Expense or Investment?

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  • September 5, 2007

How you view your website and other marketing initiatives from a business perspective may determine your return on investment before you even begin. Many corporations view marketing as an expense albeit a necessary one. Marketing budgets are often among the first to be trimmed and more often than not web marketers are the first to be shown the door.

In truth marketing is an investment in your company. What you put into it determines what you get out of it or your return on that investment. When things are not going well, for whatever reason, the last thing you should be doing is trying to bury your head in the sand and make your company as small as possible.

With that being said, sometimes it is difficult to know where or with whom you should invest your marketing dollars. It can be even more difficult when you begin to investigate online marketing initiatives and companies. The web is largely the wild west of marketing. It has very few rules and even fewer lawmen (or law women if you prefer). If you put your project out there, whether it be a complete website redesign or a natural search optimization campaign, you’re likely to get all kinds of people knocking down your (virtual) door. You might receive bids for $500 and $50,000 on the same project for the same work. So how do you tell the snake oil salesman from the real deal? First thing you can do is eliminate the outliers, the extreme lows and the extreme highs.

If you are requesting a redesign of your 10 page website and they are telling you it is going to be $60,000 turn tail and run! Otherwise you’ll be taken for a ride. Same thing for the $200 bid – you probably won’t get the quality you’re looking for. Other than that go with the company you feel the most comfortable with.

For more information I invite you to review this post from Forty Media on setting your web budget. The most valuable points are the bullets at the bottom.

  • In the current market, $5-10k is a good price range for a simple, custom-designed website. If you have unusual needs requiring custom software or configuration, that might get up into the $10-15k range. (If you’re on a tight budget, you may be able to get a decent site from a talented freelancer for a good amount bit less, though you’ll be trading one set of risks for another.)
  • If you’re looking to build a custom web application, expect the final pricing to land in the tens of thousands of dollars. The exact pricing will depend on the scope and nature of the project itself.
  • Logo design and web design can be two very different things. If you don’t have a logo already, consider getting that designed by a corporate identity designer before starting the web project.
  • Remember that you get what you pay for. Set your budget, and then find the best possible firm that can work within your budget. The bigger your investment is, the better (in theory) the return will be.