Is Your Website Patiently Awaiting Customers?

Patiently Awaiting Your ArrivalI couldn’t miss this sign on a local hotel chain (name obscured to protect the innocent) – “WELCOME: WE PATIENTLY AWAIT YOUR ARRIVAL.”

While I can kind of see what the manager responsible for this message was going for, all it did for me was conjure an image of dozens of happy, smiling employees sitting at the desk in a merrily-lit, but bleakly empty hotel lobby, as rooms upon rooms sat empty and the phone gave nary a ring.

Maybe it’s all the Seth Godin on the brain lately (I recently listened to “Small is the New Big” and have been chewing on different ways to be remarkable…), but this just seems all the wrong way to go about your business.

If you’ve got staff, use them! As much as I would love to be welcomed by your happy, patient people… it ain’t likely to happen, since I’m not probably not going to visit at all.

What makes this place better than the Marriot Courtyard down the street? Does it have better amenities? Stellar food? Better transport service? Room attendees that won’t steal my towels when I try to hang them up and use them more than once?

Sorry, your patient staff doesn’t make you any less forgettable among dozens of mediocre lodging experiences.

Unfortunately, I think this attitude prevails on websites, too. Many people seem to have a “build it and they will come” mentality when it comes to their website, all about pleasing what the business owner’s personal tastes are, but without a glimmer of attention for that of the customer’s.

You know what? I don’t care how much you love your eccentric design and cryptic navigation – I’m going to your competitor’s website because I can find what I’m looking for!

This same model applies to the marketing side of things, too. Building the coolest website in the world and just putting it out there, with the expectation that droves of interested customers will crash down the gates without any cohesive marketing strategy, is… well… not much of a strategy at all. A

nd if you’re just thinking about marketing your site as it’s ready to go live, it’s way, way too late.

So what’s the message here? Stop waiting around!

There are a million-million things in our modern digital lives that scream look-at-me-look-at-me-look-at-me-look-at-me. Your website needs to be a product of and exist in that world — but at the same time not be the “stick the foot in the door” salesperson of the last century.

Instead of patiently awaiting your customer’s arrival, concentrate on making your website a destination.