I'm not one to sugarcoat things, and I'm not going to start now. If you spend just 15 minutes looking at food supply manufacturer and distributor websites, there's one general commonality. Many of them are bad.
There reason? There are a few possible scenarios. So let's go through each one.
You don't know your website is bad.
While highly unlikely, this is certainly possible. I'm sure there is someone out there who doesn't use the web, so he probably doesn't realize his site is bad, if he even has one at all.
The response to this is to educate yourself. At some point you learned enough about your foodservice business to take on a leadership role, and that education doesn't (or shouldn't) stop. As Jack Welch said, "The moment the rate of change outside an organization exceeds the rate of change within it, the end is near."
You know your website is bad but don't care.
This is what happens when the people who don't know their site is bad finally see the light, if only just a little. They know their site is bad, but they're still not willing to admit the negative impacts their websites are having on their businesses. And the reason for this is simple.
How do you know what kind of business you're missing until you actually have that business? In terms of websites and content creation, if you're basing your decisions on what everyone else is doing and are waiting to make changes until you absolutely must, it's already too late.
Someone else already picked up that flour business. Someone else is already selling vegetarian meal options to your customers. Someone else is already teaching them about chocolate.
As I've asked before, if you invested in placing a listing in the Yellow Pages in 1998, why would you not consider content creation in 2018, much less a basic platform to host it?
You know your website is bad but don't have the money or budget to change it.
In many ways, this is the same as not caring.
Business, life for that matter, comes down to choices. Maybe you need to spend more money this year on warehouse upgrades. Maybe you need to focus on the production line. Just please don't tell me you'd rather spend money on a bunch of print catalogs or sales sheets that are going to sit outside the utility closet on a rusty rack collecting dust.
If those are your preferred ways to spend marketing dollars, it's basically the same as saying, "I don't care about my digital presence."
Investing in your digital storefront is just that. It's an investment. But it's also one that can deliver a clear ROI on what you spend. It's time to embrace the way people are buying in 2018, and use the tools available to you in order to take advantage of it.
You know your website is bad but don't have the knowledge to change it.
This is the stage of website awareness evolution before someone decides to take action. There are a couple of choices.
First, you can rebuild your website in-house. You can hire a marketing person to take over not only your website but also all the other things that need to go with it: email marketing, social media marketing, aligning marketing with sales, search engine optimization, conversational marketing, and figuring out how to best utilize traditional marketing methods just to name a few important skills.
In many cases, doing this in-house makes complete sense, especially if you can find an amazing talent at an affordable price. In other situations, typically when foodservice businesses do not have the time to spend on learning the necessary skill or when they don't have the money to fully invest in a full-time person who has the entire package of required marketing skills, hiring an outside agency can make sense.
[Learn more about the honest differences between hiring internally and working with an outside marketing agency.]
The bottom line is it's an important decision that will become even more important in the future when your food supply manufacturer website isn't just something you think you need, it's something you have to have in order to survive in a world where buying patterns are changing.
Do you get annoyed when someone calls you during dinner? How do you think a chef feels when your salesperson waltzes through the back door unannounced.