You’ve heard it a million times, but today’s consumers now expect shopping experiences that are instant and on their own time. That means lead form engagement is down (“you’re gonna call me back when you’re ready?”) and phobias of answering phone calls from unknown numbers are on the rise (“ah! 😱”).
As a result, the daily usage of texting and messaging apps is sky-rocketing — and not just for sending emojis, Bitmojis, and animojis with friends. Shoppers prefer messaging businesses too because it’s instant, low-pressure, and they can respond on their terms — like during a commercial of The Bachelor.
DID YOU KNOW: 80% of consumers would rather text with a business than engage with an email or phone call.
*ZipWhip U.S. Survey, Fall 2018
And this isn’t just about what’s best for the consumer — text leads are some of the best kind of leads you can get because:
- you know you’re acquiring their real phone number
- they’re engaged with you in the moment, so you can answer questions and quickly move them towards a buying decision
- you’ve opened up a direct line of communication (the text thread) that can be revisited by either side at any time
So, between it being one of the best lead types for your dealership, and it being the way that 4 of 5 shoppers want to connect, it’s critical that your team starts swapping text bubbles with customers on your website, from your marketing campaigns, and even in your dealership — but how?
THE MAGIC NUMBER
The most effective technologies are usually the most simple, and this one is really simple.
When we first built Conversations™ — what is now our 24/7 omnichannel messaging platform with A.I. — one of our first features was to give a unique SMS number to every dealership. Shoppers can text this number and those messages seamlessly route into Conversations™ where your team (or our Managed Chat team) can effortlessly respond, just like they would any web chat.
There are no technology integrations or process changes you need to implement before you can start texting with your customers, you just need to put that number in places people will find it. So yeah, it’s that simple, and that ability to include this number anywhere is its most powerful advantage.
Out of the unlimited ways you can incorporate texting into your business — here are five to get you started!
1. OPTIMIZE YOUR MOBILE WEBSITE CTAs
On the Dealer Inspire platform we can code your traditional page-based CTAs to launch web chats on desktop and texts on mobile, making it easier for shoppers to connect, get answers, and provide their real phone number with one tap. We’ve found that consumers are 47% more likely to provide leads in this instant, friendly interface than traditional submit-and-wait lead forms!
AND REMEMBER: If responding to all these texts feels like a lot work, many of these CTAs can be automatically answered by Ana Bot, our A.I. chat bot — and all the rest can be routed to our 24/7 Managed Chat team.
2. TALK TO CARS
Text with customers through their infotainment systems when they need you most — on the road with a service question. Just have your new customers add your SMS number to their phone (which will sync with their car’s ApplePlay or Android Auto) and they’ll be able to easily voice text you through their infotainment system to schedule service appointments and ask questions.
3. ADD SMS TO YOUR DIRECT MAIL
Direct mail is a big investment, so anything you can do to increase (and attribute) the ROI of a campaign can make a big difference to your bottom line. By adding your SMS number to your traditional creative you can increase the likelihood that shoppers will redeem the offer by making it instant, easier, and on their terms through texting (instead of having to call, visit a specific URL, or drop by your store). Just like that, you can connect in-the moment with consumers at their mailbox and get two-way digital engagement out of a piece of paper.
4. GET TV TEXTS
Just like direct mail, adding your SMS number to your television commercials can drive real-time engagement from a channel that’s traditionally only meant for brand awareness. With a strong hook and a prominent graphic for your number, you can start talking to the audience watching your commercials in real-time.
5. SEND SERVICE UPDATES
Building a customer’s trust is crucial to maintaining a high customer retention rate and keeping your service bay busy. Transparency and communication are two of the main ways you can build customer’s trust, and with Conversations™ your service advisors can easily send updates for the kind of transparency, communication, and convenience that will generate good reviews and repeat business . While our other strategies are just about receiving texts from marketing campaigns, this Outbound Texting feature allows your team to initiate texts with customers in your contact list, and opening this line of communication can help drive efficiency and revenue per repair order.
INFINITE POSSIBILITIES AT NO EXTRA COST
Your magic number and all the places it can go comes included with your Conversations™ account, so there’s nothing to lose in testing out a few strategies that start text threads with your customers. Give us a chat if you have any questions!