By Brad Pierce, President Restaurant Equipment World
There’s a line from the movie Field of Dreams that goes, “If you build it, they will come.” While this may be true for a ballpark, it couldn’t be further from the truth when it comes to a foodservice equipment supplier’s web site.
This is the reality I know all too well personally. After spending months developing my company’s first site, I eagerly looked at the visitor logs a few weeks after it went live. To my shock, I had attracted a total of 10 visitors, nine of which I’m quite sure were family members. I realized that I needed to do some promotion quickly or the world wouldn’t know about the great content I had developed. The tools have changed since those early days of the web, but the premise is the same: You must get out there and promote your site to make it successful so that operators can find you and the equipment you’re promoting.
Ensuring that your site is listed with the Google and Bing search engines is essential, but this process can be time consuming as you work to gain relevant rankings and is often competitive and costly, especially if you’re using these companies’ paid advertising services. Starting a company blog on the other hand and syndicating your content to the blog search engines is, however, a quick and inexpensive way to start getting your name and site out there.
News releases can also work well, especially if they’re distributed via one of the many established online press release agencies. One caveat is to ensure that the information being presented in your release is relevant and interesting to readers. Sure, it’s alright to toot your own horn to attract operators or promote your equipment, but be sure to spell out the value you’re actually providing and why it’s relevant to them or it’s likely to be dismissed as a sales pitch disguised as a press release.
Lastly, foodservice equipment dealers need to engage in social media networking. Start with Facebook and Twitter, since those have a minimal barrier to entry and the largest audience sizes. Don’t just head right into promoting your site, however, or you’ll likely be blocked by people instantly. Instead, engage in the ongoing discussions, form personal relationships and get to know your existing and potential operator-customers Once you’ve established trust, then — and only then — should equipment dealers promote your brand and products, and ask operators to visit your site. Before you know it, they will come to see what you’ve built — and they’ll bring their colleagues and business associates with them, as well.