Many business owners believe that a website or SEO should produce positive return on investment (ROI). A website contributing to the financial health of a business is common sense. The sometimes tricky part is how you should measure this, specifically those who are having non-ecommerce websites built.
How do you measure ROI on your company’s website?
Measuring ROI for an ecommerce website is fairly straightforward. On the simple side, this calculation amounts to (Income – Expenses) / Expenses = Return on Investment. On the complex side, this basic formula may be slightly modified to include future income (lifetime customer value). The tricky part of this for non-ecommerce websites is in calculating the income from the website. The expense (AKA investment) that goes into the website is the easy part to figure out, the income part is more complicated when that incomes doesn’t come in through an online shopping cart.
Here you have to go on some estimates and information from your business. The reason for this is that information that is close enough to be useful can be gathered fairly quickly, therefore enabling good decisions to be made more quickly. A good decision made in a timely fashion is a lot more profitable than a perfect decision made too late. Remember that hindsight will always be 20 / 20. Timeliness is valuable.
There are a variety of different ways that a website may provide a positive return on your investment. When the sale is made off-line, perhaps during a face to face appointment, a website can still make a very important contribution to the sale. For those who provide professional services, a professionally designed website can earn its’ keep by helping bring in and identify prospective clients, earn the right for serious consideration by potential client, increase the rate of closing the sale during the face to face appointment, and increase referrals.
How Much is a New Client Worth?
In order to quickly make effective calculations about your business there is a number that you absolutely must know. Without knowledge of this number you could be making decisions that seem ok for a while, but produce devastating long-term consequences. This absolute must-know number is the value of a new client. Many times business owners aren’t clear about this number because they are confused about the value of different types of clients or customers that they serve. Here’s an article that tells you exactly to figure out the dollar $ value of a new customer.
SEO and New Website Assist in the Sale
Even if the sale is made in a face to face meeting, the website still has a very important role to play in setting up the sale. This is done when the prospect is assigned to go to the website and read certain pages, or even fill out certain forms. The purpose of this is to provide a safe environment for the prospect to become more familiar with your business, thus making sure the actual meeting is much more efficient because the most common prospect questions have already been dealt with on the website. This enables prospects to self-qualify themselves and allows the actual meeting to focus on their needs, not your business. The net result of this is that the website assists in the sale by setting up the closing the sale conversation and increases the closing rate for those sales conversations.
The even bigger ROI of a website and SEO are the number of new leads it directly brings in. The sale may not be closed on the website, for many industries this is impossible. No one buys windows, a new roof, or a new house simply by visiting a website. However getting them into your sales funnel 24/7 is a great value to your business.
A poor or missing website can and does cost the business a great deal of money. This great cost comes in the form of lost sales. This happens even when contact with the prospect is made offline through referral, personal networking, phone call, or advertisement. Even when the entire sales process is conducted in person or by phone, the lack of a website will cause some prospective clients who are otherwise interested in you and your business to drop you from their consideration list.
The way this happens is that your prospects do go online to conduct their own due diligence before signing on the dotted line. What they discover about your business can indeed, and often does, make or break the sale. Estimating how many sales are lost due to a poor or missing website is tricky at best. The reason is that most prospects that lose interest in your business after not finding your website at all, or finding one that doesn’t make a professional impression, will not tell you about why they lost interest in you. If you suspect that your website may be losing sales for you in this way, it is, so start thinking about the value of a new client in your business and then begin working with someone who can help you create a website that works like an ATM. If you want to be sure, you can ask prospective clients that don’t purchase from you very pointed questions about their own due diligence process and what lead to their decision to take their business elsewhere.
Websites can often provide another important contribution to the company and that is in the area of efficiency. Information collected in online forms, forms printed out, common questions answered, pre-qualification of prospective clients – these are all ways that your website can save you time. How much time is saved in this way by your website each week or each month? How much are those hours per month worth in your business?
Measuring the ROI for an ecommerce website is fairly straightforward. However, for non-ecommerce websites, ROI doesn’t have to be a mystery. The key is to carefully consider the different ways that your website contributes to your business and then quantify that contribution.
A $5,000 website or $1,000 monthly for SEO may be a large investment for your company. However let’s look at the numbers. Let’s say you’ve calculated your new customer value to be $750. You currently have a website that brings in zero leads or you don’t have a website. With a new website and SEO you’re estimating to get a new customer a week.
Over the first year you’ve spent $5,000+$12,000 = $17,000
Since SEO isn’t instant, let’s say it takes 4 months to start getting your leads. 8 months *4 weeks = 32 new leads.
In this first year you’d earn 32 new customers * $750 new customer value = $24,000.
$24,000-17,000 = $7,000 return
This is just if you hit your low end of new leads. This also doesn’t account for the other value that was mentioned above. The second year will bring an even bigger return as your website will have been paid for. Also you’ll earn throughout the entire year as your brand and website will be established. With continued SEO you will hold your positions and grow into new keywords and markets.