When times are lean, businesses are looking to cut costs. The danger is that if you cut costs too much, you may actually hurt valuable assets that drive profitability for your business. Website content is one of the areas where this is true. If it is viewed as a cost, then it is tempting to cut it from the marketing budget. This is a mistake because the content on your website attracts new leads, continues to nurture then through the buying process and keeps present customers coming back. Cutting back on web content means damaging the value of this asset. So when the cost cutters come knocking at your door, you need to justify the cost of your content. You need to show them it is an asset.
Book Value and Market Value
Cost cutters look at your marketing budget and see expenses that could be cut. You have to get them to change their perspective. These same cost cutters would not sell off factory equipment. This equipment shows up on the ledger sheet as an asset. The book value of the company is determined in part by the value of these assets.
The problem is that not all assets are tangible assets like machines. There are intangible assets. These things do not show up on the business ledger, but do add value. Web content is one intangible asset. It may not show up in the book value of the business, but it will in the market value.
Imagine two dentists who want to sell their practices. Dentist A and Dentist B both have identical equipment, offices and number of patients. The book value of the two practices will be the same. However, Dentist A has a strong web presence that generates 20 leads a month for teeth whiting. Dentist B has not updated his site since 1999. Whose practice are you going to buy? You are going to pay more for Dentist A's practice because it has an active lead-generating website.
Continuing with the Dentist A, imagine that on average 2 leads a month become patients and get their whitened at a profit of $2000 each. That is $4,000 per month and $48,000 a year of profit based on the lead generating website. Dentist A would be a fool to cut web content creation from his marketing budget. It is more than paying for itself with the leads that it creates. You could perform a similar analysis for your own business based on the average value of a customer for a year and the number of customers that your website generates. This will remind the cost cutters that downsizing content will also downsize customers and profits.
John Wanamaker, early 20th Century proponent of advertising, once said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half.” A century later, marketers can say with much more confidence that they know how effective their marketing efforts are. This is especially true of online marketing where every click can be tracked.
As you develop analytics to show how effective your content is at attracting web traffic, creating engagement and converting visitors to the next step in the purchasing process, then your marketing budget can be justified by this data. There are lots of great tools to help you to measure the effectiveness of your website. You want to use a few different tools to make sure you are getting a complete picture of your website activity.
The Importance of Strategy
This is why having a focused content strategy is so important for your business. If you are just creating content because it is fashionable or someone told you it was important, you are not going to get the results that justify the cost. With a clear strategy, your content will attract the right kinds of visitors and guide them through a marketing funnel until they are ready to buy. When this is happening, your web content will become a valuable asset to your business, and you will have the data to prove it to anyone who suggests trimming the content budget.
When your business implements a proven content strategy, your website becomes a valuable asset that generates new leads and customers. It is not just a cost that can be cut, but a digital asset that needs to be protected and enhanced. Don't let those cost cutters near it if you want to maintain its value.