Do you get foodservice operators to take action?

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A really smart sales rep reminded recently that many of his customers don’t take action on links sent in email campaigns.  Or click on social media links.

Text links?  Forget it.

He suggested that my focus on creating online content relied on a wrong assumption.

Marketing folks think customers stare at computer screens all day like marketing people do,” he said matter-of-factly.  “They don’t!  My customers are not going to click on all the links you send out.”

OK, I might have been offended if… A) there wasn’t some truth to his statement; and B) he didn’t sell a bunch of product — but he does!

Most marketing metrics would dispute his analysis that few customers click on links.  Clearly, email and online content can be effective if it adds to customer knowledge that ultimately builds preference for a brand.

But it’s also true that links, shares and retweets have become white noise for busy people— especially B2B customers like restaurant operators.  Too much of a good thing can happen — like the free-and-easy ways to pass along content just for the heck of it.

Take action means many things

I came to realize a “link” was a matter of interpretation with this rep.  His solution was to convert content we create for online consumption into brief PDFs.

“They’ll open a PDF attachment and look at it if it comes directly from me.”

Of course, clicking an attachment isn’t much different than selecting a link in the body of an email in terms of the physical motion!  But an attachment is a world apart from a web link in this rep’s mind.

There are many people (and not just older ones!) who remain more comfortable with “paper” — even if the document is digital.

Perhaps a PDF holds more value for those in relationship-based sales like foodservice because reps (young and old) like to pass along “tangible” assets to help customers.   An attachment, they say, seems more meaningful.

So, as our meeting broke up, we agreed to create PDF versions of key original content to the arsenal of sales pieces that reps can attach to customer emails.

We’ll see.  He believes the idea will drive significant incremental sales in a short period of time.  If so, the one-minute conversion step to create a PDF just might add a new level of “clickability.”