Most of the dealerships we encounter these days seem to have some type of Internet Manager. Every dealership is different, so why play by the rules? We’re going to throw down both sides of this debate to help you decide if your dealership needs an Internet Manager, some agency partners you trust, or both!
What is an Internet Manager?
An Internet Manager is often seen in one of two lights: a liaison between your business and internet vendors, or a jack-of-all-trades who manages all of your dealership’s web to-dos. Either way, an Internet Manager will be responsible for your website, digital marketing, e-commerce stores, social media, and your overall web presence. The good news is that having a talented individual in this position, as well as great vendors is often the perfect solution.
Now that we know what they’re responsible for, let’s figure out if a dedicated Internet Manager is right for your dealership.
You Know You Need the Web, But Have no Idea Where to Start
With a large business such as a dealership, you’re often running in ten different directions. If you know that the interwebs can be useful, and that’s the extent of it, having a professional dedicated to your online efforts can be crucial to your success.
Playing off their strengths, this person will be able to aid your web efforts and choose the right vendors to help in areas where they need assistance. The right person will have a clear understanding of your business, and communicate with vendors easily. If your business has the budget, allow for an Internet Manager to set your goals, manage content in their star areas, and choose the best vendors to work with. Having these vendors on your side saves you the cost of an extra body on-site, and gives you access to experts with the skills to outline a strategic marketing plan for you.
Time and Autonomy
Does the lead visionary or business owner have the time to dedicate to being a liaison or managing all of these outlets? A leader that has the time and the skills to do this will be able to ensure that their vision is infused into web outlets with or without the assistance of vendors. A leader that doesn’t have the time and/or skills will need a second hand to make their digital dreams come true. A strong Internet Manager needs to have the autonomy to make decisions quickly and without having to run to the leader for answers. The vendors you work with will require trust, direction, and a clear understanding of your business goals. The person in charge of your web presence, be it an Internet Manager or another staff member, should be able to communicate those goals to vendors.
The Right Skillset
While it may seem easy to hire a marketer and call it a day, you need to be sure that this person is equipped to handle every facet of the job, and is able to admit if they’re missing part of this skillset. Graphic design, marketing, digital advertising, and SEO are all different specialties. If you have an Internet Manager with some of these mastered, having them work with external vendors on the ones they’re missing is a great solution. Many vendors employ a team of experts that each specialize in a few key areas—these are the folks you want on your side.
Often we see Internet Managers that think they know what they’re doing but are only scratching the surface. Sure, that cool new graphic is great, but a graphic with no alt tags is not only poor form but is also illegal in some Canadian provinces and US states! If you or your Internet Manager knows what you want, but lacks the skills to execute, it’s time to bring in the big guns and work with a vendor.
When You Need an Internet Manager
- You know that the Internet is important, but that’s it.
- Elements of your digital presence change daily. Have someone to make little changes when the hammer drops.
- You’re lacking the knowledge to fulfill your digital goals, but want the comfort of having someone in-house that is responsible for your business exclusively.
- You don’t have the time to either DIY properly, or communicate with vendors.
- When you need on-site tasks done frequently; this could be rotating stock photos, blogging from the driver’s seat (not literally - that’s dangerous and illegal), keeping up with your social media on a personal level, and making changes quickly and easily to website verbiage or content. Having someone who knows their way around these platforms is preferable to slotting odd jobs on your receptionist who might not be fully-equipped.
When You Don’t (When Vendor Partners Rock)
- You know what you need and have the time to communicate these needs with vendor partners.
- You want to ensure that every little detail is handled perfectly.
- Your Internet Manager says so! Rather than expecting an Internet Manager to have ten specialties, trust them when they say someone else could do it better.
- Your business wants to save on expenses or simply doesn’t have the cash to add another staff member. Skip the added payroll and bring in an agency with a team of experts.
- You want things done your way. Having an Internet Manager can be great, but if every time they need an answer they’re running to you, skip that step and communicate your goals directly to a skilled team of experts.
- Past experience. Specialized vendors with experience in your industry will be able to provide advice, top-notch service, and connections within the industry to help achieve your goals.
- You want to skip the middleman.
- You have a great vendor team. Our clients often call on us for advice outside of our regular duties and we’re happy to help. Sure, we manage your website, but would be happy to provide some tips for social media management! A true partner will be just that, someone you can count on to interact with your business on a personal level, with a true understanding of who you are and where you want to go.
How About Both?
The dealerships that have the clearest vision and most dominant digital presence often have someone in-house who knows their business and digital goals better than anyone else, and also knows when they need help from experts. Their main goal is to make sure you’re killin’ it online.
A manager is exactly that, a manager. This doesn’t mean that everyone can be expected to be an expert at everything. In having an Internet Manager and select vendor teams, you have someone accountable in-house, with experts to lean on for different specialties. Our team of experts would love to hear from you; leave your thoughts or questions in the comments!
Whitney Norrad is the collaborative partner and trusted liaison for dealer clients of FlexDealer. Account Manager duties aside, she enjoys cat gifs, making wine and convincing her spouse to buy more TMNT art for their home in St. Catharines.