Many people see marketing as a “necessary evil” in terms of running a business. When you decided to take your career into your own hands and open up a store, you probably didn’t do so because you wanted to devote countless hours to promotion – you did it because you wanted to take pride in your work, give back to your community through high quality products and services and more. As a result, it’s common for many people to look at marketing across the board as yet another “cost of doing business” and little more. Unfortunately, even seasoned entrepreneurs out there tend to lump their business’ official website into this category. Not only is this line of thinking false, it could also be doing your enterprise harm in more ways than one.
A Website Is Just as Valuable as Any Other Investment – Provided That You Use It Properly
One of the major reasons why people look at websites as “just another cost” has to do with a failure to properly realize just what you can accomplish with a website in the first place. Many people who have been running businesses since the 1980s or 1990s look at a website as something like a digital commercial. Customers probably use it to find out where your business is located and look at your store hours, but it’s ultimately useful for little else, right?
A properly utilized and maintained website can generate an incredible amount of return, the same way any other investment can. It can be a lead generation machine, for example. By maintaining a blog filled with helpful and relevant articles, your website can suddenly become an invaluable resource where both existing and potential customers can find interesting articles, answers to their important questions and more. This not only lends an air of credibility to your website, but also turns it into a tool that users know they can turn to in their time of need. This image will extend to your larger business, as well, allowing it to reach a wider audience and turn people who may have been “on the fence” into customers before you know it.
An Investment Requires a Plan
To come at things from a slightly different perspective, consider the investment of your website in comparison to other investments that you might make, like the stock market. The stock market is a great way to secure a high rate of return for your money, but it’s also a great way to lose a lot of money very quickly at the same time. You would never just purchase completely random stocks in the hope of maintaining a high ROI. You would do your research, think about what you’re trying to accomplish, find companies that align with your short-term and long-term goals and more.
The investment of your business’ website requires the same careful planning and attention to detail in order to be as successful as possible. If you just dump a great deal of money on your website adding new features that you aren’t properly utilizing or that your users don’t actually want, it will essentially become “just another cost” – because it won’t be giving you anything in return. You need to sit down and think about what you need your website to accomplish and what your customers want that website to be. Are they looking for an online storefront? Do they want information? Once you’ve answered these questions, then you can start not just spending money, but spending the right money on the right things. At that point, your investment will truly begin to take shape.
Make no mistake: your business’ website is a whole lot more than just another cost on a balance statement. For many of your customers, it will be the first impression that they have of you, your employees and ultimately your products or services as a whole. It’s a snapshot of what you’re trying to accomplish. It’s also the perfect type of company representative – the one who works 24 hours a day, seven days a week and makes house calls. When you start looking at it as an investment in the future, your website is one of the single best opportunities that you have to continue to grow and build your business over time. Unfortunately, many people still just lump it into the category of “marketing,” limiting its full potential and disregarding one of the most important tools that they have in the process.