Your website is the most valuable tool you have to advertise and promote your sale, so – you want to make sure that you are doing the right things and not the wrong things.
I get more emails, comments and pull-asides regarding one particular website infraction. So, I thought I’d pass along what my customers tell me so that you aren’t inclined to make the same mistake... more people have told me how they will not attend, shop, consign or volunteer at some sales because they feel that the sale organizers are being "sneaky and dishonest."
What on earth have the sale organizers done to give people this impression and turn away so many customers? The sale organizers have incorporated a different consignment sale’s name in their key word search, meta tags and links to attract traffic to their own website.
So what does it mean when I say keywords, meta tags and links? When you set up a website, you can set up words that search engines will associate your website with. Those words will help search engines determine if your website is pertinent to a search that has been requested. You don't have to have those words on your site. You don't have to have live pages on your site. You only need to list what words with which you want your website associated.
These hidden pointers are not to be confused with public links and public acknowledgements. Within the content of your web pages feel free to link to another sale because you like them or because they helped you. It's great to acknowledge someone you like or give credit where credit is due – but always within the content of your web pages.
From a business perspective, here’s what piggy-backing upon someone else’s success indicates to your customers:
- Your sale can't stand on its own.
- You have poor marketing/business skills.
- You practice dishonesty and aren’t trustworthy.
- Your sale is a failure.
So why do I tell you this? Because if I’ve heard it once,I’ve heard it a thousand times – customers despise underhanded business practices.
I don't practice deception and neither should you. It's like the story of the tortoise and the hare. You may initially receive a boost, but in the long run, you'll lose. Hard work, honesty and integrity always succeeds. Always.
If your sale name and domain are being used in a sneaky way, don't fret – the other sale organizers are telling the world they can not compete without your help. You could have your lawyer have them remove it, but are you kidding me – there’s nothing like the satisfaction of having other sale organizers tell the world that you have a better sale than they do! I mean, why else would they need to hide your sale name on their website? You can't buy publicity like that. I can guarantee you that when you search for Lowe's, Home Depot doesn’t display in the search results listing. Why? Because both Lowe's and Home Depot think they are the BEST, and therefore don't need to piggy back from the other to succeed.
Your customers aren't stupid. Don't think they'll be easily deceived.
To wrap up: be a sale organizer with integrity and don't practice deceptive marketing strategies when you start your consignment sale.