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In 1995 I was made the Internet manager at a dealership simply because of my ability to use a computer. The store that I was at saw the potential of the Internet but as so many dealers in the beginning we had very little knowledge of how to implement a process or department. A lot has changed since then, but as the saying goes a lot has stayed the same. I have spent the last 5 years talking to dealerships about Internet Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, web 2.0 and now even the concept of web 3.0. In that time I have found dealerships that are at the leading edge of these subjects and dealerships that are still way behind.
Quite often in my discussions with dealers the topic of how difficult technology is to learn comes up, how they don't have the time to learn, or there just isn't any interest to try. The Internet is definitely here to stay, and to utilize it's full potential a dealership needs to have an Internet philosophy from the top down. You can no longer rely on having a person that can "handle" that for you with zero oversight based on the fact you don't even know what they do. In the book “The 7 habits of highly effective people” by Stephen Covey, Dr. Covey discusses the concept of the circle of concern vs. the circle of influence. The circle of concern being things that we have little or no no control over; like the economy or what the dealership in the next town is doing this weekend. The circle of influence covers the things that are within our control, and when focused on can expand over time. With web 2.0 and Internet marketing being so important in todays market environment I would like to suggest that becoming proficient in the skills that are needed to be competitive in this arena is well within your circle of influence. To that end I have put together these three videos as the first three steps to taking charge of your Internet marketing department. Once a week I will add at least one more video to build on these three so that in a short period of time you will be comfortable making marketing and vendor decisions that will impact your dealership. Although my hope is that owners and upper management will take the 30 minutes or less per day to expand their knowledge as it relates to the technology that is available, there will be information for anyone at any level that is interested.
So where do you start?
Regardless of your knowledge level as it relates to these subjects my intent with these videos is to simplify your efforts with tools and tricks that I have found to be very helpful. These first videos will guide you through setting up a workspace so that you can accomplish more tasks in less time. With this set up you will be able to learn and manage your Internet marketing efforts in about 30 minutes per day.
Step One: Creating an iGoogle page as an Internet marketing dashboard
You may have heard of iGoogle before or even see it as you log into your Gmail account. This video is to demonstrate how to use it as a dashboard and learning tool. You will be able to keep an eye on your Google Alert emails, rss feeds, information from your Youtube channel, dealership schedule with Google Calendar, web based spreadsheets and documents, and a multitude of other things all in one spot. The video is how to set up a Gmail account and iGoogle page with a few widgets that we will add onto later.
Step 2: A Youtube channel to manage your online videos and create video SEO
So you know how important video is, but how do you maximize your efforts. Setting up a free YouTube channel will help you leverage every video you create and measure the traffic that is generated to it, Of course we all know the value of video as it relates to selling cars on the Internet. This video is a how to set up your own Youtube channel. A Youtube channel will allow you to organize and network your videos to your clients and the world.
Step 3: Google Chrome to make a one click work space to save time
I am using Google Chrome as an example here on how to use a browser to manage multiple websites for your Internet marketing work. You can use Fire Fox or even Internet Explore for this if you want to. I have chosen Chrome because it has been designed to run multiple web based applications at one time.