How To Grade a Website: Will It Flunk “The Mom Test”?

Have you ever gone to a client’s website and gotten lost? What did you do about it? If you’re a media advertising salesperson, it’s your responsibility.

radio advertising sales tip: radio salespeople should look at client websites

 Photo by iQoncept/dpc

I spent last week on the West Coast meeting with advertisers in partnership with a television station sales department. Preparing for the week, I spent time looking at each client’s website — 25 in all. Here’s what I found:

  • A lawyer’s site had the wrong address and phone number — she had moved to a different office.
  • A real estate agent’s site had no contact information at all.
  • A sporting good store’s site had drop-down menus for a variety of categories. “Baseball”, for example, had links for gloves, bats, balls, and helmets. But there was no information at any of the links.
  • A pet supply store’s website was down. That’s not the bad part. The bad part was that the station Account Executive had looked at it a week earlier, and it had been down then. The odds are good that it had been down for at least a week, and the client had no idea.

IN THIS NEXT PART, I AM BORROWING A CONCEPT FROM A RECENT ARTICLE AIMED AT BLOGGERS.
UNFORTUNATELY, I CAN’T REMEMBER WHO WROTE IT*

Pretend to be your mom — a generation older than you, able to use the Internet but not all that comfortable with it — and take a look at your blog. Could your mom find your subscription sign-up box? Would she know what to do?

If not, fix it. — Name Not Remembered

If you are an advertising salesperson — radio, television, newspaper, or any other media — you are now expected to have a good working knowledge of digital marketing. If you put together a program that drives traffic to your client’s website, and that traffic never turns into money, you have failed.

Don’t just shrug your shoulders and blame the advertiser. You are an Account Executive. Your job is to execute. If the campaign fails and the client cancels, it’s on you.

So give your client’s website The Mom Test.

If your mom  — a generation older than you, and not all that comfortable with the Internet — saw a television commercial, or heard a radio promotion, or read a newspaper ad, or clicked on a banner, and the ad took her to your client’s website, would she know what to do next? Could she figure it out quickly?

If Mom couldn’t figure out how to give your client her money, the website is a barrier that is driving money away from your client. You need to show your client how to fix it. Now.

Fortunately, your company has developed some great digital tools to help you do that. It’s time to find out what they are.

Three Ways An Advertising Salesperson Can Apply This This Today

1.  Pull up the websites of every client you’ll be meeting with in the next couple of days. Give each one The Mom Test. If any of them flunk, show the sites to the head of your digital department, and develop a strategy to fix it. Attach a price tag to the strategy and build a proposal.

2. Bring the proposal to the client. Explain The Mom Test. Show the client exactly what happened when “Mom” went to the website. Demonstrate how your strategy will fix the problem. Get a signature.

3. Share this post on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. You can find the Share buttons at the top and at the bottom of the post. So can Mom.

* This, or something like it, was in somebody’s content marketing blog within the past month. I could have sworn that I’d saved the quote, but it’s not in my records. I thought it was from Ann Handley, but I searched her blog and couldn’t find it. If you know where it came from, let me know and credit will be willingly and cheerfully given.

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3 thoughts on “How To Grade a Website: Will It Flunk “The Mom Test”?

  1. “If you are an advertising salesperson — radio, television, newspaper, or any other media — you are now expected to have a good working knowledge of digital marketing. If you put together a program that drives traffic to your client’s website, and that traffic never turns into money, you have failed. Don’t just shrug your shoulders and blame the advertiser. You are an Account Executive. Your job is to execute. If the campaign fails and the client cancels, it’s on you.”

    Is it also on the AE if his radio or TV ads bring traffic to the store, but the traffic never turns into money because: a) the store doesn’t have the merchandise;
    b) store employees aren’t doing their job;
    c) anything else that isn’t directly under the AE’s control causes the prospect to take his money elsewhere?

    Of course not.

    The AE’s job is to execute the actions for which he is directly responsible. Holding him accountable for the client’s failure (to convert traffic into sales, or whatever), when he hasn’t been given the authority or resources to effect the necessary changes, seems a bit much. Of course a conscientious AE is going to call attention to problems he spots and suggest solutions, but in the end, it’s on the advertiser.

    Or am I missing something here?

  2. Rod, you are right about the fact that some things are outside the AE’s control. But if the call-to-action is driving people to the website, the AE can — and should — look at the website before the campaign hits the air, and give it the “Mom Test”.

    If it flunks — if the website is not set up to convert the traffic into customers — the AE has a responsibility to bring that problem to the advertiser’s attention before the campaign hits the air. There are alternatives — the customer can fix the website, or the campaign’s CTA can be changed to a phone call or store visit.

    An AE can argue that it’s not his/her responsibility to deal with things like this. I will argue that it is part of the AE’s job. The alternative is a cancellation and another advertiser who says, “I tried radio and it didn’t work.”