As a copywriter, I talk with entrepreneurs, business owners, and marketing managers about their websites, and I’ve noticed a striking pattern: almost everyone feels some level of doubt about their website. One by one, they confess their uncertainties to me…
Inherently, people know their website copy matters. However, they often underestimate how much an effective website could exponentially improve their bottom line and bring in new customers. To figure out if updating your online presence is a wise business decision, let’s start with situations where it’s not a good idea to invest in your website.
When Not to Invest in Your Website
During a recent focus group I was facilitating, an entrepreneur mentioned advice he heard that stuck with him (and me): "Startups are usually at an earlier stage than they think."
Occasionally, an entrepreneur will come to me with an idea and ask if I can build the story around it.
If you are in the idea stage, don’t invest in your website. Focus instead on hashing out your idea. Put your head down, develop a great product or company or at the very least, prototype, then worry about marketing it. You can’t invent a great story and hope it builds the business. Make the idea come alive, and the story will follow suit.
Got a Business You Want to Grow? Invest in Your Website
If you have a revenue-generating business, it’s absolutely worth it to keep your website updated. To help you determine what an "updated website" means, the simplest analogy is a glass elevator.
When you step into a glass elevator, do you look at the doors where you came from, or turn around to face the outside world?
Many companies will write their websites looking at the doors--fixated on what they know best, themselves.
"We've been around for 30 years...we do X, Y, and Z and we're the best in town. Here are some of the clients we've worked with before."
Forward thinking companies turn around to face the outside world--their customers. They recognize the environment as constantly changing, and stay vigilant and proactive. They observe how their customers' needs evolve and are continually focused on re-positioning their company to solve these problems.
"Did you forget your sunglasses on a sunshiny day? Don't let your eyeballs suffer any longer.
Get a spare pair that fits in your wallet→"
What sounds more compelling? A company biography or a novel solution to one of your current problems?
It's Time to Turn Around and Face the World
Connecting with your customers on a human level is essential to achieving your business and revenue goals. To determine if your website is outdated, ask yourself:
If it's been awhile (3-6 months) since you've checked in with your customers, now is the time to look. Only by listening to your customers can you uncover the most efficient way to market your value online, and marketing is integral to success.
As Bob Fifer, author of Double Your Profits in 6 Months or Less (a 90’s classic that still rings true today) says, "Most truly successful companies outspend their competition in marketing, either in absolute dollars or as a percentage of sales ."
When it comes to business expenditures, investing in your marketing is a strategic cost, which Fifer defines as follows:
The money you invest in well-directed marketing will help bring in new clients, improve your bottom line, and best of all — it’s generally tax deductible.
Website Content and Tax Deductions $$
Most people understand how a website can attract customers and grow their business, but many either forget or don't realize the tax incentives from Uncle Sam. Here in the promise land of entrepreneurial dreams, advertising costs for businesses are generally tax deductible.
You can pay money to invest in marketing your brand, or you can pay it to the government in taxes. Though I am not a tax accountant, there are plenty of resources online with more information on this.
Website content that is advertising is generally currently deductible; the treatment of other content costs will vary. Advertising costs are, generally, currently deductible. Thus, the costs of website content that is advertising are, generally, currently deductible -- CPA Services, Riley & Associates
Let's take a moment to count our blessings that it is not our job to write tax laws. To decipher any areas of uncertainty, speak with a tax accountant on your specific advertising expenses.
Don’t Put Off Updating Your Website
If you have a revenue-generating company and want to grow your business, make your online presence a priority. A website with a clear value proposition that speaks to the hearts of your customers is an invaluable marketing tool.
If you need help, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy to chat!