The Web For Blog

Internet marketing observations, perspectives, tips and tricks for your education and enlightenment.

The Digital Disconnect

Mark Kawabe - Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Yesterday I sat for several hours in a coffee shop waiting for my trailer hitch to be installed. How I came to be there is interesting. I think it was because of a digital disconnect between the company's website and its staff.

The online order system for this store allows a customer to set a date for their hitch installation and says a store representative will call to set a time. Nobody had called, so I called instead. The representative I spoke to said she was surprised I hadn't received a call but that there was still time to have the installation done that day.

When I arrived, the representative at the store who checked me in told me I was supposed to be there at 7:00 a.m. Upon hearing that the online instructions said someone from the store would call to set a time, she said that wasn't how the process works in her understanding. Two different staff, two different perspectives on how the system worked.

It's important to ensure your real-world practices and policies match the policies you state online. We all intend to do what we say. Making sure your online and real-world identities match helps create the confidence customers need to buy from you again and to refer your business to their friends and families.


What Level Playing Field?

Mark Kawabe - Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Remember those heady days when people used to announce that "the internet has leveled the playing field"? Well, it's still kind of true. The abundant existence of online tools to help entrepreneurs and smaller companies get their message out to their target audience means that there are no longer significant technology or cost barriers preventing small companies from getting bigger.

That being said, the playing field is still not a level one for several reasons.

  1. The DIY Mindset- small companies start small and most of them stay small if they make it past the first five years of life. I believe the mindset of the owners prevent them from growing their companies in a meaningful way. Many take on too many tasks that prevent them from developing their core strengths. Bookkeeping, graphic design, printing and website development are a few categories that come to mind. It reminds me of the saying "Just because you can doesn't mean you should".

  2. Budget - closely tied to point #1, small companies are loathe to spend money unless it's guaranteed to produce results. The flipside of this is that they then do things themselves, not realizing the damage they do to their brand and in the long-run, to their companies.

  3. Knowledge - There are a lot of tools available at little to no cost that companies can use to market themselves online. Many companies either don't know they exist or don't know how to use them effectively. A little bit of knowledge can go a long, long way. An example of this is with online metrics. There are many ways one can measure how effective one is being online but most companies don't even know how many people are visiting their website.

  4. Willingness to Change - Many companies do the same thing, year in and year out, getting largely the same results as they've always gotten. As long as you're happy with that, then life's wonderful. If you want to grow, you have to be open to doing things differently.

There's a lot of new-age speak about how your intention determines your outcome. I think this is a good place to start. You should intend great things for your business. What I suggest is to clearly define your intended outcome and then think about the ways you're going to achieve it. Identify internal and external roadblocks and work on eliminating or neutralizing them. Take the time to learn how to EFFECTIVELY use the tools that are available to you and start working on your plan. That will be much better than intending great things and fumbling around without a plan on how you'll achieve them.