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Don’t become a Closing Down Sale

I recently tweeted this:

I was sitting on the bus the other day, innocently minding my own business, when we drove past this store. The shop front was plastered with ‘CLOSING DOWN’, ‘EVERYTHING MUST GO!’. I thought I would have a look at their web presence, perhaps out of curiosity or perhaps to test some personal theories.

The company had Facebook and Twitter, and, content-wise, their web presence was up to date. Overall, their digital strategy was not bad, I suppose. Or, rather, it was not as bad as it could have been.

So, what went wrong?

If we asked the owner why he was being forced to close down, there could be a thousand reasons. But, in terms of digital marketing, we can assume that this company is guilty, just as many other companies are, of not channeling innovation or creativity into their digital strategy. They remain mediocre in this respect. Most business have a functioning website, as well as the main social media channels. But the real question is: do they have a WOW factor? Or, even better, an OMFG factor? The answer is very simple, no.

Let’s have a look at this fantastic infographic that I came across on Mashable (Six ways to make customers fall in love your brand):

What I want to focus on is #1.

46% of people say a website’s design is the number one factor that discerns the credibility of a company. That’s a huge number! Just think about how many clients you could be losing each hour, simply because of your web design. I would say that most websites are the same; they’re pretty commonplace. You have images of handshakes and smiling men in suits, and often there’s bold text that says something along the lines of: ‘we are the best’, ‘best costumer service’ or, my personal favourite, ‘we offer high quality service’. So, if websites are usually pretty shallow, how about blogs and content strategy? Don’t even go there.

Your digital strategy should be different, and certainly must be characteristic of you or your brands philosophy. Some readers commented on my article, How To Grow Your Businessthat they thought that I might sound arrogant. These blogs are my personal opinion. If you want fast and easy solutions, don’t read IQDigital’s blog. Go and find articles on How To Be Rich In 5 days. I applaud you for reading my articles and changing the way you market your business and develop your digital strategy.

Coming back to my tweet above, you can find a thousand reasons to explain why a brand fails. But, it terms of digital marketing, it all rests on top quality content and a unique context, because this is what attracts and excites clients.

The best place to start is at the beginning. Go back to basics. Begin with your digital strategy and website. Don’t try and edit your current one because it will cost you much more. Once you’ve created a new digital strategy, write down all your targets. What do you want to achieve in the next 12 months? What campaigns are going to run your content strategy on? What content will you share on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn? This is going to take time. It’s not like it was in 1995, when you could produce an advertising campaign and wait for the clients to roll in. Its 2014, and the game has changed. Now you have to learn how to play it. There is a lot of hard work to be done. To survive and potentially dominate your market, you have to put in a lot of effort. Because if you don’t do it now, somebody else will.

You might be happy with your mediocre web presence now, but one day you will realise that you can’t run your business anymore because you’ve run out of clients.

I will give you another example. I buy suits often. I look for good good quality suits, as well as good quality customer service. There is a store near my house in North London called Mertotex. They carry very good brands and the prices are decent for a good suite. I like supporting local businesses, but this brand is not doing themselves any favours. Their website has been under construction for over a year now. And, of course, they have zero social media presence.

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Running out of patience with them, and wanting to help out a fellow company, I gave them a call about a year ago. I asked them if they needed help with their digital strategy. The gentlemen told me that his son runs their website and social media activities. So, it seems that they are still building it. Recently, I was walking past their store and saw a few things that caught my eye, so I walked in to have a look. Nobody even asked me if I needed help. Perhaps it was because I was dressed casually, and they assumed that I wouldn’t buy anything. Another day, I needed a handkerchief because I had lost one, so I walked in to ask them if they had the same colour. They said that I needed to buy the matching tie as well, as it only came in a set. This frustrated me a lot. I lost time walking to their store, only to be told that they did not have what I wanted. Wouldn’t it be easier for both them and me if I could just check online, instead of going all the way to their shop and wasting both of our time?

Let’s have a look at this brands:

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Huge difference. You might argue that they probably have a significant budget, but in order to get there you have to start from the basics.

If businesses continue this attitude, then they too will have to add a closing down sign to their shop windows. People don’t shop the way that they used 10 years. Today, we google first. We browse and check online before we go and buy what we fancy. Most brands just don’t get it, which is a shame. On the other hand, though, it’s excellent for brands who do get it, because they are the ones who will excel.

Tell me what you think. What’s your opinion? Enter your comments below or tweet them to me.

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