Is your business starving? Are sales down? Are the market conditions threatening to devour your small business whole? Taking a lesson from the Brothers Grimm, many small businesses are turning to the use of digital breadcrumbs to bring their customers in. What are digital bread crumbs? They are made up of small links, pictures, videos, comments, and even Facebook status updates and tweets on Twitter.
My youngest daughter reminded me that Hansel and Gretel left the breadcrumbs because they just wanted to get back home. And that is exactly the reason why you want to leave a trail of digital crumbs for people to find your business amongst the mighty forest of the World Wide Web. Think about it this way: Hansel and Gretel had one loaf of bread and each breadcrumb they left along the way came from that original loaf. Search engines are like the animals in the forest who find the left behind crumbs, except they don’t eat them. Instead they record each one, name it, index it, and categorize it. This process creates an invisible trail, weaving its way all the way back to the original source.
Here’s an example of how this works:
A local coffee shop here in Tallahassee, Tuscan Sun Coffee, opened its doors in February of 2009. (This is where the real dough starts). Shop owners David and Catherine Tune, of course, launch a website as well as opening a physical store on 8116 Killearn Plaza Circle in Tallahassee. (This is the original loaf or the original digital source.) Next, they leave crumbs on Facebook, with Dave’s profile listing Tuscan Sun Coffee as his place of employement. Tuscan Sun Coffee also has a Facebook page of its own which other members of Facebook can become a fan. Now the multiplication really starts to happen. For every Facebook member who becomes a fan of Tuscan Sun Coffee, a digital crumb is created.
The crumbs don’t stop there. One of the members from Tri3Team.com lists Tuscan Sun Coffee as one of their meeting locations, and a hyperlinked map is added (one more breadcrumb). Another link from Yellowpages.com for Tuscan Sun Coffee is created and, bam, guess what? Yes, another digital breadcrumb.
Lastly, a first-time patron of Tuscan Sun Coffee tweets (a status left on Twitter) about having found this great little coffee shop and one more crumb is sprinkled along the www trail. If you made it to the end of this article without clicking any of the underlined words, go back and click the one you find the most interesting. That’s right, you just added one more crumb.