Investing in Your Online Business

You should invest heavily in your website, just like you would on a storefront in a prime location. It is the key to all of your sales, marketing and customer relations. Your website, and the digital marketing that works with it, is not the place to cut corners. Put good budget aside for your digital real estate and treat it like the gold that it is. The payoff is a successful business that is primed for the next level of growth.

How much does a website cost?

This is one of the most frequent questions a web developer or digital agency will hear. People want to know what it’s going to cost them for a variety of reasons, and often times it’s because they haven’t put enough, or any, budget towards the digital side of running a profitable business.

This causes a lot of heartache and angst for both parties. You, and me.

Getting the Budget Conversation Started

On my onboarding form, I’ll ask for a spending budget – a factor I need to know before we even begin. I need to know if my base price is in your budget so we’re not hours into a discussion only to find out we’re not in the same ballpark. This saves us both a lot of time and effort.

Are you serious about your business?

I also ask questions about budget because I need to know how serious a potential client is about their business. I dedicate a lot of time, ongoing training, my 30 years of experience, and effort in helping my clients grow and improve their business. If you’re not thinking of updating your site consistently each month, and haven’t set aside a budget to keep your site thriving, then I have to wonder why we’re doing all this work. If you let the site die after we launched, we just wasted a lot of time and effort for nothing.

If you’re not as committed to building your business as I am, then we’re really wasting each other’s time.

I want my clients engaged, thinking of the next opportunity, ambitious to compete in the marketplace, and willing to take the steps necessary to succeed. You know what those steps are? Time. And money.

Building Business takes time, effort and money to accomplish goals

Building a business doesn’t happen overnight. There are phases every company goes through.

Doing it yourself with a wing and a prayer until you get a little budget.

Hiring someone to build a decent looking site.

Finding a real business and marketing partner that not only understands business, but how you can earn a real income.

That’s where someone like me comes in. I could just build you a website and send you on your way, but I would be remiss in my duties if that’s all we accomplished together.

After we launch the site, there’s still a lot of work to do. Blog posts to create, email blasts, analytics to do. Improvements.

How much time does it take to build business?

How long do you plan to be in business? It takes that long.

Building a profitable business isn’t a one step thing and then you’re done. You’re never done.

You should be improving your products or services, updating your website, changing your marketing to shift with the trends of the industry, rewriting, tweaking the SEO, creating ad campaigns, hitting your social media….year after year after year.

You should be making improvements all year long. If growing a business was easy, everyone would be an entrepreneur. It’s tough work.

Investing in your business is more than the service you provide or the product you make.

If you’re a small business without a storefront, then your website is the very foundation of every thing you do to grow your business. It is truly the single most important thing outside of your product or service itself that will make you money.

If you think having a Facebook business page is enough, then you’re missing out on thousands of dollars of business. Sure, social media is a good marketing tool. But that tool should bring them back to your website, your brand, your home base, to do the business.

Facebook is not a website. Quit pretending it is.

You should invest heavily in your website, just like you would on a storefront in a prime location. It is the key to all of your sales, marketing and customer relations. I cannot stress this enough. If you treat it like a second fiddle, as if it doesn’t matter, or isn’t absolutely vital to your business, you’re missing the boat.

You will never reach your true business potential.

Ever.

Websites are not brochures.

Gone are the days you can serve up static, never changing information and pretty pictures. If you only provide boring, technical information on your website and don’t provide a complete story, a well written story, with plenty of actionable items for your customers to DO while on your website — you’re losing money.

You might do okay.

You might have repeat business.

You may do well through word of mouth.

But, I’ve never met anyone serious about their business that wanted to do okay. Who wants to do okay, when they can kick ass, make a living, go on vacations, and build an empire?

I've never met anyone serious about their business that wanted to do 'okay'. Who wants to do okay, when they can kick ass, make a living, go on vacations, and build an empire?Click To Tweet

The work on your website and message never ends.

If you think that line in the Field of Dreams (If you build it, they will come.) applies to your website, think again. The work, and cost, of a website doesn’t end after you launch.

You, me, or someone else should be putting time and effort into monitoring the traffic and response to your message and SEO statistics every month.

Someone needs to be improving any weaknesses. Someone needs to build marketing campaigns, email campaigns, social media campaigns, to continue driving traffic to your website. Whether you pay someone with a lot of experience and business knowledge, or do it yourself, this work must be done. If not, then all of your efforts to build your site, and subsequently your business, has been in vain.

Sure, you could learn how to do all that I do.

But if your business isn’t web development and marketing, is that the best use of your time? Whoever you hire, or whatever time you spend personally to do the work — it will cost something. Either your time, or your money.

That is the investment you’re making in your business to keep it growing. Because it will grow. It will improve. It will provide you an income. But that, my friend, takes a lot of work and, yes, money.

Don’t pinch pennies on the one tool that makes you the most money.

Your website, and the digital marketing that works with it, is not the place to cut corners. Businesses with storefronts pay rent every month to keep that prime location. Their ads change, their inventory changes, their decor changes, their windows get primped and polished every week to highlight something new.

A website is no different. Your website is located in the best location for maximum visibility. Don’t start cutting corners after you launch. Keep up the good work, keep pushing harder to succeed.

More tools, more features, more automation is what keep customers coming back and the money coming in. And yes these things cost money, but that’s how business works.  It’s called overhead and G&A (general and administrative). If it isn’t providing a return on your investment, helping you to make money, providing an invaluable service, then by all means rebuild and reboost that sucker. But don’t ever think that tools and updates to your website aren’t a good investment.

The only time spending money on your website is a bad investment, is if the work you’re doing isn’t actually improving sales or saving labor/money by improving your processes.

Are you making a profit?

If your sales are good but the cost of your website and the tools that make it work are too much for your budget, then you need to take an internal look at your pricing structure. Maybe you’re not charging enough. If you’re not making a profit, on every item or service sold, then you need to rethink your pricing. Income and profit, by the way, are two totally different things and a subject all of its own.

Your website is your goldmine. Treat it that way.

If you’re a brand new business, I urge you to listen to this advice. Put good budget aside for your digital real estate and treat it like the gold that it is. If you’re not new to business but want to truly succeed and make the improvements necessary to really grow your business, let’s do an audit. No two situations are the same, so we take the time to listen, really get know what your goals are, then put a plan together to exceed them. If you’re ready for someone to care about your business as much as you do, let’s talk.

 

shelly-50cal

Shelly Haffly

Creative Director
Shelly is a 30 year veteran of the graphic and digital industry, having worked with and for the nation's leading Fortune 500 companies. A driven, no-nonsense kind of gal who works tirelessly to help clients build their business to epic proportions.
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