Eight Tips to Help Every New Dealership Internet Manager

It’s your first day as an Internet Manager. Congratulations! You are now in a position of leadership for your dealership’s digital presence, an opportunity that is exciting and challenging.

It is also a critical position for your dealership’s success. Here are eight tips to get you started:

1. Seek training opportunities.

You may have years of Internet management experience in a business development center, and perhaps you’ve even worked with your dealership’s automotive advertising agency before Combining your energy and experience with expertise on the toolset is foundational to your success. Use your vendor’s training resources.* Start with new client onboard training now to set the groundwork for your own performance, and your company’s success later.

2. Schedule a monthly performance review call with your Digital Advisor.

One of the most important steps you can take as a new Internet Manager is to engage with your digital advisor. Schedule a phone call during your first week to review and discuss the creation and execution of your dealership’s strategy and goals. Use the conversation to obtain insights from the perspective of your Digital Advisor – your partner in success. Get everyone on the same page as soon as you can through a thorough analysis of data to paint a complete picture of where your business has been, and where it should be headed.

3. Measure and communicate performance before the end of the month.

You’ve gone through some training and talked with your Digital Advisor about performance. Now it’s time to commit to ongoing performance analysis so you can manage for improvement. Pay close attention to webstats, leads, and monthly executive reports as well as website vehicle details page views. As Internet Manager, you will likely be celebrated for great performance and held accountable when digital goals are not met. Don’t wait until the end of a month to measure and communicate performance:

– Communicate lead and call volume to New and Used Sales Managers daily.
– Share vehicle details page (VDP) views and page view saves to sales teams as indicators of prospective customers browsing inventory.
– Reveal page view statistics for other key demand indicators such as the directions to the dealership page.
– Disseminate lead and call volume all month in a cumulative fashion
– Ensure that sales teams are executing on the opportunities digital is creating.

4. Conduct a website audit.

A website audit is an assessment of your digital property and an opportunity for improvement. Think beyond lead conversion and look to engagement by identifying the pages with the highest bounce rates, pages with low times on page, pages with outdated content, and any pages or navigation that don’t reflect your dealership positively and consistently.

Using these findings, pinpoint your lowest performing pages. They are driving down your total site performance Use the skills and advice you’ve gathered from training and conversations with your Digital Advisor to make improvements to these pages to engage customers and give them reason to continue on into your site. This is also a great time to ensure that only current dealership staff has access to the backend of your site.

5. Conduct a digital advertising assessment.

Begin building an advertising budget by identifying current ad spend on both digital and traditional media and analyzing its performance. Ask yourself: what can you spend on digital versus traditional and what returns can you expect from each? Do the dealership decision makers have the same insight into the power of digital advertising in your local market and in our industry? Do all managers in the dealership know the quantity of leads their department receives from digital advertising? Create buy-in for digital advertising by proving its value every single day and with every single lead.

6. Identify campaign opportunities.

As you begin to settle in to your new position, it’s time to move beyond micro changes and examine macro campaigns for your digital solution. Do you want to move specific models you may have overstocked? Do you want to promote a national sales event? Perhaps you want to start promoting Certified Pre-Owned, Parts, or Service? What is the right mix of specials, featured vehicles, slideshows, landing pages, and advertising?

Prioritization needs to involve dialogue with other managers in the dealership. A digital presence tightly aligned with the dealership’s established identity tends to perform the best. Once you have these priorities, ensure that expectations are consistent with your resources.

7. Grow your digital advertising budget.

Ninety-five percent of car shoppers are shopping for their next vehicle online. To grow your business, you need to optimize your dealership’s reach with digital advertising that targets your local market. To do this, allocate more advertising funding to digital. Communicate its proven value to your organization. Ask your Digital Advisor for resources for having this conversation.

8. Create high-level goals and strategy.

Once you’ve gotten your feet under you in your new position, and you’re able to see a broad view of your dealership’s objectives, create a set of cohesive, overarching goals and a strategy for how to achieve them.

Some of these items are immediately actionable, while others will take some time to establish. The most important thing is to continue to prove the value of digital by communicating its impact to the rest of the organization.

Patrick Wyld is Learning Solutions Manager at Dealer.com

*Dealer.com customers can access a library of resources on the Tutorial Page in ControlCenter, accessible by clicking on the Tutorials button from the Welcome Dashboard.