Seth Godin has linked to them. Several online magazines have featured them, both in articles and within seasonal wish/gift lists. And, of course, they also have the audacity to call themselves “Best Made Axe,” all of which made me eager to head over to their Website to read up on these (self-labeled) best made axes.
And while their Website (and marketing in general) does some things incredibly well – these guys are routinely selling out of their entire inventory of $200-$500 bespoke axes, after all – there are HUGE gaping holes in the site’s content. Here’s how their site fails the visitor:
1) No discussion of the painstaking efforts to ensure top quality.
Look, I don’t want to be a jerk, but if you’re going to call yourself “Best Made,” it might be a good idea to substantiate that claim on your site. Tell me stuff like:
- What kind of steel are you using for the axe head?
- What kind of forging process?
- What kind of heat treatment?
- What kind of finishing process?
- Who is doing the forging?
- How are you attaching the axe head to the hickory handle?
- What are the ergonomics of the handle?
- What kind of extreme testing did you do to the finished product?
- How does the axe perform?
- How does your axe compare to other axes?
- In what ways is it actually better made than these other axes?
The Best Made Axe site does none of that. The most I get is the information that the axe is hand-forged of “fine grain” steel. Not nearly good enough – at least not when you want me to spend between 2X and 8X the price of a “darn good” axe in order to get your supposedly “best made” version.
2) No pictures of the manufacturing process
Don’t just tell me about the painstaking manufacturing process, SHOW ME. Literally. With pictures and video and stuff. Show me the manufacturing process and the ability of the finished product to outperform the competition.
The picture on the left is a perfect example of this. Saddleback Leather Co. manufactures premium, full-grain leather products. And they charge a premium for them. But their site goes into great detail regarding the superior quality and manufacture of their goods — content that’s fully illustrated with zoom-able photos and videos.
3) Not enough content from or about users kicking ass with their AXES.
Where are the stories of guys building their own log cabins with a Best Made Axe. Or how it has transformed a dreaded chore into an anticipated pleasure. Or about how just having the axe hung on the wall of their office has transformed their outlook on things. Or something!
The best I could come up with was to find Best Made Company’s fan page on FaceBook wich linked to a YouTube video of a guy opening a bottle with one of their axes. Not sure how impressed I was supposed to be with that, really.
Compare Best Made Axe’s Site to Those of Other Premium Products
Go ahead and compare the Best Made Axe site to other Websites for similar top-end/upscale products and see how much more thoroughly these other Websites sell you on their products’ quality:
Do you see how these other sites go into great detail about the design and manufacture of their products? How, almost on a point-by-point basis they explain WHY their products are better, and about the benefits that you, the consumer, can expect from purchasing this higher quality item.
Buyer Confidence and Buying Rationalizations
While not everyone will click through all of the detailed information provided on these example sites, and even fewer people will read through all that information, many people will scan through it, see that the quality information is there, that the passion is there, and gain the confidence to make the purchase.
Let’s be honest, Best Made Axe wants to charge you between $250 and $500 for an axe. You can pick up a Gransfors Bruks (what is commonly considered the Rolls Royce of Axes) at roughly $70-$120 for most models. You can pick up a very highly regarded, Maine-made Snowe & Nealey axe for even less than that.
What’s the quality difference between the Best Made and these other brands? What am I getting for 2x to 8X the price?
Even when it’s not about the money, it’s ALWAYS about giving prospective customers something to hang their hat on. The Best Made Axe certainly looks nicer than those other axes I mentioned, but most people are loathe to admit that their money is going towards nothing more than status and brand name. If you want them as customers, you need to give them something they can hang their hat on, some other faux-reason they can use to rationalize their purchase, like (notionally) better quality, durability, and performance. Etc.
That’s what detailed quality and manufacturing information content on a website does: not only does it fan the desire for the product itself, but it provides visitors with the justification they need to rationalize the expense. It also gives them the firepower needed to explain their purchase to a spouse, significant other, co-worker or any other any-sayer.
So what about Your Website!
Is your site closer to Saddleback Leather Co.’s, or is your site closer to Best Made Axe’s?
Maybe Best Made Axe just doesn’t really have the goods when you come right down to it. Maybe they’re mum on the quality thing for a reason. Maybe it’s a “better to keep your mouth closed…” kind of thing.
Now, I’m not saying that’s the case, but you can see why a website’s conspicuous silence on the subject invites that kind of speculation.
So if your product really does have the quality edge, you’d be criminally negligent not to make your Website into the most eloquent spokesperson it can be concerning the superior design, quality, manufacture/delivery of your product or service.