Aust & NZ
28th Jul 2015

SMS Marketing - A look at Pentana Solutions’ SMSLink

The retail industry is considered to be one of the biggest users of SMS to drive sales, engage customers and help recruit new ones.

Due to the explosive uptake of mobile phones in recent years, SMS has become part of a marketer’s arsenal. With SMS, Dealer Principals, Service and Sales managers, have the ability to reach direct customers with personal messages, discounts offers and another call to actions driving prospects back to the dealership or website.

However, those dealers with a mobile responsive website can reap the full benefits of SMS marketing due to the explosive uptake of mobile devices and Google algorithm changes, having a responsive website is no longer an option but a necessity. Dealers who want to succeed in the digital domain must provide an enjoyable online experience as more people use their smartphones to browse the internet than their tablet or personal computers.

Let’s put this in perspective, based on trends and statistics dealers can begin to justify the move towards upgrading to a responsive website and usage of digital tools such as SMS. StatCounter browser statistics revealed that between January and March 2014, mobile browsing (specifically iOS, Android and IE Mobile browsers) accounted for 15 percent of total Internet browser usage in Australia. In 2013, usage in that same period was only 11.85 percent. Digital agency yum.com, estimates that in 2015, one out of five website users in Australia will browse on a mobile.

Customer loyalty is a process. It’s imperative to foster a feeling of trust from inception, however, tempting as it may be to jump on the digital bandwagon one must have a good plan and a clear strategy in place. SMS is just a marketing tool but with the right strategy SMS can help dealers attain the results they are after.

Having a digital road to sales is key! Fortunately, dealers have many resources at their disposal to including Pentana Solutions’ CRM consulting services. The Pentana Solutions’ CRM consultants are the automotive specialists, proficient at planning the best car buyer journey from the outset, assisting dealers through the CRM process (Acquisition, Retention and Recovery). Dealers also have the opportunity to access other tools to facilitate their CRM strategy to include the Pentana Solutions CRM contact centre, DealerSocket CRM software and SMSLink.

Mobile dealership usage and SMS marketing.

The image below shows mobile use in a dealership and the statistics validate why SMS text messaging is an effective channel to engage.

(source: Placed, Inc. and Cars.com, January 2014)
(source: Placed, Inc. and Cars.com, January 2014)
  • SMS campaigns have over seven times greater performance than email campaigns (Source: Jacobs & Clevenger)
  • 98 percent of text messages are read – compared to 22 percent emails, 29 percent tweets, and 12 percent Facebook pots (Source: Frost & Sullivan 2010)

Pentana Solutions’ SMSLink

SMSLink is fully integrated into Pentana Solutions dealer management systems including eraPower, DealerPRO and Nova. Through SMSLink, dealers have the opportunity to keep ‘top of mind’, maintain a history of all customer communications.

How to implement a digital messaging strategy?

Dealers should consider SMSLink in their marketing mix because it has been proven to cut through advertising noise. Studies have also shown that most text messages are read within minutes and conversations can take place instantly. By integrating with Pentana Solutions’ DMSs, dealers can access their data and easily create custom messaging. Unlike other SMS marketing tools, the clean integration helps dealers save precious time, particularly when the message is time sensitive.

Let us offer a word of advice when using SMSLink – create customer segments. With meaningful segmentation, dealers can personalise the communication and improve response across all CRM stages.

A few ways for dealers to realise value from Pentana Solutions’ SMSLink.

Use Pentana Solutions’ SMSLink as part of the CRM acquisition stage.

Showroom:

  • Bulk SMS to promote an upcoming weekend ‘Sale’ event.

SMS: “Exclusive event. Great Deals. SMS, ‘Yes’ to attend & test new models.”

  • Moreover, if a prospect departs the dealership without making a commitment, dealers can re-engage with the prospect by forwarding an SMS based on vehicles model(s) enquiries. The SMS message could offer a hook to bring them back into the dealership. A call to action message could read.

SMS: “You can drive (car model name or image) for $400 pw – SMS, ‘Yes’ for more info.”

Service Department:

  • Increase revenue opportunities, around key calendar events for the Easter and Christmas holiday periods. Text messaging creates a sense of urgency prompting customers to ‘Service’ their vehicles prior to embarking on their holiday travels.

SMS: “Keep your family safe, SMS, ‘SAFETY’ to book the ultimate travel vehicle service.”

By having customers reply with the word ‘SAFETY’, service managers can track the success of their SMS campaign, and segment customers for add-on sale opportunities.

Use Pentana Solutions’ SMSLink as part of the CRM retention stage

Marketing is about adding value, use SMSLink to deliver value add to your customers, however, keep the message short and simple with a strong call to action.

Showroom:

  • Use SMSlink to inform customers of new car models, online offers, dealerships information, order confirmation and vehicle delivery.

SMS: “VIP Night, limited executive models have arrived, SMS ‘Private’ for the ultimate experience.”

Service Department:

  • Service managers, use SMSLink for service reminders and special offers to create a sense of urgency.

SMS: “10,000 km service up next week, SMS ‘Early Bird’ to book & receive a discount.”

Use Pentana Solutions’ SMSLink as part of CRM recovery stage

Showroom:

  • When an engaged prospect failed to commit, time if of the essence. Use SMSLink to re-engage and leverage from your other marketing efforts before it’s too late.

Follow your SMSLink message with a phone call to invite prospects back in the dealership and ascertain the prospects reasons for not committing.

SMS: “Get extended warranty + test new vehicle options, SMS, ‘Visit’ dealership to book a weekend test drive today”.

Service Department:

  • Use SMSLink to win back lost customers. Using the loss leader approach, Service managers can offer an alternative service on top of their standard service.

SMS: “Book for an oil change and get 15% off - 10,000 km service – Text ‘Service’ to book”.


Takeaways

SMS can help dealers engage with customers, retain brand awareness levels, increase dealership and website traffic, and help maximise conversion rates through customer added value messages. What it is not, is a silver bullet or a license for mobile spamming.

Dealers should update to responsive websites to gain the most of their digital marketing and mobile initiatives. Users of Pentana Solutions dealer management systems, DealerPro, ERAnet and Nova can seamlessly integrate SMSLink and take advantage of SMS marketing. Pentana Solutions’ SMSLink can be remotely installed avoiding any disruption to the dealership.

Since August 2014, Pentana Solutons’ SMSLink has changed and transformed the way dealers do business. It is a stable, reliable and scalable product with hundreds of thousands of dealers across ANZ using the service to drive sales.

Where to from here?

If you require assistance in constructing the ultimate customer journey and develop CRM strategies, then contact the Pentana Solutions’ CRM Consulting. If you are ready to track your customers and have complete visibility of their activities, contact us for a CRM DealerSocket presentation. Alternately, if you are prepared to add SMS marketing to your arsenal, contact us for your SMSLink installation today.