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My web marketing tantrum. By Genevieve, aged 2

My two-year-old is screaming and crying and refusing to get back in the car – and it’s all because of poor web marketing!

It’s usually me that gets frustrated when I see companies failing to get their web marketing strategy right – but today my daughter was the one venting her anger.

We’d just been to see a new day nursery. Like most potential new nursery clients, I’d checked them out on the web before going.

They have a great website – tons of useful information, informative pictures, links to a glowing Ofsted report, social media engagement and testimonials from happy mums and dads.

So I emailed them via their enquiry form, which asked me what I needed. The auto-responder pinged back with a message saying someone would get back to me within 24 hours – great! But 24 hours, plus several days, I still hadn’t heard back, so I rang.

“Oh, you’re the one who emailed,” they said (in a way that made me think I was literally “the one” person who had ever emailed them). They apologised for not getting back to me, explaining they didn’t check their e-mail very often and suggested I come in and take a look around with my daughter.

Now, had they read the email they would have seen I wanted to come because I need a place right now for my daughter.

When I arrived, it looked fantastic – Gen loved it too. But when I asked when Gen could start, I was told there were no places available until September.

The Web Marketing ABC

Cue tantrum. Not from me, though I felt like it, but from Gen who was not happy that we were leaving such a nice place as soon as we’d arrived. I wasn’t too happy I’d taken a morning out for no reason.

The thing is, if they’d read my email I could saved a journey – and a tantrum – and they might have got a client in September if I could find an interim solution. Instead, they had one unhappy mum and one very grumpy toddler.

This scenario is all too familiar – businesses making an investment in the web, then undoing all their good work by falling at the last hurdle.

Your website works on three levels – we’ve talked about it before – firstly you need to get the core functionality and usability of the site right, making sure it is fit for purpose. The next level is ensuring the site supports and promotes your key marketing messages.

The third level – and the one where most businesses who fail to make the most of the web fall down – is using your website as a marketing tool.

Like this nursery, you can have the best design in the world, a compelling marketing message and a carefully planned out strategy – but if you don’t check emails you will lose business.

Your website is a tool, it’s there to be used – by you, not just by clients. You need to understand what tasks the site is meant to be supporting, but you have to do some of those tasks yourself.

If the site is meant to bring in enquiries, make sure you answer those enquiries promptly. If it’s meant to raise your profile online, make sure you are active on the site and in the wider web community – it is you who will make the links and create the community of users, not the site on its own.

Tantrum over – think I’ll have a lie-down and a glass of warm milk.

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