Mastering your digital dealership is critical to your business’s success. Like most things, however, mastery in the digital space requires an ever-evolving skillset that conforms to infinitely advancing technology and the data that goes along with it. It requires an openness of mind and an eagerness to learn and improve. Subscribe to this philosophy of learning and you’re on your way to becoming your dealership’s digital rock star.
The following six steps will help you build toward mastery of your digital dealership, and fortify your role as a crucial cog in the business’s operations. They work in order so don’t expect to learn or employ all of them at the same time. Gradually build your skills by adding the steps as your skills evolve. Let’s get started:
1. Communicate digital performance proactively.
Always make it easy for your dealership’s executive team to understand the successes that are attributable to digital performance. And, no, I’m not just talking about leads.
Develop a template that shows performance and trending through a number of metrics that can be easily shared and quickly understood. These metrics should include:
– Vehicle details page (VDP) views.
– Most viewed models for the week.
– Average # of VDPs viewed per visit.
– Average # of pages per visit.
– Average time on site.
– Callout specific performance of key landing or resource pages.
– Digital Advertising performance & attribution to overall performance.
2. Engage key managers in your dealership in ongoing content conversations.
You’re likely to continuously evaluate pages, specials, merchandising, the dealership blog, branding, and content. Don’t do it alone. Create a twice-a-month check-in with other dealership managers to make certain that your content aligns with current campaigns and reflects company priorities. Run these semi-monthly check-ins efficiently with clear expectations, an agenda, and clear outcomes. You’ll be giving your managers an opportunity to influence your content, while becoming more influential yourself.
3. Inform sales teams about digital demand.
We know that traditional leads are declining. More people are buying cars from you without form fill outs, emails, and phone calls. This is due in large part to the digital experience you’re providing shoppers as they search for cars online. Your dealership must continue to deliver an exceptional digital experience in order to continue to attract high quality shoppers. And you’ve got to follow customers’ paths as they navigate your inventory pages.
Your sales consultants can benefit from knowing which VDPs are getting the most activity from one week to another because these are the vehicles that are likely to get fresh ups and inquiring phone calls.
Make your sales consultants aware of which key inventory is getting activity, and work with leadership to ensure that they are fully up to speed on everything about those particular cars – from special features to physical location on the lot.
Your sales teams will quickly learn that you are providing more than just leads; you are the key to floor traffic.
4. Create an unforgettable service department presence on your website.
Hopefully, every dealership website has a service page. But in this day and age, it needs to be more than just a listed phone number and hours of operation. Just like other elements of your website, the service page needs fresh content like specials, technician bios, perhaps even its own blog.
With a basic service department page built, now is a great opportunity to get this customer resource going full steam. To do so, first read “7 Ways to Grow Your Fixed Ops Digital Performance.” Next, connect with your Digital Advisor who can share additional strategies.
5. Be a part of advertising budget discussions.
With your digital efforts making strong inroads with the rest of the dealership staff, it’s time to be part of the business’s advertising budget conversations. Lobby for a digital advertising allocation that will sufficiently generate awareness and local demand, and will ensure that your brand stays in front of prior website visitors.
6. Don’t stop listening, learning, and growing.
It’ll take some time to go through the sequence listed above. Continue to listen to key players in your organization, and identify opportunities to update and evolve your digital dealership to solve problems or grow business. Consume any training offered by your digital provider. Read blogs, attend learning events. Remember, digital is always evolving, so it’ll take some vigilance to stay on top of it.
Your dealership’s future success depends on the strength of every department within the business. Digital, however, will continue to evolve as the primary driver of the dealership’s health. As the person responsible for this part of this business, there are always opportunities not only to prove digital’s ROI, but to exceed sales and service expectations.
Patrick Wyld is Learning Solutions Manager at Dealer.com