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Auto Repair Marketing SMS Campaigns: A Quick Guide to Drive Success

Learn how SMS marketing can help your auto repair shop gain — and keep — customers while boosting sales

Illustration of an auto repair shop with different icons representing the SMS conversation “...” and green check marks.
May 22, 2024
Kathleen Crampton
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Reading time about 11 min

Owning and managing an auto repair shop involves many unique challenges, from hiring mechanics with the right expertise to maintaining inventory and keeping often anxious customers satisfied and coming back. Every car make and model has different needs, meaning that you need a marketing method to keep up with customers at varying stages of maintenance, car ownership, etc.

SMS marketing for auto repair is one of the best ways to market to and communicate with customers and boost your business.

Why Auto Repair Shops Should Use SMS Marketing

With so many marketing strategies out there, you might wonder, what are the benefits of SMS marketing for auto repair shops? The benefits of using SMS marketing for auto repair shops include a wide audience reach, cost-effectiveness, targeted communication, and trackable results. We’ll explain each benefit here.

Wide Audience Reach

Text messages have a 98% open rate and about 70% of people open texts within 5 minutes of receiving them. What does that mean for your business? SMS marketing for auto repair allows your business’s messages to be seen by more people — more quickly. Open and read rates are two prominent differences between SMS and email marketing, making text marketing the optimal method for reaching a wider audience.

Cost-Effective

While auto repair text marketing requires a financial investment, it’s typically not as expensive as other marketing strategies, like email or social media marketing. It’s a simple yet powerful method accessible to small and medium-sized businesses.

Targeted Communication

With SMS as your auto repair shop marketing method, your business can nurture the customer journey effectively. Generalized messaging won’t work for customers of an auto repair shop, as every car and repair situation is different, so it’s important to tweak messages for each customer and/or demographic.

Customer segmentation tactics make targeted communication easy. Businesses can send individualized messages or send text blasts to each customer group based on location, length of car ownership, type of car, and so on.

Trackable Results

With any marketing campaign, you want to know how it’s doing and if it’s successful. SMS marketing results are trackable, tweaking each campaign to get the desired result easy. Your auto repair shop can track click-through rates, response rates, and other measures like how many appointments were made or add-on services were purchased due to your SMS marketing campaign.

Examples of SMS Marketing Messages for Auto Repair Shops

Now that you know the incredible benefits of SMS marketing, it’s time to know how to make it work for your business. So, what are some examples of how auto repair shops can use SMS marketing? Some examples of how auto repair shops use SMS marketing include attracting new customers, sending appointment reminders and repair updates, requesting reviews, and providing special offers.

Attract New Customers

Part of auto shop marketing is expanding your customer base, and one of the best ways to do that is through SMS messaging. Your business can use customer list growth tools, like SMS keywords, QR codes, and web sign-up forms, to generate more leads and gain more contacts.

Sample Text Message

But people probably won’t sign up for your texts just for the heck of it. Make sure to provide an incentive, like a one-time discount code or free service. For example, auto repair advertising ideas might include a special offer for new customers, such as a free tire rotation or new windshield wipers. This strategy is a win-win for your shop: New contacts receive an auto repair promotion, and your business increases its chances of gaining more customers.

Appointment Reminders

For any service-based business, ensuring customers keep their appointments is crucial — a missed appointment means one less sale. Auto repair SMS marketing makes it easy to send appointment reminders using text automation. All your business needs to do is create reminder messages triggered when someone makes an appointment and at a certain time before they are due to arrive, like one or two days prior.

Sample Text Message

Sending appointment reminders not only helps your auto shop cut down on no-shows, but it also saves employee time. With automated text, receptionists, mechanics, or other employees don’t have to spend time making phone calls or manually texting customers.

Compare and contrast the best appointment software for your business.

Repair Updates

Auto shops not only have to manage car repairs — they also have to manage customer anxiety. It’s normal for car owners to be on edge when putting their expensive ride in someone else's hands. Still, auto shops need to assuage concerns and be in constant communication.

