As I drove home from work the other day, I noticed a new billboard advertising one of my favourite pubs here in the city. There really aren’t that many great places to go here in Winnipeg so I was thrilled to see them putting some dollars into a marketing campaign.
The billboard is eye catching, as it certainly caught my eye. Immediately I noticed that aside from a general “King Street of course!” (I guess people are to assume this is the street the pub is located) they’re advertising their web site. Awesome, I love it.
The next day, I decided to check out the new site. I wasn’t 100% sure I’d remembered the domain, so I did a Google search for “King’s Head Winnipeg”. The only results I got were directory listings. After four pages, I still hadn’t found this new site.
On a whim, I decided to try kingshead.ca and I was right. I was shocked to be greeted by this:
A temporary site? You’re launching an expensive marketing campaign (obviously, since they’re utilizing billboards which is not cheap) but you don’t have your web site online yet?
Wow. Okay first of all, it is aesthetically pleasing. I often cringe when I go to view local sites (unless of course it’s one of our own!) because you never know what level of quality you’re going to see in the design. So that’s great. But then the marketing side of me (definitely the dominant side) starts picking things apart.
- So Close, Yet So Far. What? What does this mean? Is site is close to launch or far from launching? As a user and customer, I’m very confused about the meaning of this statement. The fact that “yet so far” is a heavier font confuses me further.
- Where did that billboard say they’re located? Hey notice anything missing? Something that might be really important? OH! There’s no contact information on this temporary splash page. NO ADDRESS. No cross street, no nothing. So unless you already know where the King’s Head is, you’re probably going to bail and forget about.
I cannot fathom the loss in money and potential clientele with this massive fail. Yes it’s true, there may have been extenuating circumstances that lead for the web site to fall behind schedule. At that point, I would look at a couple options. You could either hold off with the rest of your marketing campaign or at least make sure some basic information is included on this temporary splash page. For instance, most obviously, a physical address. Another thing that would be awesome to add is an estimated date for launch. At least this encourages people to come back and check. As I mentioned earlier, some people may not wish to be put on a mailing list and could leave and never come back. What a missed opportunity.
In 2009 when almost all marketing campaigns include advertising a web site, it’s even more important that the web site is:
- Working correctly
- Including at least the very basic information clients are looking for
I know that for me, I often won’t give a company my business unless there’s been at least an attempt at a web site. If I see an ad for something and there’s no web site given, I automatically assume that the company doesn’t understand the importance of online marketing and I automatically lose respect for them and am much less likely to follow the call to action (which, without a web site, is usually a phone number or address. Sorry, I hate the phone and I like shopping from my couch).
So whenever you’re planning a marketing campaign, consider your web site to be the backbone, the foundation, the absolutely essential part of that campaign. If your site isn’t ready then your campaign isn’t either. And do FULL testing on your site before thrusting it out into the public spotlight. Did you check every page to make sure there are no typos (psssst… it’s “aisle” not “isle”)? Are all your forms and links working correctly? Do you have a QA process in place?
Don’t launch a marketing campaign guessing. Be sure and be confidence with your site. Give users the experience they’re looking for.