I could have called this blog entry “Don’t shoot yourself in the foot!” but I didn’t want people to think I was talking about gun safety when the real message is about digital marketing.
Here’s what happened: this week, I was shopping in a fairly good-sized chain store. I had gone there for a specific item I knew they carried, but another customer was there because they’d seen advertising for a sales event on social media.
They were particularly interested in a fairly pricey item (yes, it was a tablet computer, yes, I was in a gadget store again – I know, what a surprise!) but they couldn’t find it in the store anywhere. When they asked the sales associate about it, the sales associate shrugged their shoulders and said they couldn’t help. The customer pressed further, even getting out their phone to show the associate the relevant Facebook posting. Still no help: the associate said, “We have no control over what they say online, but I know we don’t have that tablet here.”
As you can imagine, the customer left the store fuming. It’s a safe bet she won’t be back – and chances are that she’ll tell her friends and colleagues to stay away as well.
Don’t let this happen to your company!
Your digital marketing efforts – your website and social media presence – have one primary role: to attract customer attention and, in the case of brick-and-mortar businesses, convince those customers to come into your store. It’s essential that your online messaging and your in-store experience be in alignment. Nothing is more fatal to the small business owner’s bottom line than disappointed customer expectations.
What does this mean for you on a day-to-day basis? For starters, your team needs to know about any sales events or pricing incentives you’re promoting online. Make sure you have adequate supplies of inventory to satisfy customers attracted by your marketing. Communicate your expectations clearly to your team so your online marketing efforts are aligned with what you’re doing in the store.
You’ll need to be proactive as a leader here: you can’t assume your in store team is checking your business’ website on their own. Make raising their awareness of digital marketing campaigns an ongoing part of your team communications. That’s the best way to avoid the brand-killing disconnect I saw at the gadget store. Knowing what customers are expecting is an essential first step of providing superior customer service!