A local coin dealer in Dover, Delaware pulled off a publicity stunt that got him some pretty good national attention. He "spent" a penny worth $500 and announced it to the world, or at least to Dover. The world was listening however and he got more publicity than he probably imagined. A great investment of only $500, right?
This could be the end of the story, but I wanted to know more.
I found the guy’s web site. First thing I clicked on was the Contact Us page. Wow. Closed. Your 'contact us' page on your web site is closed? What the heck? Clicked on Inventory…closed. Wantlist…closed. Some of them opened into new browser sessions with no other Nav and no chance to use the back button. There was content on some of the pages, but nothing on some of the key pages. (read more about the importance of the contact and about pages by following the links to Bryan Eisenberg's ClickZ articles in this story).
OK, I finally spotted a navigation link to the tale of the $500 penny. The link was the 2nd to last on the left-nav list. Somebody found the penny today and they will be splitting the $500 reward with friends. Cool. Why wasn't it on the home page? I can't give you a link to the exact page because the site doesn't work that way. Whatever I click on, I just get the main url.
We tell our clients to make sure ALL of their messaging is aligned. Don’t run a campaign (advertising or public relations, or even a publicity stunt) to drive people to your web site without making sure your web site is in order. Make sure people FIND what they are expecting to find. The real-world equivalent would be to have an residential open house and leave dirty clothes and pizza boxes lying about in the living room.
The internal message must be, “Our guests will be arriving soon…let’s clean up around here!”
My evaluation of the terrific $500 publicity stunt is that it generated much more than $500 in lost sales because of reduced confidence in the business. The business owner will think it was a success because some people mentioned it and his friends thought it was cool to get all that free publicity. Serious coin collectors left the site shaking their heads. He’ll never be able to measure those results.