The Breadcrumbs Effect

After consulting businesses around the world, I found a common problem that affects all of them. Whethsmall, medium or large, they all suffer from the Breadcrumbs affect.

Breadcrumbs by Lior Izik

I came up with the breadcrumbs theory over a decade ago. The Breadcrumbs are the money business owners leave on the table due to overlooking small but crucial elements of their business. After collecting the Breadcrumbs, businesses report between 50% to 100% more money in revenue. I created the breadcrumbs theory because of a faulty formula that prevails in the minds of many business owners. They believe that simply raising their advertising budget will lead to more sales. This is, in fact, pure garbage and the reason why 94% of businesses do not survive their first 10 years. And with the 6% that do survive, none of them can say that they are actually profitable!

In many cases, advertising is so poor that when, at my request, the owner does freeze the company’s advertising, the sales volume actually stays the same.

Advertising CAN ONLY lead to more sales when it is implemented correctly and the sales process is fine-tuned. In 95% of cases, there are issues with existing advertising campaigns; the phone lines aren’t working properly; the website has issues; or sales agents themselves do not perform well. These problem areas all need to be addressed and resolved before you spend even a single dollar on advertising.

Let’s dive into an example and see one part of the Breadcrumbs theory at work.

Note: Before we dive into this, remember that this is only an exercise, and I don’t know the websites I am going to click on. Please don’t develop a negative view on these sites I’m about to explore; it’s all just for the sake of a demo. This search is completely random.

So let’s say your average Joe is sitting at home alone, hungry as hell and wants a mushroom pizza. Joe opens Google and types in the search phrase “Pizza in Bayview” as Joe lives on Bayview st.

Google will recognize that Bayview is a nearby street, and it’s supposed to provide Joe with the best possible search results in his local area.

Joe is most likely to click on the first result he’s presented with. In this case, it’s a website for “Big Man’s Pizza”. The results show customer reviews of the place with less than 4 stars. This concerns him a little, so Joe backs off. Joe looks at the second result “Pizza Pizza” and sees that it has a rating of less than 3 stars. Joe decides he’s not going to settle for a ‘decent’ meal, so he continues looking through the search results for something better.

Now Joe is obviously going to skip over results like “Pizza Restaurants, in Bayview, Milwaukee” as it’s not in his region. The next result really catches Joe’s attention: “best thin crust pizza in Bayview-Sheppard area”. It has 5 stars and looks like a good bet for the now really hungry Joe.

Joe clicks on the website finally ready to place his order, only to find, to his utter frustration that the website does not list a phone number! Joe frantically clicks on different pages and locations but there’s simply no way to order. Just great!

Joe goes back to Google again, almost in tears.

Joe’s had bad luck with few sites so far. It’s not because those are bad websites. Those are amazing websites. The problem is that the business owners didn’t take the time to update their information on their website and make them appealing to the customer or fully understand what they were really looking for.. Imagine what would happen if only the owner had spent a few minutes to upload appetizing pictures or at the very least posted a clearly visible phone number for Joe to call.

Joe toils on, and goes to “Bayview Pizza Delivery – Bayview Pizza”. All the search results are in Calgary. Not where Joe is located. Joe bounces back.

Next on the list is “Abruzzo Pizza”. Joe scrolls through the site. There are no photos of the pizza, and the menu says Veal and Chicken. Joe goes back to Google, disgruntled, still in search of delicious, but apparently unattainable pizza. I know something Joe doesn’t: Abruzzo Pizza is one of the best in town, but their website sucks. They don’t show their great food to people looking at them online, like Joe, so they end up moving past it.

Joe goes to the next search result and it’s “zomato”. The website lists some restaurants that have Pizza and the locations are visible. Joe clicks on the first result, “Marcello’s Pizzeria”.

Joe clicks on the menu and hallelujah! Finally, after 10 web results there’s a worthy pizza website.

Let’s call them and order pizza, Joe dreams. One small problem. Once again there is no phone number on the page! Noooooooo. Joe is losing it and goes back to Google’s results.

Next on the search results is “Boston Pizza”. It’s a well known restaurant and has a 4.1 star rating. Good enough for desperate Joe at this point. He clicks on the link and what do you know ? It’s a coupon website. No way to order and no phone number. Joe, who’s on the verge of giving up and eating stale cornflakes, thinks to himself. I will now search for Boston Pizza and go to their website directly.I’m tired of this madness!

Joe goes to Google and searches for “Boston Pizza”. The search presents Boston Pizza at the top of the results as expected, and hopeful Joe gives it a click. What he’s met with, to his absolute fury, is a blank page. Joe waits for a moment, and refreshes the page several times with nothing to show for it. The site’s status is “Resolving Host” which usually means a DNS error.

At this point I personally got angry. If I was a hungry client I would probably throw the damn computer! Even when I knew the website I wanted to visit, I couldn’t get to it? Just great.

Next Joe searches for Domino’s Pizza as it’s a brand he knows. Joe sees the homepage and it’s all he ever wanted.

Good prices, great pictures and a way to order a pizza. The main disadvantage is that there is no visible phone number he can call to order, so Joe needs to order online and learn a process which is out of his comfort zone. If the previous websites weren’t so bad, maybe Joe would go back back to them, but after all the hassle he’s been through, Joe will order just about anything he can eat.

And there, finally, this exercise is over!

I hope you understood the significance of this exercise . 100% of the time I audit a client’s website I see at least some of the issues we just covered. There are many websites in every industry, but a lot have bad quality. The website owner spent lots of time designing a great logo or great template, but zero time to understand what his potential client is looking for.

When I check the client’s website analytics, I usually see a high bounce rate (People come to the site and leave without taking any action, just like our Joe). When I analyze a client’s business, I run the same exercise to check the client’s web presence and see how it compares with the competition. I need to be sure that my client wins the business from all his competitors that don’t care about their customers’ needs.

The purpose of this exercise was to highlight the importance of small things, and how these can add up, eventually having a tremendous impact on a business’s success; hence why I refer to them as breadcrumbs. These are small but crucial elements of a business which often go overlooked.

This exercise illustrated the importance of one breadcrumb. In my tests, there are several breadcrumbs that need to be checked every few months. Some of the things I look at include:
how the website looks
do potential customers easily find what they are looking for?
are there bad reviews? are there good reviews?
are the phone systems working properly?
How well does the sales team perform? Do they need additional training?
What is the company culture?
How does the customer service measure up, and many others.

Before you spend on advertising, make sure to fine tune every aspect of your sales cycle.

If you’d like to realize your true business potential, give us a call and we’d be happy to evaluate your business, starting with a free consultation.