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“…but that’s what I hired my Internet Manager for!...”
This is the thinking (spoken or unspoken) of many General Managers and Dealer Principals when asked to engage with the person that optimizes their dealership’s website. This is understandable. Considering the many hats that such a person already wears, adding digital strategy may seem daunting. Nevertheless, DP involvement is crucial to the success of the modern dealership.
While Internet Managers are experts in the digital space, as owner of the store, you have critical insight that is irreplaceable in all aspects of marketing strategy, including online. Your dealer website is your digital storefront, and as the owner of that storefront, you should work in collaboration with your Internet Manager to pair the latest digital best practices with a dynamic online presence. Dynamic and authentic go hand in hand, and who knows the store better than you, the DP?
As car-shopping research moves increasingly online, Dealer Principals have more reason than ever to get their hands in the digital pie. The majority of customers for all profit centers of the dealership are increasingly originating through the web. Goals for the dealership in general are usually set by the Dealer Principal, therefore more complex, more involved, and more meaningful conversations should be held between the DP and the person managing your digital marketing. What type of customer should be targeted? At what part of the customer journey is that targeted customer at any given time? If the DP could change one thing about how the dealership website is currently functioning, what would it be?
Is your Internet Manager aware of the short-term and long-term goals of the Service Department? Does he or she know why your collision center is better than the one across the street? Do they know what financing offers would be better to advertise to positively influence dealership profit?
These questions should all be considered when optimizing your website SEO text, homepage assets, landing pages, and specials. This type of information is likely to only come from the General Manager or Dealer Principal. Obviously the DP wears many hats, and wants their managers to make decisions that affect their department, but no one at the dealership has a handle on the big picture quite like them.
Dealer Principles: What will it take to get you involved with digital? Please let us know what roadblocks or opportunities exist when pondering these questions.
Internet Managers: I challenge you to print this article out and give it to your Dealer Principal. Let us know in the comments how they responded.