In light of a capricious economy, consumers have had to become more judicious about their purchases in the last couple years, a trend that has affected sales in everything from retail to real estate. Recent articles in Forbes and The Wall Street Journal highlight some of the economic effects on the auto industry and point to falling numbers for new car sales in August. While the market is undoubtedly difficult right now for auto makers and dealerships, the growing trend toward mobile marketing may offer some solutions to auto companies looking for low-cost ways to increase advertising and offer-redemption. Here are some things for dealers to consider:
Mobile marketing gives dealers direct access to interested buyers.
SMS marketing, which advertises in the form of text messages to individual customers’ cell phones, is permission-based, which means the only people who receive messages are those who have proactively requested them. Dealerships can easily initiate an SMS campaign with a mobile marketer and then invite people to text a keyword in order to receive a cash-back or low-interest offer. These are the exact same offers dealers send out via newspaper and bulk mail, but when the offer is sent as a text message, the dealer is assured that only interested prospective buyers receive the message. Instead of blasting promotions to thousands of indifferent or uninterested people, SMS text marketing addresses only those in the market for a new car and who want to receive discount offers over their phones.
Mobile marketing will get people into your store.
One of the most challenging aspects of selling cars is getting the prospective buyer through the door. Once the consumer enters the store, quality vehicles and good salespeople expedite the sale. But with many local competitors all vying for the same small group of local buyers in any given month, targeting interested people and getting them into the store is tricky. If the texted offer is a good one, like zero-percent interest loans, or thousands off the price of in-stock vehicles, people already in the market for a new vehicle and checking out dealerships are likely to at least come in for a test-drive or to check out the inventory. Once they are on site, the dealer can do the rest to make the offer as attractive as possible.
Mobile coupons have higher redemption rates than print coupons.
Depending on the region, there may only be a few hundred to a few thousand people in the market for a new car in any given month. Blasting everyone in the area with flyers produces a low redemption rate. But 95% of mobile phones are equipped to receive texts, and text messages are typically opened within 4 to 15 minutes of receipt. Text messages also have a higher open/read rate than any other form of direct advertising. Buyers are far more likely to carry a mobile coupon (stored in their phone) around with them than a print flyer.
Mobile marketing builds client lists.
Even those who opt in to a campaign but do not purchase a vehicle have done something useful: they have granted permission to receive future ads and promotions. These consumers can be remarketed to later, and as long as a company does not abuse the client’s permission by oversoliciting, the client may remain on the dealer’s list and become a future buyer. In the meantime, text message marketing offers low-cost advertising directly to receptive people. Even if the customer decides to buy elsewhere, he or she may return to your dealership in the future or pass your offers on to friends.
Mobile marketing can offer a variety of solutions for driving up sales, building customer loyalty, and expanding client lists. As we wait for the economy to fully rebound, inexpensive text marketing can put a company just far enough ahead of a competitor to make a difference.