Experienced a marketing FAIL of quite impressive fashion this weekend. Was reading the Sunday paper and saw an ad that caught my eye. "Hmmm... looks interesting", I thought, "I'll give them a call".
Now here's the thing—I happened to be out and about and knew that trying to look all the details up on my iPhone was going to be fiddly (not to mention not super-fast connection) PLUS I know what I'm like—I always have questions and know from experience it's a lot easier and quicker to talk to a 'real person' (and also I wanted their opinion, too).
So looking at the ad I saw 2 calls to action clearly printed there: Visit: www.Iwon'tembarrassthembyprintingthename.com or Call us on: 123 456 we won't be there 789
Only 2 options in the ad, so I picked the latter and dialled the number. Now, it was around 4.00pm on Sunday when I dialled so I knew I might be out of luck with the office being open—Sunday trading hours being 'til 4.00 or 4.30pm for most places—but I thought I'd find out. Turns out they DO NOT OPEN ON SUNDAY AT ALL.
So here is this travel company—spending what I am sure is £hundreds if not £thousands for this ad, not actually able to speak to anyone who responds to the advert they see. It's a SUNDAY newspaper, so I'm guessing you (and I am now addressing the marketing department of said travel company) KNOW that when you book the ad. Title of the publication is a bit of a give-away after all: 'The Sunday Times'. And you don't open to take enquiries on that day?
Now yes, I know there is also the website address in the ad, but there is also a PHONE NUMBER. The only possible thing I can do on the phone is leave a message to get sent a brochure (and be told the office opening hours). I can't actually talk to anyone or book a holiday...
So here's what I'd recommend:
- Remove the phone number from the ad in the Sunday paper and ask people to ONLY go to the website (and let them know there is a chance to get someone to call them back, or request a brochure, or ask questions when they are on the website).
- Keep the ad the same but also put opening hours so I don't waste my time calling on a Sunday
- Get someone in the office on a Sunday to answer the phone!
- Advertise only in newspapers on days that you are open—perhaps a Saturday newspaper would make more sense :)
I am not saying you (or this company) needs to run a 24-hour business—that's why websites were invented after all—but let us know if you're not going to be open and don't waste our time. Have your opening hours for phone calls in your ad OR point us only to your website (and let us know what we can do there).
Now, in this case I will actually call the company another day because I am interested enough in their trips BUT I bet not everyone else will. They probably picked the next company along who WAS open on Sunday and spoke to them.
So the moral of this marketing tale is match your adverts and calls to action with outcomes that are actually possible. Don't tell people to call you if you're closed, or at least let them know when you're open! Make it clear they can ask questions or contact you through your website, and perhaps provide a 'call back' option if that works better for you.
Whatever you do, don't waste money on an ad you can't answer!
Want to talk more about this?