Guide to Text Message Marketing for Car Dealerships

Two people, young salesman talking with senior male buyer at the car dealership store.

Car shoppers’ buying habits have changed drastically in today’s digitally-focused world. Gone are the days when a flashy TV commercial or roadside billboard alone could convince someone to visit your dealership lot. According to a recent study, over 80% of consumers research vehicle purchases online before ever stepping foot on a sales floor. To stay competitive in this new landscape, dealerships need innovative strategies to effectively engage customers throughout their journey – from initial interest to final purchase. 

One powerful yet often overlooked tactic is text message marketing. When done right, texting allows you to reach buyers on their most personal devices at just the right moments to provide helpful information, strengthen relationships, and ultimately get butts in seats at your dealership. This guide will walk you through best practices for a texting program tailored to your unique business goals and customers.

The Benefits of Texting for Car Dealerships

As the automobile industry continues to evolve, it is becoming clear that reaching out to potential customers through their mobile devices is crucial for success. Text message marketing for car dealerships, in particular, is an effective tool to attract and engage customers. Texting allows for a more personal and direct approach and real-time communication that can help establish a lasting relationship with customers. 

Using text message marketing, car dealerships can inform their customers of current offers and promotions, schedule service appointments, and even provide helpful car maintenance tips. Ultimately, implementing text message marketing will increase customer satisfaction and boost overall sales and revenue for car dealerships.

Setting Up the Right Texting Platform

Before embarking on text message marketing for car dealerships, having the right platform in place is crucial. With numerous texting software options available, finding one specifically tailored for the automotive industry is essential. Look for a platform that offers the basic features and provides advanced functionalities such as keyword campaigns, automated responses, and contact management tools. These features will enable you to create highly personalized messages and effectively target specific groups of customers.

Moreover, ensure the chosen platform is compliant with TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act). This law mandates that customers have given prior express consent to receive text messages from your dealership and outlines specific rules regarding texting frequency and opt-out options. By ensuring compliance with TCPA regulations, you protect your customers’ rights and safeguard your dealership from potential fines and penalties.

Make Texts Interactive with Calls-to-Action

Once you have the right platform, it’s time to start crafting engaging texts for your customers. It’s essential to remember that different buyers will be at various stages of the sales funnel and, therefore, require different messages.

For example, someone who has just started researching vehicles may benefit from receiving informative texts about the latest models and features available at your dealership. On the other hand, someone who has already visited your lot and test-drive a vehicle may be more interested in receiving special offers or personalized follow-up messages.

To effectively engage customers at each stage of the funnel, use interactive calls-to-action (CTAs) in your texts. These can include links to schedule a test drive, request a quote, or even apply for financing. By making it easy for customers to take the next step, you increase the chances of converting their interest into a sale.

Staying Compliant with Regulations

Car dealerships must follow TCPA regulations when implementing a text message marketing program. It protects your dealership from potential legal issues and ensures customers have a positive experience with your brand. One way to stay compliant is by obtaining customers’ written consent before sending texts. It can be done through opt-in forms on your website, in-person sign-ups at the dealership, or even through a simple text message opt-in campaign.

Additionally, it’s essential to respect customers’ preferences regarding texting frequency. Some prefer daily updates, while others only want to receive messages occasionally. A good rule of thumb is to send no more than two texts per week and always provide an easy way for customers to opt out of receiving further messages.

Driving Real Results with Data and Testing

To truly gauge the impact of your text message marketing efforts, it’s essential to track and analyze data related to your campaigns meticulously. It can include metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates, providing you with valuable insights into the effectiveness of your messaging.

By regularly reviewing this data, you can identify which tactics yield favorable results and make the necessary adjustments to optimize your campaigns. This continuous improvement process allows you to refine your messaging strategy, ensuring you deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time.

One effective technique to further enhance your texting strategy is through A/B testing. It involves sending two text versions to a small group of customers, allowing you to compare and analyze which receives a better response. By constantly testing and refining your texts, you can increase engagement, improve customer satisfaction, and drive more sales for your dealership.


In today’s digital age, car dealerships must adapt and embrace new tactics like text message marketing to reach and engage potential customers. By choosing the right platform, crafting personalized texts for each stage of the funnel, staying compliant with regulations, and constantly testing and analyzing data, car dealerships can drive accurate results and stand out in a competitive market.

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