Beat the Path for Your Customers
The old “build a better mousetrap” story, where customers will seek you out if you have better products and services, doesn’t work on the internet. Even if you can prove your products and services are the best, and offer them at the best price, you have to place your web site in your customer’s path before they will notice it.
Customers look for products and services differently on the web. In the real world, someone looking for shoes will go to the shoe store and, even if she has something specific in mind, she will probably look at all the styles on display. She has come all this way, and she can’t get to another shoe store too soon anyway, so might as well check out everything there is to check out.
On the web, shoe shoppers will be more specific - “red evening shoes”. They will not waste too much time on anything other than exactly what they are looking for. If they do a web search for “red evening shoes”, they are more likely to click on a link that says “red evening shoes”, avoiding even close matches like “red shoes” or “evening shoes”.
Why? Because they can.
Back in the real world, customers don’t know if a shoe store has red evening shoes until they visit. Not so on the web. When they search for red evening shoes, they will find a link that offers exactly that - and choose that link.
It’s the path of least resistance for them. Why waste time with a site that only lists evening shoes, perhaps never finding red ones, when they could visit a site that offers exactly what they want.
The path doesn’t end there. Once they click on your link, they want to see the red evening shoes, not your home page with your sale items. If they do not arrive at a page that confirms they are still on the path to red evening shoes, it will increase the chance that the shopper will go off looking for another path.
Your task, if you were a shoe retailer, would be to make sure customers identify your web site as worthy of visiting whenever they searched for any of your shoes, and then confirm their choice by giving them what they seek when they arrive.
In other words, you must beat the path to your door for your customers.