This is a new and refreshing approach to understanding and addressing the lack of accountability of the traditional corporate website.
Let’s start with an investment every executive understands and values. You hire a star employee. The true cost is much more than their salary - it consists of taxes, insurance, headhunter commissions, moving bonuses and more. Quickly, a salary of $100,000 becomes an investment inching over the $130,000 mark.
With these costs, there’s no doubt that you will make absolutely sure that the job description is clear. Target objectives will be defined and understood. Performance will be reviewed quarterly and success metrics for the next quarter established. The consequences of failure will be agreed upon.
But what are the costs of failure to your company? The U.S. Department of Labor currently estimates that the average cost of a bad hiring decision can equal 30% of the individual’s first-year potential earnings. The CEO of Zappos estimates his own bad hires have cost his company “well over $100 million.”
Your web presence is very much like an investment in an employee. Like a new employee, your website must be assigned detailed objectives. It must be conceived, designed and then managed – much in the same way that an executive is recruited, provided a job description and hired. Goals must be clearly outlined, performance metrics defined and tracked.
Most importantly, your website is a financial investment, just like a new hire. Take into account that a fully functioning corporate website can cost as much, or more, than the cost of hiring the executive we discussed above.
You wouldn’t dream of hiring an executive and then letting them work without ever checking on their performance, would you? Of course you wouldn’t. However, that’s how many companies work with their websites. They treat them like an Unmanaged Employee.
Ultimately, the success of any online marketing campaign (organic traffic, paid search, email marketing, etc.) hinges upon the effectiveness and efficiency of the website. An ineffective site will be the bottleneck to online ROI and will represent the slow death of your competitive position. An Adobe survey found that, for 35% of the companies studied, average site conversion rates are below 1%. Econsultancy’s Conversion Rate Optimization Report uncovered that 78% of almost 900 companies surveyed were unhappy with their conversion rates. That is an unacceptable record of performance and an ongoing issue for small, medium and large websites.
Most companies we have worked with over the last twelve years had websites that suffered from this syndrome to varying degrees. Small to medium-sized and even Fortune 1,000 firms are not immune – and they all had web-masters who actively maintained their sites. However, maintaining a site is a far cry from managing, measuring and optimizing its performance.
The Unmanaged Employee Approach for your website is fast and straightforward. We assume the role of your Change Agents and delve into systemic inefficiency. Having helped companies such as Cisco, Microsoft, Novartis and even Skype, Yelp & LinkedIn, we’re not afraid to ask the tough questions and tell it like it is. We understand the far-reaching impact website accountability can have, both positively and negatively. Most importantly, we help you clarify the business objectives of your site and outline steps that you can take immediately to improve your site’s performance.
Treat your website like an employee. Make it fully accountable. Think baselines, key performance indicators, monthly performance reviews, testing, testing, testing.