Text Me Later: Use AdWords’ New Message Extensions to Reach Customers


Personally, I prefer a text message rather than a phone call. Sending a text message allows us to send or ask for essential information in a simple, straightforward manner. With everyone utilizing smart phones and capable of sending and receiving text messages, it’s obvious that you can capitalize on this technology to reach your customers. Google AdWords has come up with Message Extensions for paid search advertising to do just that. Here’s how it works and how you can use it to drive more traffic to your dealership.

When your paid search ad pops up under a Google search, their Message Extension allows the viewer to text you directly from the ad. This is more than just another convenient way for customers to communicate with your dealership. If you’re strategic in this new tool, it’s a way to increase your chances of engagement with prospects.


These text links can be created to connect to specific numbers with customized hours of the day that the phone can receive messages. Each number can be implemented for new or used vehicle campaigns based on your overall marketing strategy. As customers are catching on to this innovative technology, I expect the volume of texts will increase as more websites begin rolling out this new feature.

When customers begin using this feature, keep in mind that 95% of texts received won’t be specifically related to purchasing a vehicle today. Some of the questions might be something that a receptionist could answer. However, these texts can be turned into leads when you have a willing staff in place that is motivated towards driving traffic towards your dealership. Coaching your staff is a critical step in making this campaign tool work.

Remember, like any innovation of technology available, if you don’t use it your competitor will. This is a terrific opportunity to turn a simple text into dealership traffic.

About the author

John Paul Strong: For someone who spends an average of 135 days outside of the office meeting with clients, John Paul Strong remains the driving force behind his Birmingham-based advertising agency, Strong Automotive Merchandising. Strong began his career as a fresh-faced account executive at Martin Advertising. Learning much, but never satisfied, he convinced his father to partner with him in reopening their own advertising agency in 2004, catering exclusively to the automotive industry. The company started strong but humble. The original roster of 10 employees and eight clients has exploded today, growing to 100 full-time employees and more than 220 automotive dealers. And it hasn’t gone without notice. Along the way, Strong Automotive Merchandising has been recognized as a perennial winner in Birmingham’s Best Places to Work contest and as a Top 20 Agency among Google’s National Ad Partners. Yet, Strong still finds time to share what he’s learned along the way. As an avid writer, he has published two books in the Next Day Traffic series, along with more than 1,000 automotive-focused blog posts. He is also a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, and his success has been recognized in the Birmingham Business Journal’s 2013 “Top 40 Under 40” feature and the 2017 CEO Awards. The foundation for Strong’s career began at the University of Montevallo where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and advanced public speaking. Always staying ahead of the competition, Strong later went on to study in Harvard Business School’s Executive Education Program. Amid all of his endeavors, Strong always makes time for what matters most – his family. He is a proud husband to Amy, and father to Lilly Grace, Anne Charlotte, Hudson, and Ford.

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