Sample Text Message

Auto repair shop marketing using text allows businesses to communicate in real-time without spending precious minutes making phone calls. Provide repair updates, get consent to perform a particular service, or notify the customer of any other pertinent information while work is done on their car. This type of quick communication gives customers peace of mind and helps to increase trust in your business.

Special Offers

Sample Text Message

Help customers keep your shop top of mind by sending seasonal discounts, holiday promotions, birthday messages, and other special offers throughout the year. You can also share information about an auto repair shop loyalty or referral program, both of which help to increase customer retention.

Requesting Reviews

Sample Text Message

Positive reviews are the lifeblood of service-based businesses because they’re crucial for reputation management. While simply asking for reviews in person at the end of an appointment is helpful, it’s not always effective. Customers are busy and often forget to review right when they drive away.

Send follow-up texts with links to your website or Google or Yelp listings to gain more reviews, asking customers to rate and review your shop. Here’s how to send text message review requests.

Crafting Compelling SMS Marketing Messages for Auto Repair Shops

Illustrated list of four points to a crafting a compelling SMS marketing message

While each type of auto shop marketing message will be different depending on the purpose, there are some best practices to remember. You’re probably wondering, “How can I write effective SMS marketing messages for my auto repair shop?” The following is a quick overview of how to write effective SMS marketing messages for auto repair shops (and just about any business, for that matter):

  • Be concise. Your customers are busy, so they should be able to read your text messages without taking too much time out of their day. Make sure your messages get to the point quickly.
  • Personalize. Connect with current and potential customers using their first names and mentioning specific details about their car or service history. Doing so helps them feel valued and shows that you care.
  • Provide value. Don’t make the contact guess why they’re receiving a message from your business. Every SMS marketing message should provide value, whether a financial incentive, an appointment reminder, or a “time to service your car” message.
  • Include a clear call to action. Make it clear what you want the contact to do with your message by providing a call to action (CTA).

Get more hot tips on how to optimize your texts for success.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid in Auto Repair SMS Marketing

Understanding how to craft your message is crucial, but knowing what to avoid is also important. After all, knowing what not to do is just as helpful as knowing what works well.

Spammy Messaging

Sending too many SMS marketing messages can turn current and potential customers away and be seen as annoying or disrespectful.

Schedule car repair marketing messages to be sent routinely but not too often so that the contact will become inundated and see your messages as spam. But remember that a frequency that works for other industries, like e-commerce, might not work for auto repair shop marketing. This is because repair shop customers only require services for regular maintenance or special circumstances — they’re not doing business with you weekly or even monthly.

Pushy Sales Tactics

It’s important for auto repair shops to strike the right balance between increasing sales and not being too salesy. Keep messages friendly and personable while providing value and call to action. So, instead of telling them to do something, you’re telling them why it will benefit them (and their car).

Unprofessional Communication

A common misconception with SMS marketing is that the casual nature of text messages means that they don’t have to be professional. Sending messages that are too casual is not a good practice. Your customers rely on your expertise and professionalism in your auto shop, so ensure your marketing efforts extend the same message.

Not Getting Consent or Providing Opt-Outs

Sample Text Message

Not getting permission from your contacts or not providing them with a way to opt out puts your business in risky legal territory. You might wonder, “How can I comply with SMS marketing regulations for my auto repair shop?” To comply with SMS marketing regulations for your auto repair shop, you need to ensure that you gain consent and provide clear instructions for opt-out in your welcome message.

Learn all you need to know about how your auto repair shop can stay SMS compliant.

How to Measure the Effectiveness of Auto Repair SMS Marketing Campaigns

Now that you’ve sent your auto repair shop marketing messages, your next question is likely, “How can I track the performance of my SMS marketing campaigns for my auto repair shop?” To track the performance of SMS marketing campaigns for an auto repair shop, you can calculate things like return on investment, click-through rate, and conversion rate.

Not all campaigns have the same purpose, so you’ll need to first identify the goal of the SMS campaign and then use one or more of the following factors to measure its success.

