In recent blog posts we’ve answered a variety of technical issues to identify as you go about setting up a mobile marketing program for your dealership. SMS, apps, kiosks, using short codes instead of long codes and choosing a reputable mobile service provider are a few of the things you must address when implementing your mobile strategy. But now you’re faced with the responsibility of what to say to your loyal customers once they opt in to your mobile club. Maybe this blog post will help prevent you from getting stage fright.
A well-crafted message can be critical to the outcome of your strategy. The language in the message, as well as the timeliness of it, is important to determine before you begin. Below are seven simple rules to follow when you’re sending a text alert via SMS or push notification on an app. And could even apply to some of your social media channels, since you now know well over half of your customers engage with you there on their mobile phone.
1. Who are you? This is number one on the list for a reason! Far too often I see messages touting a sale or change in store hours due to weather or other important information, but nowhere is the name of who is sending me the message listed. Don’t assume your customers are getting messages just from you. Reinforce your brand as often as possible!
2. When to send. I’m constantly asked by new dealerships when is the best time to send a message? This can depend on the message content. Obviously if it’s time sensitive, you should send when it gives your customer the most time possible to act. If it’s an event on a Saturday, send the message on Thursday. Not too far out but not at the last minute. Your customers appreciate a little time to plan. This also gives you an opportunity to send an additional message, if need be, the day of the event. Maybe you had to cancel the band, or you have something extra on sale. Your customers won’t feel bombarded by messages because you waited till the last minute to message them.
3. Think about yourself. Marketing is not rocket science. If we all stopped for just a moment and considered the marketing messages we respond to or resonate with us to drive us to act, we’ve accomplished half the battle. Treat your customers like you want to be treated. If the message you’re sending doesn’t interest you, the chances are it won’t interest your customer either.
4. Mix it up. We all get into bad habits or ruts from time to time. Don’t let your mobile marketing fall prey to this. You are taking valuable time away from your customers, who will stop what they are doing to read your message. So make sure what you’re saying is something new and different. Don’t send the same message every week and only change the date. Customers know you have a bike event every Thursday night or every Saturday. But what about this week’s event is different? Give them a reason to come visit you every week.
5. Ease up on the lingo. If you text often you probably know what LOL, TTYL and OMG means. If you don’t know, I wouldn’t worry; I doubt your customers know what they mean either. So play it safe, and don’t talk to them like they are a 13 year old girl. If you’re trying to entice your customer to come spend his/her hard earned money, be respectful and professional. Your dealership may have a laidback vibe, but there’s a line you don’t want to cross that will just make your customer roll their eyes and not want to come shop.
6. Give them more. A simple message through texting or an app is sometimes not enough. And more often than not your customer is left wanting more. Add elements to your message that enriche the experience. If you’re telling them about a hot new bike, add a link to a video clip about it in your message. If you have a sale on accessories, send them a photo of what’s on sale. You had a big event recently and posted all the pics on Facebook, so add a link to the album, so customers don’t have to hunt for them. Always be mindful that they are loyal to you and appreciate when you share more.
7. Call to action. This could be the most important tip of all. Don’t just push out a message that lies there like a dead fish wrapped in newspaper. Your message needs to be alive and energetic and always direct your customers to what you want them to do. Want more service appointments? List your phone number in your message, and tell the customer to CALL TO BOOK APPOINTMENT. Seems pretty obvious right? Well, not everyone thinks about these things. Want them to like you on Facebook. Give them the direct to your page. You seriously think they are going to stop what they are doing and search for you? Ask them their opinion, and do a short survey via texting, and use the responses to better your dealership. Customers love to tell you what they think. So let them. Ultimately, if you don’t have a measurable call to action, how do you know if the message even worked?
Hopefully these tips can give you ideas and direction on how to be better at talking with your customers via mobile. It’s not like talking face-to-face, but it’s very personal and should be treated as such.
Ron Cariker is owner/president of 7 Media Group, a diverse mobile marketing firm based in the U.S. and the leading mobile provider for the powersports industry. Ron and his company have worked with over 100 dealers across the U.S. for the past 6 1/2 years. He speaks extensively across the U.S. and internationally about the mobile industry and mobile education. Ron also formed a partner company called Ready2Ride exclusively for the powersports industry. This new mobile solution combines SMS, mobile application, mobile web, analytics and much more.