We are building a business plan for a new phase of our business. In the “learn by example” mode of market research that means a lot of time looking at other bakery and crêperie websites and their use of social media. Some of them are truly appalling.
There are so many self-inflicted marketing injuries on the internet. Here are few favorites:
- Hidden information? What city? How do we contact you? What do you want to say to the site visitor in those vital first few seconds before they click away?
- Websites with internal links that lead nowhere. Especially important trust building content or calls to action like like “Franchise Information” and “Special Offers”
- Websites that have “404 pages” or better, “Internal Server Error. Please contact administrator.” Sorry, your readers are not going to waste their time debugging your site.
- Picture galleries with one picture from 2009
- Event calendar with no events. How very sad.
- Blogs with no new posts since the WhateverFest of August 2011
- FAQ or other information plagiarized from another website. If the Catering FAQ, for example looks familiar, chances are it is. What does that say about the food or service?
- Incredibly pretentious/bogus claims – especially for ‘plans’ or huge franchise fees for a business that is 2 years old with ONE location. Really? Sadly, you’re only fooling yourself.
This does not apply just to crêpes, bakeries or caterers, of course. Recently a storefront dessert shop closed here in Salem. Looking at their online presence gave some clues as to the failure:
- Facebook page started 2009. Last update July 2011
- Website with links going nowhere
- Last Foursquare checkin 13 months ago
Not suggesting a cause here, merely a correlation.
There is a large circle:
- Success comes from profitable sales.
- Sales come from customers.
- Customers come from effective* marketing activities
- See step 1.
*Effectivene activities are: Timely Accurate and Relevant TAR
If a consumer-facing business cannot manage to market, then the are on a path to putting up the “Closed sign”
Look at your online presence. What does it say about you? Is it fresh? acurate? Relevant? Does it tell your story? If not, you know what to do.