How to Waste Money and Annoy Potential
By Barry Harrison
Thursday, January 20, 2005; 2:00pm EST
Why do some companies bid on keywords for products they don�t even
sell? Or fail to provide the basic information people need to make
the decision to buy? Here�s a cautionary tale-- with a happy ending.
Has this ever happened to you?
I�m looking online for lamp shades. I go to Google and click on the
top Sponsored Link in the right column: Expo.com. I�m taken to their
�Lighting and Fans� page. There are 29 links in the left navigation,
but no lamp shades. So I do a keyword search.
Products Found = 0.
All I can do is wonder why they wasted my time and their money, and
move on to the next ad.
Close, but no cigar.
Clicking on the second ad takes me to a home page with a �Shades�
tab. I click on that and arrive on a page with
information about sizes and a link to the lamp shade collection.
I start browsing and find one I�m interested in. The text instructs
me to �Click on lamp image for detail.� I guess they mean lamp shade
image. I click, and to my surprise, I see the
exact same thumbnail I was looking at, but now I have four color
choices and an �ad to cart� button.
OK, I�m a designer. I can appreciate subtlety. But what�s the
difference between White, Off-White, Beige and Coffee? All this site
shows me is a little grey photo-- but �Dirty� isn�t one of the color
I see the toll-free phone number at the top of the page. I call
(during their normal business hours) and get voicemail. They say my
call is very important to them, but I�m not so sure...
Third time�s the charm?
Back to Google, click on another ad which takes me to a page with
lamp shades (YAY!). I can sort by nine different criteria, but even
so, I don�t see exactly what I want.
There�s a link to talk to a lighting consultant. I�m skeptical, but
I call. Someone answers the phone! I explain what I want and I�m
told I need a custom shade. This company doesn�t make them, but the
consultant refers me to two
other sites where I can order custom-made shades.
Even though I didn�t find what I was searching for, I really
appreciate this experience. I�d be happy to return to this site and
do business with this company in the future.
The moral of this story.
Have some respect for your customers. Think about their needs and do
everything you can to meet them. If you�re advertising a product for
sale it should be available on your site. If you expect people to
make a choice, provide
the information and pictures they need to feel comfortable making a
And even if you can�t make the sale today, you can and should offer
a good customer experience because there�s always tomorrow.
About the Author
Barry Harrison is the author of "REDiTIPS" eMarketing Newsletter and a
partner in Resolve Digital, Web Strategy for the Real World.
Engaging Web design, Effective Internet Marketing, Essential Content
Management Tools, visit his site at http://www.resolvedigital.com or