Sell While You’re Sleeping Using Marketing Automation

This article originally appeared in the March edition of OPE Business

When we signed our very first OPE dealership as a client in 2014, the owner asked us to audit what they were spending online and analyze all of the tools they had bought into. So, we went through will all the awkward conversations to terminate deals with folks like the Yellow Pages and every side deal they had signed with multiple local media outlets.

Over the years I’ve met dozens of dealers who consistently tell me the same thing:

“I know I should be more proactive in promoting my business, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day and I don’t have time to learn how to use all of these new tools.”

Most dealers are inundated daily with sales reps and promises of new, flashy technology and how it’s going to change the way they do business. Except it hasn’t. Because technology is only as good as the people you have using it and the quality of the data you have to feed it. But this may finally be the year where technology and utility meet.

When email started to become prominent in the late 90s, it was supposed to kill the telephone (it didn’t) and when social media took off in the mid 2000’s, it was going to kill email (it didn’t) and when everyone got a website, it was going to kill newspapers (well, this one is basically true).

The point is, that instead of emerging technologies replacing each other, they’ve all become blended into a toolkit that work best when you use them together, rather than independently of one other. So, in the past where you just had newspaper, television, radio and billboards to deal with, now you have thousands of tools and channels to utilize for your business, each purporting to make your life easier, but only if you can figure out how to make them all live in harmony.

Enter marketing automation.

Marketing automation isn’t a new concept by any means. The idea has been around for many years with large software companies selling the dream of completely automated customer journeys that just churn out leads and close sales. The problem is that it took a lot of work to set up, even more to maintain and didn’t account for the nuances that every small business inherently had, not to mention that the price point of traditional enterprise software was a massive barrier to entry for small businesses. But as technology goes, tools have matured and in 2021 it’s much easier to make those pieces fit.

Here are the major components you’ll need in order to start putting those pieces together. You can expect to hear a lot more about the pieces that make up this marketing automation toolkit in 2021:

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Software: Most dealerships have a Dealership Management System that houses all of your key contacts, your inventory and more. All good business owners know that the cost of acquiring a new customer is much higher than maintaining an existing one. In fact, 50% of sales from existing customers when using marketing automation, vs. just 30% without. For example, setting up a program that sends a message to a customer at regular service intervals after they’ve purchased a new piece of a equipment is an easy, hands-off reminder to the customer that results in a consistent stream of booked service appointments. Does your DMS have a built in CRM? If not, it’s time to make this your first step.

Business Texting & Messaging: Business texting is one of the most quickly adopted technologies for small businesses in the last ten years. In fact, 78% of US consumers say that receiving a text message is the fastest way to reach them for important services updates and over 90% of text messages are read within the first three minutes. Texting also gives you hours of your day back by eliminating the need to call on customers for service reminders or parts inquiries. By combining marketing automation and business texting, you can notify a day’s worth of contacts with the click of a button and free your employees to get back to other tasks.

Chat Bots: Chat bots are expected to help reduce business costs by up to $8 billion by the year 2022. Why? Because with the power of artificial intelligence, chat bots can now answer the vast majority of the mundane questions you answer over and over again in your dealership. Plus, when added to your marketing automation plan, you can now interact with a potential customer in a meaningful way even without a live agent. For those customers that are searching for equipment at 2am, it gives you a way to collect some basic information in a conversational manner vs expecting the customer to complete an online form to get a quote because they know there is no immediate gratification for their query. In fact 64% of the public likes chatbots because they can deliver a 24-hour service, 7 days a week. When paired with marketing automation, you can collect the user’s information and automatically route that to the appropriate person in your dealership to handle their query so there are no more bottlenecks in your operation.

At a minimum, dealerships now have access to affordable tools to help maintain ongoing conversations with existing customers. But how can you take the next step and use automation technology to help you acquire new customers? For that, it’s important that you have an understanding of the marketing funnel to see where your customers are coming from and where they are in their buying journey. All of these tools are design to save you time and nurture customers down a conversion path that you simply can’t do manually.

With marketing automation we are finally seeing technology and affordability uniting to make your life easier, just a few years later than we were promised.

Dealers Digital owns and operates dealerAMP, an alternative to Kenect, Podium, Birdeye and DP360. If you’d like to learn more about how dealerAMP can help your business save time and money with an integrated business texting, reputation management and CRM platform, schedule a demo.

SMS messaging for local business

Business Texting for Local Business

With crowded mailboxes and inboxes, it can be hard to get a customer’s attention. Customer preference has changed over the years, but most still want to stay in the loop of current events.  That’s why thousands of companies across the world use business texting to reach their audiences. 

Texting is a powerful communication channel. A recent study showed that 98% of SMS messages are opened, compared to just 22% of emails. Whether you’re a major tractor outlet, or a small-town business, there’s plenty of reasons why you should consider business texting integration. 

Here are our top 5 ways to use business texting

Reminders and Scheduling

One of the most useful startup business text integrations is giving folks the ability to schedule something and set reminders through text messages. Some business owners rely on their staff to manually make phone calls to remind customers of upcoming appointments, or to ask if they’re going to be late. With an automatic text-based scheduling, you can remind customers of an upcoming service appointments and allow customers to confirm upcoming appointments automatically. 

Your contacts would probably prefer to text than pick up a phone call from a stranger, anyway. 

Payment and Billing

People are switching to online and mobile payment methods for everything from their bank accounts, car payments, insurance, and even daily shopping. If you offer financing where a customer can set up a regular payment to come in, an automatic text reminder can help them avoid late payments. They can also inquire on their remaining balance through SMS. Keeping things easy and transparent makes your business look more trustworthy. 

Time Sensitive Alerts

Event planners have been wildly successful using SMS messaging to engage and entertain their attendees. You can send reminders before the event, last-minute updates, and even request feedback after all your guests go home. If you’re selling big-ticket items, you can even schedule reminders to ask them if they need an oil change, or a reminder that a factory warranty may expire soon.  

In the case of promotions, it’s better to wait for the biggest, hottest deals of the season to reach out in a text. Making that text shoutout is still a valuable attention-grabber. 

You can even send out job alerts!

Text-based Customer Service.

Since so many are on mobile these days and often prefer texting to calling, so there’s a good chance people are already trying to text your landline for customer service questions. With a good text-to-landline service, you can have those texts forwarded to a web browser. You’ll catch questions that were previously lost, and invite possible customers to reach out with SMS instead of by calling directly. 

You can also just offer customer service via text message. Instead of keeping them on hold on the phone, let them text a question and send an answer as soon as you know exactly what you want to say. If you’re a better speaker than writer, you always have the option of using the voice-to-text feature offered on most smartphones to dictate your replies. All the convenience of texting without having to poke at a screen. 

Order Confirmations and Delivery Updates

While massive multi-national giants like Amazon have the ‘Order Tracking and Notifications’ thing down to an art, small businesses can also do their part in keeping their customers informed. If your inventory shipment schedule is a generally small, this could be a manual process. However, certain inventory systems allow you to integrate with business text messaging services to provide automatic updates to your clients. Anything to make the process easier for  you and less stressful for your customer. 

Business texting services may take a bit of getting used to, but they’re a valuable asset for any size business.

If you’re interested in learning more about the business texting services we offer, or you want to schedule a demo, we’d be excited to hear from you! Schedule a demo here, or just give us a call. 

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