Sunday, April 6, 2014

Does Your B2B Firm’s Marketing Budget Include a Website Line Item?

Does Your B2B Firm's Marketing Budget Include a Website Line Item? image redesign ebook pusher

In today’s marketing environment, your website warrants ongoing attention, time and fiscal resources. Your website­—like hiring the best talent—should be viewed as an investment and not an expense, and it deserves an adequate portion of your annual marketing budget.

Our world has become increasingly digital and web-centric, making a B2B company’s website more critical to success than ever before. For many firms, they’re an integral part of a their demand generation, lead generation and business development efforts. So does your marketing budget reflect these changes? Are you adequately investing in your website each year?

What if we just redesigned our website last year?

Here’s a simple fact: the best performing websites of today are not static, online brochures, but rather living, breathing, active, marketing machines. The “launch it and forget about it” approach just doesn’t cut it anymore. With the changing nature of online marketing and the proliferation of content management systems, your website should be continuously improved and updated. So adequately investing in your website goes beyond an initial full-fledged, top-to-bottom redesign—something that may only happen every 2-5 years for many B2B companies. It extends to ongoing annual, monthly, regular investments in improvement.

I thought that’s why we paid for a custom CMS?

Some firms may think that because they invested in a fully-customized content management system (CMS) that they won’t need to invest actual dollars into their website for a while, just staff resources to maintain it and update it. While it’s true that you shouldn’t plan to have the same level of expenditure each year between major redesigns, you should, however, set aside a portion of your budget each year specifically for improving and maintaining your website.

And improving your website involves more than simply keeping your news and blog up to date and adding in your latest product and service offerings. Inevitably, there are going to be certain improvements and refinements that you simply can’t make without spending money.

Your website should never be viewed as finished

The nature of the web is that of constant change. So even the best websites that seemed perfect upon launch, need to be refined along the way. Because things change: technology, web standards, search algorithms, browsers, best practices and even your company.

Websites are very much like houses: once they’re built, they still require a lot of your time and money to maintain and improve. Hopefully, like an unfinished basement, your website was developed in a scalable manner, with all the “plumbing” in place to make future expansion doable without the need for a complete overhaul.

Fund future expansion and improvement of your website

Your initial website redesign budget wasn’t limitless, so you likely had to nix some components and functionality to fit within your means. You might have also intentionally planned for additional features to be added in as a second or third “phase” of the project. This could include adding in a blog, a client portal, marketing automation and CRM integration or building out certain sections of your website with more robust functionality. This is one of the reasons why having a sizeable website budget each year is so important. It gives your firm the means (and the motivation) to continuously add to and improve your website.

Your website budget should extend beyond pixels and code

It’s also important to note that your website budget should go beyond traditional web design and development expenditures. After all, today’s websites are about much more than code, they are complex marketing tools that should serve as a platform for attracting prospects and generating leads. So when thinking about your marketing budget, be sure to set aside resources for your website that include ongoing lead generation strategy, content creation, search engine optimization, video production, infographic design, landing page optimization, marketing automation and other important website components.

Choose the right marketing partner

While I don’t want to downplay the importance of superior web development, today’s B2B websites demand more than the capabilities that a traditional web development shop can offer. Your website is first and foremost a marketing tool and therefore it requires deep marketing expertise to provide the strategy and content necessary to make it more than just technically and visually impressive. So be sure that you partner with an agency that not only has the design and development capabilities needed, but also experience with similar clients and strong capabilities in strategy, content marketing and lead generation.

Gone are the days when your website was just an add-on to your overall marketing program. Your website is the hub of your online marketing and a vital component of your overall marketing strategy. So be sure that your firm invests adequate resources—both physical and fiscal—to ensure that you maximize its effectiveness in your marketing program.

Source: B2C_Business

Does Your B2B Firm’s Marketing Budget Include a Website Line Item?

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