Marketing Lessons from a Swedish Meatball

Perhaps it’s a product of my restaurant-family upbringing, but if you follow me at all you know that I draw inspiration from the most unlikely sources, including food.

On a recent trip to IKEA,  over a plate of Swedish meatballs and lingonberry jam, I found myself once again inspired. IKEA does a lot of things right, and you can steal some of their strategies to apply to your online marketing.

Lesson 1: Give People a Path

IKEA map

IKEA’s helpful information kiosk

If you’ve ever been to IKEA, it’s a bit overwhelming because there’s so much to look at. So what do they do? They actually have arrows on the floor, like a yellow brick road, giving you a path through the store.

It’s one less thing for you to think about and frees up that anxious part of your brain that’s wondering the way out of this giant warehouse.

What’s more, it makes sure that you see everything in the store so that you will suddenly remember you need a giant bag of tea lights or a new bathmat, even though you only came there for a bookshelf.

IKEA map

This is how they extract my money. Image via Kind of Normal.

Now the maze-like setup is kind of diabolical, so I’m not suggesting you pattern your site architecture after it! But if your site is complicated or has lots of pages, be sure to make it very easy for visitors to know where to go next.

Takeaway: Create a logical path or paths through your website.

Never leave them wondering “What do I do now?” Give them a call-to-action at the bottom of every page, whether it’s a buy now button or a link for more information.

Lesson 2: Give People a Menu

IKEA knows that a long day of shopping can work up an appetite, so they offer at least 4 different food options. There’s the cafe in the store for those who want the full Swedish meatball experience. There’s a food counter where you can get a cheaper, faster hot dog and a soda. Then there’s even a vending machine with snacks by the loading dock.

There is very little chance you’ll leave IKEA without eating something.

Not hungry? You can even buy your Swedish meatballs frozen to take home from the grocery section after checkout.

Takeaway: Offer options at every level of service.

If you offer just one specialized service or product, you may be leaving money on the table. Look for ways to attract potential clients with smaller or larger service options depending on their needs. For example, you may want to offer an ebook for $7, a course for $47, or a full-service option for $147.

Lesson 3: Give Customers the Tools They’ll Need to Make a Decision

Let’s say you find the perfect sofa, but you just don’t know if it’s the right size for your narrow room. Or you love a certain configuration of office furniture, and need a list of parts to recreate it in your own home.

IKEA helpfully provides Shopping Tools, from free pencils so you can jot down the item number, to paper tape measures so you can measure furniture dimensions.

Takeaway: Put yourself in your customer’s shoes.

Walk through your website as if you were a potential customer. Think about what information they will need to make a purchase. Try to give them all of the tools they will need to make an informed decision.

 

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