Expenses and assets are necessary components of running a business located on opposite sides of the balance sheet. As you know expenses are the costs associated with running your business, while assets provide a future benefit. We control and reduce expenses and we try to build assets. Websites can be an expense or an asset depending on your company's mindset, and its impact as part of a larger digital marketing strategy is greatly affected by where the website falls on this spectrum.
THE "WEBSITE AS AN EXPENSE" MINDSET
Organizations who treat their website as an expense share the following characteristics:
- Lower levels of interest from management
- Reactive content or site management techniques
- Low levels of success with digital marketing in the past and low hope for the future
- Use lowest cost solutions
- No idea of the site's success or failure
For these organizations, a “minimally viable” website is fine. They recognize that they need a website in today's marketplace, so they invest the bare minimum to get a basic site up and running. It’s not measured and their websites typically feature old, outdated content. Often the content is internally focused, and you'll often find too little (or too much content) that doesn’t really click with site visitors. The website only gets attention when there is a problem, and administrators spend their time fixing issues or responding to a complaint or customer request.
These companies maintain a website because just like a phone line, company stationery or even cleaning services, it's a necessary part of running a business. Businesses with the "Website as an Expense" mindset typically look for the cheapest options or determine if it can’t be cut altogether. There is low belief that any strategy related to their website could possibly drive the business forward, and any investment in digital marketing strategy will be regarded as a cost and need to be controlled.
THE "WEBSITE AS AN ASSET" MINDSET
Companies who treat their websites as an asset share the following characteristics:
- Set goals for their website and digital marketing and have a defined timeline to meet them
- Proactive management approach
- Understand their best customers and their purchase journey and strive to help their target audience meet their goals at all points in their journey, from research to engagement to support
- They test concepts to increase user satisfaction and website performance
- They expect success
Their websites contain content that is timely and relevant, and they understand their audiences are mobile also so their websites are responsive so visitors can easily access them from any device. They also closely monitor site traffic and activity according to defined goals.
Companies with the “website as an asset” mindset understand that every touchpoint brings value to their audiences and recognize that their website is an extension of their company. It could be the first and last impression a prospect sees. They recognize that the Internet is the primary method for people to research and discover new resources.
These organizations demand more from their website, because they understand that every customer touchpoint brings value and their website is an extension of every aspect of their company. They have higher expectations and they measure results against benchmarks. They form strategies to move the business forward and test these strategies often. They also understand that not all visitors are at the same point in the purchase journey and provide appropriate content for each.
CAN YOU CHANGE YOUR MINDSET?
In order for digital marketing to truly drive results for your business, you need change your mindset and demand more. This shift begins by framing your website as an asset, holding it accountable to your expectations and changing your approach when it’s not working. Incremental improvements can be effective first steps, but this mindset requires an investment in strategy, time and, perhaps, production.
Results-driven organizations recognize that their website contributes to overall business goals, and understand that an interactive marketing strategy goes well beyond the website. By clearly defining your site’s purpose and goals, you can not only make informed decisions in features and functionality, but also develop content that supports your overall strategy. It’s critical to understand your buyer’s purchase journey and clearly define your audience types. At Ascedia, our strategic planning process helps clients dig deeper and establish a plan to get the most from your interactive marketing strategy. If you’re ready to shift your mindset and move your website from an expense to an asset, we’re here to help.