What’s the meaning of life? How many pizzas do you need to order to feed ten people? And how much does a website cost? These are questions that perplex humankind today. We get asked the third question a lot here at Pennebaker. And the answer: sometimes websites come free.
It’s true! There are a lot of options that enable you to build your own website for free or for a nominal monthly fee. You’ve heard of a quite a few of them: WordPress, Wix, Weebly, Striingly, SquareSpace. These tools have multiple pre-made designs to choose from, and they don’t require programing knowledge to take advantage of them. So, if websites are free to produce, that begs the question: how are people making a living producing them? Well, the question isn’t, “How much does a website cost?” The better question is “How much is your website costing you?”
Your website should be your most powerful marketing, brand building, and recruiting tool, and if it isn’t, you are missing a huge opportunity. The truth is people—potential clients, investors, and recruits—make decisions about your company every day by looking at your website. So, let’s take a look at what a bad website may be costing you.
Is your website costing you revenue?
Many of our clients operate in business-to-business arena. Oftentimes they sell complicated and expensive offerings that require a long sales cycle. Many of them will never be able to have a “buy now" button on their site. This doesn’t, however, mean that they won’t be able to generate powerful leads from their site. According to a 2014 procurement study by Accenture, 94 percent of B2B buyers research online for purchase decisions. Best of all, if you link your website to your CRM, you can qualify leads and measure exactly which ones turn into revenue. For companies looking to measure the ROI for their marketing dollars, this can be very appealing.
How much does one lost lead cost you?
As mentioned earlier, many of our clients sell expensive things. One lead could mean tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue for them. That doesn’t even take into consideration the lifetime customer value that the lead may generate. Ask yourself, what is the average selling price of your products or services? Now, what if you could grow the amount of those leads by just five percent. What is the average lifetime value of a customer? What if you could get five new customers a year from your website? If your site isn’t performing, then your site is costing you real money.
Is your website influencing the sales cycle?
Not only do many of our clients sell expensive things, but often they are selling into organizations with complicated and long sales cycles with lots of influencers and decision makers. Powerful content on your site, like case studies and white papers, can lend credibility to your company and offerings. Credibility can help you get your foot in the door, and help nurture the lead through long sales cycles.
Stay in touch with your prospects by linking to fresh content. Keep creating content that speaks to the different decision makers at every stage of the sell. Having persuasive content for both the decision makers and influencers in your potential client’s organizations can help you close deals faster.
Is your website costing you brand equity?
If your best customer or a top recruit landed on your current website and looked through it what would their impression be? Could they understand all of your capabilities? Would they understand what you are about and what makes you different from your competition? Would it be a company they would want to invest in? Would it be a company that they would be proud to work for? Are all the materials current on the site? If the answer to any of these questions is no, your site is costing you more than you know.
How does your site compare to competitor sites?
If your potential target audiences are looking at your site, chances are they are also looking at your competitors’ sites. How does your company stack up? This might be the only chance you get to captivate them and turn them into customers, investors, or employees. If you aren’t winning the story war on your website, you could be losing out.
So, what is your current website actually costing you?
After considering some of the questions in this article, you can tell that a website should be more than an IT exercise. The content on your site and the presentation of that content enables a site to become a powerful business tool and that is where the value comes from, not the tool with which you build it. This is where expertise can help you win in the market, and where a website turns into a revenue-building medium rather than lost opportunity.