Web design tip # 6 – It’s all about return on investment
In today’s tough economic times we often have to make compromises. Sadly this has become a fact for most businesses and even if times are still good, we don’t know what is round the corner and it is better to keep our money safely in our bank accounts than risk possible lean times ahead.
Recently we have all seen big names disappear from the high street and every time you turn on the news another familiar brand appears in turmoil. Its only common sense that people are trying to cut corners and see if they can make their money stretch a little further. More often than not, marketing and PR budget’s are the first things to be cut as companies try and consolidate their position and ensure that they will still be trading in another 12 months time. If you read that last sentence again, its not difficult to see the problems this could cause.
Every company, however large or small, is really a sales operation. We may employ engineers, cashiers, programmers or admin staff but if sales start to dry up……. all these people instantly become a lot less busy as the company turnover drops.
Forward thinking companies have quickly realised that as their competition struggles and devotes less resource to marketing the company, this is the time to increase their own marketing and try to pick up customers whose suppliers may of disappeared from the radar.
As a web development company, you may not be surprised to realise that we see your website as your number one sales staff and most important part of your marketing campaign, but on the face of it you probably see us as highly biased in this area. Maybe we are, but we are happy to talk about client case studies where we have provided a 1000% increase in company sales within a six month period. Due to the success of some of our clients we are currently working on franchise agreements to help extend our clients reach into markets they realistically can’t cover themselves.
Being a realist, I imagine a lot of readers are sitting there thinking “I have had a website for years, and barely had an enquiry from it, let alone repaid the investment I made at the time!” This is probably true. I know of a lot of website’s that have never repaid a penny of the investment made and I am sure you all do.
In the nature of our work as web developers, we provide free analysis (against our accountants advice) of many websites and we tend to find that the ones that don’t work have cut corners on the way. The corners cut always fall into one of the following 3 categories.
1. Not spending enough time preparing content for the website. Speak to your existing clients and finding out what it is about you that sets you aside from your competitors. This is priceless information when communicated effectively through your website.
2. Not updating your website and advertising at every opportunity. To put this very simply, If you don’t update your website on a regular basis it will not appear in Google. FACT. Google requires fresh content to be added frequently and if it is not fed with fresh content it will go and feed elsewhere.
3. Trying to find the cheapest deal possible. That one may of surprised you, but it really shouldn’t. Competent web designers probably charge similar amounts as a daily rate. What you pay will indicate how much time they have spent developing your website. If you pay £300, a developer will probably spend no more than a day working on your website. If you pay £3000 they will probably spend 10 days working on your website. It is very easy to ‘knock up’ a website in a day. If you spend 10 days working on the site you will have time to research their target audience, look at their competitors (successful and not), develop a instinctive user interface and make sure you build the site with search engines in mind.
The return on a well built website or mobile app can be massive. Again, you only have to look at recent media events including Facebook’s IPO or OMGPOP’s sale of drawsomething to Zynga for extreme examples. Most of us live in the real world though. If you consider the services you offer, and how many sales a website should generate it is very easy to see a substantial return on investment.
Measuring the return on investment for some companies is a lot easier than others. If you company solely supplies goods via eCommerce that cost £50 and you spent £2000 on your website you need to sell 40 units before your website is profitable. Crude figures but you get the point.
Most companies tend to sell services. This is where it gets a little more complicated to judge your return on investment as customers aren’t clicking ‘Buy Now’ to let you measure so easily. To use a recent example, we developed a site for for a contractor whose average project value was £7000. The site cost £1250. One sale paid for the website 5.6 times. The client has received many enquiries from the site which could more than justify the initial outlay.
Another equally important area to consider. A lot of our clients say they get their work from ‘Word of mouth’ referrals (as do we.) I personally find when I am looking for a service, I ask several trusted friends or colleagues who they have used before and compile a short list of 2 or 3 contenders. I then immediately compare their companies online and see which best suits my needs. Always, the one with the clear website with concise information and case studies wins the business.
I hope this gives you an insight on the value of choosing a company who will provide you the best possible return on your investment. If anyone would like to discuss case studies from clients we have recently worked with and discuss growing your own companies turnover we would love to hear from you. Even if its for some free impartial advice.