Car Dealership Text Messaging Options + Free Templates
Kyle Kuczynski
Kyle Kuczynski
MessageDesk Co-Founder & CMO
Updated: Jul 25, 2022

Learn About SMS for Car Dealerships and Dealership Texting Software + Free Templates

How dealerships reach potential car buyers has become more complicated.

The pandemic changed car sales and buying habits with the need for contactless purchases and payments.

But buyers just don’t visit dealerships in the same way they used to.

That’s because 92% of car buyers research online before they buy. These buyers start their car buying journey online and contact your team first.

And 41% of car buyers only visit 1 dealership before they purchase a vehicle. 4/10 visitors will actually purchase a car the same day they visit a dealership!

So here’s the question:

How do you bridge the communication gap between your dealership’s website and your sales team?

The answer is business text messaging.

In this article I’ll cover:

  1. What car dealership text messaging is
  2. Why business texting works for car dealerships
  3. The 7 best business text services for car dealerships
  4. Message templates that make texting for dealerships effortless

By the end, you should have a good idea of how text messaging can bridge communication gaps, improve lead generation and lead to sales.

Read on for more.

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What is Car Dealership Text Messaging?

Car dealership text messaging is a short messaging service (SMS) built for businesses and organizations. Car dealership texting software makes it possible for car dealerships to send mass texts and have two-way conversations with contacts, prospects, and customers. SMS for car dealerships makes it possible to generate leads, send additional vehicle information, schedule appointments, test drives, services, and more.

Why Business Texting Works for Car Dealerships

A dealership texting service can help fill the communication gap between your website, email, and phone calls. That’s because texting gets around a 45% response rate and a 98% open rate.

Compare that to 20% open rates and 6% response rates for email. Oh, and did I mention that 76% of consumers don’t like talking to businesses over the phone?

This is where text messaging has some clear advantages over email and voice.

Yes, there will always be a need for email and voice - they aren’t going away.

But business text messaging works well for:

  • Starting more text conversations directly from your website
  • Sending a mass text message to a bunch of leads
  • Texting as a sales team with potential customers from one business phone number
  • Successfully getting near instant message delivery
  • Scheduling messages and automating customer service follow-ups
  • Sending personalized text messages that feel like a conversation

Top 7 Car Dealership Text Messaging Options

There are a lot of great business texting services out there. But first, I want to explore six different ways to implement text messaging at your dealership.

1. Car dealership texting software

The first and most obvious way dealerships can text is with a dealership text messaging service. This is the most popular and often easiest implemented solution for car dealerships.

This is because team SMS inboxes enable everyone to send and receive text messages from one business phone number or landline. It even makes it possible for customers to text specific extensions.

A unified dealership texting software like MessageDesk gives your team access to a shared inbox. It also makes it possible to send bulk SMS from one business phone line.

What’s the best part of having a software-based SMS system for your dealership? Its having the ability to access your inbox from anywhere.

Working from home?

Lose your device?

No worries - just sign in to your dealership texting software from any device connected to the internet.

MessageDesk Team Inbox

Pros:

  • Access your text messages from any device: desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
  • It’s easy to add and remove team members to your account as your team changes.
  • You can set permissions so team members are limited to who, what, or when they can text your contacts.
  • Apps for business texting include features like autoresponders, scheduled texts, and picture texting (MMS) that others don’t include.

Cons:

  • Not every customer prefers text messaging.
  • There are still some people who prefer email and phone calls.

2. Text-enable an existing business phone number

Most business owners assume that the only way to text is from a personal cell phone.

Luckily, that’s not the case.

Most businesses text-enable their existing business phone number. They do this by connecting it to their preferred texting app for their car dealership.

Businesses can text people from an existing landline or existing business phone number after completing a number porting or hosting request and submitting it through their business text messaging provider.

MessageDesk makes this process particularly easy. All it takes is a single form submission.

Here’s an example of what that looks like:

messagedesk-number-hosting-porting-request.png

Pros:

  • Send and receive text messages from the existing branded landline, toll-free, or VoIP number your customers know.
  • Catch all the messages that come to your business, even the ones that otherwise would have been missed.
  • Improve your CSI score by texting your customers through all stages of the life cycle. Prospects that are sent texts convert at a 40% higher rate than those not sent texts.
  • Easy to use on any desktop computer or mobile device.
  • Can integrate with CRM or DMS.

Cons:

  • Unlike a DMS, a business texting service isn’t necessarily tailored to the automotive industry.

3. SMS marketing for car dealerships

I’ve highlighted dealership texting software and text-enabling your business line. Both are great ways to incorporate business text messaging into your dealership.

