Invest in Your Website First

One of the challenges many businesses have  is how to view the InternetAddress Bar – and yet in many respects there is much to be learnt from the real world and applied to Internet activity.

Real World Learning No.1 – Your Website IS Your ‘Store’

We are often asked by clients to ‘fix’ their Pay Per Click campaign, or to get more traffic to their website and yet when we visit the site, it’s clear that the site needs attention first.

Why Put the Site First?

Simply, your site is like a ‘change’ machine and your marketing is like sliding a £10 note into it… you put the money in (marketing) and you wait for your return.

Income < Expenditure?

A site that returns in less than £10 in change to you tells you a very simple message: your site is not optimised and you will lose money if you don’t sort it out.

Therefore your action is not to drive more traffic to it, but to scrutinise your website and work out WHY your site is not performing for you. Look in these places first:

  1. Are visitors finding the ‘product’ easily (this can be an actual product, or a service, or a contact form)?
  2. Are you charging enough for the product?
  3. Do you have the right range of offerings?
  4. What are your competitors promoting / offering?

Income = Expenditure?

So, you suddenly start to break even, and for every £10 plugged in, you’re getting £10 out. You’re OK, aren’t you?

Sadly, no, you are not OK. In many respects this is a worse situation to be in than losing money. Why? Because at this level there is a danger you will persevere with your marketing without still addressing your website.

Your action should still be to develop and improve your website. In our opinion every website could do with improvement – so don’t settle too early for ‘mediocre’ – expect more!

Income > Expenditure

OK… now it’s clearing profit and so you think, “this is where I spend more heavily on marketing”. True, it should be BUT the question is HOW. The two observations on marketing spend we would offer to you are these:

  • Spending more in Pay Per Click, and other online bid-managed advertising, generally reduces margin. So if your gross profit margin is tight, then don’t go upping spend too much, there is normally a threshold where profit starts reducing so make sure you don’t overbalance when it comes to being more aggressive
  • Diversify when increasing spend. Don’t just stick with a narrow range of sites or marketing media, find other routes to market and other means of placing your offers

Not only that, but don’t forget your site. It’s too easy to sit back and believe that you’ve got it made once there is some profit. Continue to work on your site, improve, fine tune and tweak – squeeze as much performance out of it as you can get.

It is like the real world in that respect. Shop, catalogue and direct mail all measure the performance of their marketing and their main focus is first on the proposition and how it monetises interest and potential customers: scrutnising conversion rate and spend.

You’ve got to look at your website in a similar way!