertisements). The good news is, you don’t have to change it!

One of our onboarding team members can work with you to text-enable your existing voice number. You also have the option to register a new local number, choose and verify a toll-free number unique to your dealership, or take on a custom 6-digit short code.

2. Create keywords

Keywords are an easy way for customers to find you and subscribe to your messages! As we already mentioned, every paid SimpleTexting account has access to unlimited keywords.

You’ll want to go ahead and create one unique to your dealership in general (ex: HendrickHonda or CharlotteHonda) and perhaps additional ones for your service, billing, and rental departments. Your keyword confirmation, which can be an SMS or MMS message, also gives you a great opportunity to welcome new contacts right off the bat!

3. Add sign up forms to your website

Another simple way to get more folks signed up for your text messages is by adding a sign-up form to your website. This is the space where most people visit to find out information, so create a pop-up for each viewer to share their mobile number in order to receive exclusive updates and information.

If your web developers are busy there’s no need to worry. We already made the code for you, all you need to do is copy and paste it onto your website for an instant sign-up form!

4. Advertise your new texting abilities

The most important part of your text marketing program is the process of informing your customers that you have one! Be sure to update all your signage, web material, and advertisements with text-related calls to action.

Update your sales paperwork to include a check box where customers can indicate their interest in receiving deals and service reminders for their new car. Anywhere you can make your number and keywords visible, do so! The results will begin to speak for themselves.

FAQs for car dealership text marketing

Available on plans of $549/mo or higher, we’ll build the automations and integrations that your dealership requires! If you need a tool that syncs with your CRM or another piece of software to send smart texts, we can help! Talk to our specialists and let us know what you need!
The best part about text marketing is the versatility. You can use it as a tool to text one person directly, or thousands of folks all at once. Many people do both, your dealership will be no different. You can use the platform both ways to communicate with customers based on your needs.
Texting is a great communication tool, and it can work even better when combined with your existing tools. To help you get the most use out of our service, we integrated with Zapier. This allows you to connect your text marketing with 1,000+ other business tools (including the email marketing or chat bots you may already use). Think of it like a turbo charge!
You can view all of our pricing options here. You can choose to pay annually or monthly for your service. Our pricing is tired based on volume. The more texts you plan on sending, the higher the cost. Pretty simple! You purchase “credits” with your money, which equate to texts. Traditional SMS messages cost 1 credit to send while MMS messages (photos, videos, etc.) cost 3 credits. And, as always, all incoming messages are free of charge.
Yes they can! Customers can be the first the reach out either through a keyword or by texting your number directly with their message.
Every SimpleTexting customer has access to an “Analytics” tab on their dashboard. This space is filled with everything you need to know about your messages, including number of messages delivered, opened, and more!

Texting is one of the only tools that allow you to truly follow your customer out of the showroom, past their purchase into service, and all the way through the lifecycle of their vehicle. It’s a tool truly built with customer loyalty in mind.

For one last tangible takeaway, we’ll share a final tidbit from the same Hawkinson Nissan case study in the introduction. Through texting service reminders alone, they generated $6,643/mo in additional revenue, on average, per dealership. And that’s just one of the use cases we demo’d above. Check out our on-demand webinar, 3 SMS Campaigns to Convert Prospects Into Customers, for more examples.

It’s not always about the money, but let’s face it. With an investment of pennies per message, you can’t beat that kind of ROI.