But you may be looking for a platform that only provides text message marketing for car dealerships.

Most popular SMS marketing tools for dealerships:

  • Broadcasts: Easily reach thousands of contacts at once with verified SMS delivery
  • Campaigns and Automation: Attach an SMS “CTA” to your local advertising to bridge the gap between marketing and sales
  • Website Chatbot: Effectively start conversations with website visitors by sending them an automatic text message

Car dealerships all over the United States leverage text messaging to run highly effective marketing campaigns at a low cost.

For example, DeNooyer Chevrolet leverages MessageDesk’s SMS marketing to bring hundreds of people to their website and dealership every month.

Car dealership text marketing can help drive sales conversations, and improve the return on investment from local advertising.

Denooyer Chevy Generated 536 New Leads with One MessageDesk Campaign

Learn how DeNooyer Chevy used MessageDesk to generate leads and build awareness.

Pros:

  • Text message marketing humanizes traditional advertising by starting conversations.
  • Text message broadcasts make it easy to scale your reach at an effective cost.
  • SMS marketing makes it easy to personalize and send a lot of messages.

Cons:

4. Website chatbot

Enabling your sales team to chat with potential buyers using a chatbot is a website feature that's proven to generate leads and drive sales.

But the problem is…

What happens to that conversation once your potential buyer leaves the website?

Does the chat end permanently?

With an SMS-based chatbot, you don’t need to worry about either of those problems. That’s because SMS chatbots grow text lists and can help you start more text conversations from your website.

This means your sales team can continue texting potential customers long after they leave your website.

web-chat-1.png

Pros:

  • Chatbot interfaces make it easy for customers to immediately start a conversation without leaving your website.
  • Most live chat applications are automated and don’t require an employee to manually respond, which saves time.
  • Chatbots collect vital customer information like email, phone number, and name. Enabling your team to reach contacts in multiple ways.

Cons:

  • Live chat is not a frictionless experience.
  • When sessions times out customers’ messages aren’t saved, causing frustration.
  • Sales reps eventually ask for customer phone numbers, so many dealerships cut out the middleman and just add a “text us” button to their home page.
  • The user is anonymous, so it’s hard to follow up with interested customers.

5. CRM or DMS

Let’s say you don’t want to set up a unique business texting solution for your business.

But you still want to benefit from the advantages of business texting….

So the next best thing is text-enabling the CRM that your sales and marketing team already rely on.

Most CRMs offer direct SMS solutions, integrations, or plugins that allow you to text customers directly out of the platform.

Pros:

  • Keep data and records in one place.
  • Easier to trigger automated messages like “happy birthday messages” for dealership customers.
  • Ensures a paper trail all the way up to the sale.
  • Many CRMs qualify leads for texting, thus helping you adhere to TCPA guidelines that require customers to opt-in.

Cons:

  • The CRM or DMS user experience isn’t intuitive – most are clunky and their software is outdated.
  • If the CRM offers texting, there’s a good chance texts come from a different number than your main business phone. This creates confusion and a broken experience for customers.
  • You may be missing messages if customers are texting the wrong number. Before adopting a CRM, make sure to ask if you can text from your existing phone number.

6. Facebook Messenger and other group messaging apps

Many car dealerships leverage Facebook for reaching leads and starting sales conversations.

Using Facebook for advertising or just for posting upcoming events?

Should be using Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or some other group texting solution to chat with potential customers?

car-dealership-texting-problems.png

There’s no “correct” answer for this but I’ll provide some reasons why you should consider leveraging Facebook messenger more:

Do you frequently run paid advertising on Facebook?

If so, it’s wise to actively monitor your Facebook Messenger since some customers will reach out through your ads.

Do you actively promote dealership events and engage on social media?

If you’re posting pictures of new inventory and upcoming events then I would suggest actively monitoring your Facebook Messenger.

PRO TIP: Do you actively post on social media or run advertisements but don’t want to use Facebook Messenger? I suggest exploring click-to-text solutions like MessageDesk. These enable customers to click on ads or links to start direct text message conversations with your business phone number.

Do you feel comfortable giving your sales and marketing team access to the company's Facebook Account?

If not, then Facebook Messenger is a dead end since nobody will be managing it.

broadcast-text-message.svg

Pros:

  • Apps and social media are valuable marketing tools and good points of first contact for customers.
  • A healthy social media presence makes you more attractive to customers, especially millennials.

Cons:

  • Messaging apps are hot right now, but they’re not flexible enough as the main platform for client communication.
  • Customers must go out of their way to download the app, and not all of them are regular Facebook users.
  • Hiring an employee to manage social media can be costly.
  • It’s hard to get tech support for social media accounts.

