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Text-Enable your Landline for Maximum Marketing Benefits

I love technology.  I’m not particularly tech-savvy (I’ve been known to open an email attachment from a stranger a few times), but that’s not my job.  I leave technology up to the experts.  What I do know is sales – particularly car sales – and I wanted to share info about a new technology that, in my opinion, is the next frontier for increased consumer engagement and ultimately more car sales. 

Dealers can now text-enable existing landlines and toll free phone numbers at their dealerships versus having to promote separate phone numbers that are dedicated to texting.  Before I explain how it works, here are some statistics you should know:

  • 90% of text messages are read within three minutes of delivery.1


  • Offering a texting option can increase engagement by 25%.2


  • 49% of mobile auto searchers purchase the same day of their research.3


  • Text messaging (SMS) produces engagement rates 6 – 8 times higher than email.4


  • 19 trillion text messages were sent and received in the U.S. just three short years ago.5


  • 63% of auto shoppers research online with a mobile device while on a dealer’s lot.6

 It’s clear that having a solid texting strategy in place at your dealership is critical to succeeding in today’s competitive car sales environment.  Further on, I will explain the steps involved with implementing that strategy at your dealership, but for now, here is how the new texting functionality works:


  • Consumers see a marketing message that directs them to ‘text or call’ one of your dealership’s publicized phone numbers. These numbers can be any landline or toll free number, including call tracking numbers. 


  • When a text comes in from any of these numbers, the system automatically identifies the contact as a text and routes the customer into a lead management platform. The customer is immediately provided with an opt-in message.


  • Once the customer opts-in, your sales staff is immediately sent an alert in the form of a text message and an email.


  • Your staff can now begin a text conversation with the customer from either their desktop computer or mobile phone within the platform. All texts are logged and stored and can be delivered to a dealership’s CRM.


  • If the customer wants pricing information, or has questions about vehicle specs or service, your staff can text directly to the customer.

Implementing a solid texting strategy at your dealership is easier than you think.  In addition to text enabling your landlines, take these steps along for the ride.

Step #1:  Say Yes to Text. 

Implementing a two-way “Text Us” button on your mobile and desktop sites welcomes consumers to communicate with you in the manner they prefer. Put the links wherever you see traffic – lead forms, your VDP pages, and specials, for example. And simply adding the words ‘Text or Call’ to existing phone numbers featured on signs, ads, and other marketing materials opens new engagement opportunities with consumers by enabling them to communicate with you in the manner they prefer. All communications should logged and stored within a texting lead management system and should be delivered to your CRM tool.

Step #2:  Use a Text Platform to Assist in Being Text Compliant.

Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) guidelines are strict when it comes to texts, and fines for non-compliance can run as high as $1,500 per violation.  Sophisticated web-based texting platforms help enforce proper opt-ins and opt-outs while serving as an effective lead management system to monitor and track communications.

Step #3:  Consider Send2Phone.

Send2Phone technology delivers information such as inventory, photos, and specials straight to a customer’s mobile phone. Not only does this technology help get your content in front of consumers, it can easily go viral because consumers can share the information with others, resulting in even more marketing opportunities for your dealership.

Step #4:  Make Texting Easy.

Make it easy for consumers to interact with your dealership by texting directly to your existing landline, or by using keywords and short code calls-to-action (example, Text CAR to 12345 for Lease Specials). Be sure to leverage these capabilities into your existing marketing materials including print, radio or TV advertising. You can even put VIN specific keywords on window stickers.

  • Mobile Squared Report: Conversational Advertising, 2010
  • Autobytel independent 90-day analysis, pre-/post-texting program, New Jersey Ford retailer, 2013/2014
  • xAd/Telmetrics Mobile Path-to-Purchase Study, 2012
  • HelloWorld Benchmark Mobile Marketing Study, 2012
  • CTIA - The Wireless Association(R). CTIA's Wireless Industry Survey, Year-End 2012. All Rights Reserved.
  • Placed, White Paper: Showrooming at the Dealership, 2014

6) ABTL-AutoSuccess-Lead-Love-Questions

"Looking for Leads in All the Wrong Places?  Ask Yourself These Questions."

Scott Pechstein is VP of National Sales for Autobytel Inc., offering the industry a full suite of high quality lead products and marketing services, including Autobytel Direct pay-per-click advertising, TextShield, SaleMove, and Payment Pro. For more information, text or call (949) 278-8618 or email  For more dealer training, tips, advice, and news, visit