My friend John used a great analogy last week. When talking about his home, which is located in an older community that is being revitalized, John said:
You can get to my house two difference ways. You can come in from 5th Avenue, via Germantown and drive by nice houses – houses that are new, were built well, and that really are the showpiece of the neighborhood. You'll see nicely manicured lawns, unique local businesses and clean, orderly streets. When you come to my house that way, you think the neighborhood is nearly perfect and that I live in a great place.
Or, you can come in from 8th Avenue, and turn onto Garfield. If you come that way, you won't see many nice houses. What you'll see are shady liquor stores, government housing, and prostitutes. You'll see dilapidated housing, vacant lots and lots of trash. You'll think that I live in a terrible neighborhood.
Of course, John's house is the same, no matter how you get there. Whether you get there via 5th or 8th, you'll end up where you want to be.
I'm not sure that I have any sort of deep insight here. I just find it fascinating that the way we journey has a profound effect on our view of the destination.
This has far-reaching implications, then, for your Web site, church or store. It matters how people find you.
How did someone hear about what you're doing? A friendly recommendation? A terrible review in the newspaper? Facebook's news feed? A billboard or commercial?
You can't control the flow of traffic that ends at your door, but you should at least be thinking about it.