7. Personal cellphones

I’ve always felt that proper work-life balance depends on separating business and leisure time.

But it’s hard to accomplish this when your personal devices double as your work devices.

Although some dealership employees manage this by using the same cellphone and laptop for work that they use for personal life. But from a business owner’s perspective, personal devices just aren’t scalable enough.

As a solo owner-operator, it makes sense to simplify things. But once your team is 10 or more it becomes almost impossible to manage “personal” devices as an entire dealership.

The best solution for “cellphone” fans is to use a texting app for your dealership. This way you can download the app right onto your current smartphone.

And as your team grows you’ll have no problem scaling up your texting.

business-phone-line-masthead.svg

Pros:

  • It gives the salesperson a great deal of control over the sales process.
  • Salespeople say they can build more intimate customer relationships by texting from their cellphone.
  • The sales rep doesn’t have to compete with other sales reps for the customer.

Cons:

  • Personal cell phones are a liability. Not having the ability to oversee customer-sales rep communication means management risks sending an inconsistent message.
  • If the sales rep leaves, managers don’t want those conversations (and customers) going with them.
  • It’s hard to enforce opt-in compliance, which can get you in legal trouble later down the road.
  • For more examples, read why sales teams shouldn’t text from their personal phones.

Car Dealership Text Messaging Templates

I’ve covered what business texting is and how it works for car dealerships.

The following are car dealership message examples and text templates that many dealerships might use.

Your call to action, message details, and the links you send in texts will vary.

But these are some of the text message sequences for car dealerships I’ve seen MessageDesk users like DeNooyer Chevrolet send.

I've also got a list of 60+ business texting templates and a full text message template library you can use here.

Note: I’ve formatted these car dealership text message templates with brackets to work with MessageDesk’s personalization tag feature. This is a great way to customize text messages for personalized text messaging.

Replying to car information request

Hey {{ FirstName }}, {{ SalesRep }} with DEALERSHIP here! Happy to hear you’re interested in our {{ CarModel }}. Check out the full specs and price at [Insert Link Here]. Need help scheduling your test drive? Reply to this text with a preferred date, and I will get you set up!

Post-call dealership text follow-up

{{ FirstName }},this is {{ SalesRep }} with [car dealership name]. It was great speaking with you over the phone today. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Enjoy your day!

Happy birthday message for dealership customers

Hi there {{ FirstName }}! [ car dealership name ] here. Since it’s your special day, we wanted to send you our best wishes for your birthday this year. It’s our sincere desire to make dreams come true whether that’s part of your birthday celebration or your next oil change. Wishing you good health and happy birthday wishes!

Test drive appointment reminder

Hey {{ FirstName }}, This is {{ SalesRep }} with [car dealership name]. Just sending over a reminder for your test drive appointment at [date] [time]. Here’s our address [address]. Travel Safely!

Oil change reminder

Hello, {{ FirstName }}.This is a reminder that your {{ Vehicle }} will be due for an oil change soon. Respond to this message or phone {{ PhoneNumber }} to schedule an appointment. INDIVIDUAL at BUSINESS.

Car servicing interval appointment

Hello, {{ FirstName }}. Our records indicate that your {{ Vehicle }} is due for its {{ Milage }} tune-up. To schedule an appointment, reply by texting us or calling {{ PhoneNumber }}. INDIVIDUAL at BUSINESS.

Vehicle ready for pick-up

Hello, {{ FirstName }}. Your {{ Vehicle }} is ready for pick up. We’re open from {{ Time }} until {{ Time }} today. We look forward to seeing you soon. If you have any questions, please respond to this text message or phone {{ PhoneNumber }}.

Vehicle recall alert

Hi {{ FirstName }}, Just letting you know that a recall has been issued for your {{ ModelYear }} {{ Vehicle }}. We emailed you additional details regarding this recall. To schedule your complimentary service, call or text our service department at {{ PhoneNumber }}.

Satisfaction survey

Hi {{ FirstName }}, would you like a coupon for a free car wash? All you have to do is take two minutes to complete this survey regarding your recent trip to [ car dealership name ].
Text-enable your car dealership. Try MessageDesk for free.

Final thoughts and next steps

Ready to put these templates to work and start selling cars?

Start using a dedicated business text messaging solution. You’ll enable your team to bridge the customer communication gap with your potential clients.

Have questions before starting your business texting journey?

Feel free to start a free MessageDesk trial or meet with one of our messaging experts. They’re happy to help and answer any of your questions.