The ROI on Your WWW
The ROI on Your WWW
Having a company website is important for many reasons. First and foremost, it makes your company searchable and easy to contact, but it can also drive leads to your sales team, brand your company as a credible thought-leader in the industry, and entice job seekers. The two main reasons component manufacturers list for not having a website are cost and unclear value. In this article we’ll explore both.
Value: How can a website be lucrative?
Possibly the most important reason to have a website, especially if you are a smaller component manufacturer who relies on custom work, are sales leads. A website can bring in passive revenue with little effort.
Your average consumer wants to learn about your business, read customer reviews, get a quote, or be put in contact with a sales representative through your website. This is the same story for prospective business-to-business (B2B) customers. If they are new to your market or haven’t done business with you before, they are most likely going to go online to find out what value you can provide that the companies they are currently working with are not. Your website can help pivot your company from just another component producer to a skilled industry problem solver, a creator of solutions instead of static products.
“On average we receive 15 sales leads per month through our website. Thirty to forty percent of those leads turn into jobs,” says Jared Dix, plant manager of Apex Truss. Brad Unruh, general manager at Timberlake Trussworks agrees, “A lot of our repeat business has been generated through a customer who found us online initially and continued to buy from us. We have also had a lot of people who found us online and referred us to others. About 20-30 percent of our work comes from people requesting quotes through our website or someone seeing our website and calling in.”
In our digital day and age, your company must be easily searchable and easy to contact. Research done by the YellowPages states, “Thirty percent of consumers automatically strike a business from consideration if they don’t have a website.” If your company’s website isn’t searchable when a custom builder or homeowner searches the web for a quote on trusses, you probably aren’t going to make their list of people to contact. If a builder is coming to tour your facility to learn more about your products and isn’t able to easily find your company’s address using his smartphone, it may leave that potential customer with an unfavorable early impression of your company.
Another instance that being searchable and easy to contact is important is in attracting job seekers. According to Pew Research Center, “Roughly one-third of Americans have looked for a new job in the last two years, and 79 percent of these job seekers utilized online resources in their most recent search for employment.” These job seekers are researching companies because they want to make sure a job opportunity will be a good fit for them, their skill set, and their financial needs before they take the time to apply. Having a searchable website will allow you to tap into this 79 percent if you have a listing of available jobs and directions on how to apply.
Cost: Is the return worth the investment?
“To put it simply, the ROI is definitely there,” says Brad. “We pay $250-300 per month for a marketing specialist to update our WordPress website. To get some perspective on this, we are paying around $3,600 per year. If we sell one custom job through a lead we got off of our website, it has paid for itself,” explains Brad. There are several options at different price points to consider. The upside is that all of them pay for themselves by bringing in leads and drawing in potential employees.
The first option, and cheapest on the front end, is using a website builder. This is the “do-it-yourself” version of creating a website. Most of these website builders are easy to use, and are extremely cost effective. They range between $6 and $500 a month and include storage areas for uploading/downloading, branded email addresses, and even a storefront. The downside to a website builder is it might not give you all the capabilities you may want and need. That being said, it is better to have a simple “brochure” website than no website at all. You can achieve this for about $50 a month with limited capabilities. The top three suggested website builders on most review sites are Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly.
Taking into consideration time, money, and the potential for return, the best all-around website builder is WordPress. It can be relatively cheap and provides endless capabilities. This option allows you to create a website with little website building knowledge, allows for full customization, and is well suited for a company whose website would need a healthy amount of content and functionality. This option can run between $35 and $800 initially, depending on how detailed of a site you want and then $10 to $50 dollars monthly. If you need help building or managing your website, or just don’t have the time, you can hire a WordPress developer which runs from $100 to $300 per hour. Some CMs have reported using WordPress with a developer included in the monthly price. This ranged between $250-$300 per month. The top three suggested WordPress companies on most review sites: Blue Host, HostGator, and A2 Hosting.
The last option is hiring a web designer. This can be more costly, but very effective if you have the resources but not the time for development. Every web designer is different, but most either charge a monthly fee that can vary depending on what you have them do, or you hire them for a flat fee. Monthly fees usually range between $500 to $1000 and flat rates can be anywhere from $5,000 to $30,000. According to websitebuilder.com, the average website costs around $6,760 to build but does not include maintenance.
Keeping all of this in mind, if you are a component manufacturer who could use additional revenue through sales leads while making your company a professional and searchable thought-leader in the industry, what do you have to lose? If you can sell one custom job from a lead off your website, or hire a quality person through your website, the return would be worth the time and money you invested in it. Take action today! Make a plan with your IT and HR teams. Look into which website option would work best for your company and start reaping the benefits of a useful website that brings in revenue, allows you to be searchable and easy to contact, positions you to be a professional thought-leader in the industry, and helps recruit quality employees.
For more on keeping your website updated and why it pays off, read Put Your Best Electronic Foot Forward and Controlling Your Website Content In House.