Return on Investment

Many, if not most, of your SMS campaigns have the purpose of generating sales, so it’s important to know how to calculate the return on investment (ROI) of the campaign. At its most basic, ROI is determined by subtracting the investment from the revenue. The better the ROI, the more successful the campaign.

Get a handle on calculating SMS marketing ROI for your business.

Click-Through Rate

You can track the click-through rate (CTR) if your SMS marketing messages use links. While this measurement doesn’t directly connect to sales or another action, it can give your auto shop business a good idea of how effective your campaign is.

Conversion Rate

A conversion rate is the rate at which your SMS contacts took an intended action. This is where understanding the purpose of your campaign is crucial. Was the goal to increase the number of service appointments? Or perhaps it was to increase tire sales with a special buy-three-get-one-free promotion. Track how many people acted on your text message’s CTA to determine a campaign's success.

Tools to Streamline SMS Marketing for Auto Repair Shops

Image of a marketing specialist in an auto repair shop setting using a laptop/computer

As a busy business owner, you want to simplify processes to focus your time on the things that matter: meeting customer needs, increasing sales, and keeping employees happy. That’s why streamlining everything that goes into auto shop marketing is essential for your business.

Your likely question is, “What tools can I use to send SMS marketing messages for my auto repair shop?” You need two tools to send SMS marketing messages for your auto repair shop: an SMS marketing platform and a customer relationship management (CRM) system.

SMS Marketing Platform

SMS marketing for auto repair requires a powerhouse text marketing platform. With EZ Texting, you’ll have all the SMS marketing features you need at your fingertips, such as customer segmentation tools, a robust AI content generation tool, two-way texting, text automation, and so much more. The all-in-one text marketing solution makes it possible for small and large businesses to create and manage campaigns — and tweak them to be even more successful — all from one platform.

CRM System

The next marketing tool your auto repair shop will need is a CRM system. This system makes it easy to manage customer interactions and track the customer life cycle, which is super important in the auto repair industry. For example, with a CRM system, you can view each customer’s car maintenance schedule and service history data, and then use this information to create targeted marketing messages and other SMS communication.

And before you ask, yes, many CRM systems integrate seamlessly with EZ Texting. Check out all the integrations available.

How to Integrate SMS in Your Overall Auto Shop Marketing Strategy

Leveraging SMS marketing for your auto repair shop shouldn’t be an isolated action. Remember your other marketing channels — a successful strategy involves multiple customer touchpoints.

Illustrated concept of cross-channel marketing

To help explain, let’s answer the question, “How can I integrate SMS marketing with my other marketing efforts for my auto repair shop?”

Here are some examples of how to integrate SMS marketing with your other marketing efforts for your auto repair shop:

  • Reference in-person signage: Your auto repair shop likely has in-store signage promoting current deals or offers, so bring that messaging to email and SMS marketing efforts. This will provide your contacts with consistent messaging.
  • Complement your auto repair email marketing: Email marketing is ideal for longer-form content, while SMS marketing is optimal for more time-sensitive reminders. Consider following up an email message with an auto repair marketing text so that higher-level information is provided first, with a quick call to action second.
  • Cross-channel marketing: Use SMS marketing as part of your cross-channel marketing strategy to nurture the customer journey. For example, when customers interact with your website, they’ll receive a follow-up email or text message or perhaps see an ad on social media.

These are great ways to integrate SMS marketing with other channels to engage customers, boost your audience reach, and drive sales.

Start your text-marketing journey today with EZ Texting.

FAQs

Some common mistakes to avoid when using SMS marketing for your auto repair shop include sending spammy messages, being too pushy, communicating unprofessionally, and not getting consent or providing opt-outs.

To measure the ROI of SMS marketing campaigns for your auto repair shop, you must first track the revenue generated from each campaign. Then, deduct the total investment, like the cost per message, the cost per keyword, the text marketing platform and CRM system costs, and other financial investments for that particular campaign. Learn more about measuring the ROI of SMS marketing campaigns.

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