Demand that we prove our ROI. You deserve it.

Your website can be more than a business card. It can provide a tangible return on investment. Make sure it does and don't settle for less.

Return on investment written on a chalkboard

Most organizations think of their website like they do business cards. They have a website because everyone has a website, and if you want to be a reputable business you must have one. The problem is that if you only use your website like a business card, you will never get more value from it than you do your business cards. In fact, your business cards will probably be more valuable. At least if you put a business card in a fishbowl at the restaurant, you have a chance to win a free lunch.

To start understanding how a website can be a driving force in your business, you need to start thinking of it in terms of how much return do you get on your investment. For us to be able to prove the ROI on your website, we need to define the business objectives. To define the business objectives, we need to know why you want a website as opposed to a digital business card.

Why Do you Need a Website?

We get clients all the time that tell us, “We need a website.” That’s great. But our first question is always, “Why do you need a website?” If you can’t answer that question then you’ll never know if your website is really worth the money you’re about to spend on it. So our first task is to help you figure out why you need a website.

A website can be used in so many different ways that I can’t begin to define them all. The place to start is understanding how you are currently making money without the website. If you’re a store front, the ‘why’ becomes a lot easier. You want a site in order to sell stuff online. But maybe you make money by forming relationships with your clients. Maybe you sell professional services. So to understand your business model we ask: Do you have a salesforce? Do you make a lot of cold calls? How long is your sales cycle? What does it take to close a lead?

A recent client wanted us to help them to understand how their website can help them make more money. They make money by placing workers in temporary jobs for their clients. They get paid for every worker they place. However, only about 25% of the applications they receive actually get placed. That leaves a large percent of applications that go unused. To make more money they can either increase the volume of applications or they can increase the quality of applicants. Both would increase the number of placements they make.

We decided to build the website with a goal of helping them increase the number of applications they receive by creating a simpler way to apply online. We also want to help them receive quality applicants by making it easier for the job seeker to find the job that’s right for them. In 3 months, we will review the site and make sure that it is meeting our goals.

ROI is Important and it Starts with Business Objectives

The example above shows that it’s important to always start with your business objectives. If you don’t, then you can’t be sure the website was worth it in the end. Your business objectives should be something that can be measured. If you set a business objective that can’t be measured, then don’t expect to definitively prove the ROI.

This brings me back to why I titled this post as I did. A return on investment is too important not to consider it from the beginning. That is where we want to start and you should want to start there too. When you call us, demand that we prove a ROI because in the end it’s the best thing for you. We can do it, and you deserve it. Your site is more than just a business card.

What do you think? How important is proving a ROI to you? Would you prefer to use your website like a business card? Do you have a website now and wish that you could know that you didn’t waste your money? Tell us about it in the comments below.

About Andrew

Andrew is of two minds. Part designer, part code-junkie, Andrew brings a subtle eye for detail to every project. A dangerous business, admittedly, since it requires exploration of both the left and right brain and few people return from that perilous expedition. Speaking of exploring, after college Andrew worked for the Peace Corp teaching in the African nation of Benin. After Africa, Andrew moved to London where his wife finished a Master''s degree in History, before returning to Birmingham and Infomedia. Today they've embarked on another lifelong adventure—a beautiful daughter, Olivia. See more articles from Andrew Searles

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