You get what you pay for

Yesterday morning I was part of a panel discussion. The Hot Topic.  SEO, Branding and Web Design.  (Guess who was the branding person???) Debbie Kiederer, the founder of ChalkDust Consulting was there to speak about web design. She  was asked: How much does a website cost? Her answer was “I don’t know.”

Websites, like all things marketing, come in any price range you want. From a do it yourself version for $500 to sites that cost $50,000 or more.  You can buy 500 business cards on Vista Print for practically nothing, or you can have something fancy designed and offset for $1,000. There are SEO folks that will start at $250/month (I get those unsolicited emails all the time) and others that start at $5,000.

The one thing I can say about all of this is that you get what you pay for. The cheapest website is not going to work as well for your company as a more expensive one. It will have limitations in design and customization and pages, among other things. Neither will the cheaper business cards or the cheaper SEO program. That’s not to say that everyone needs to spend a tremendous amount of money on their marketing. The rule of thumb I gave my corporate clients was to spend about 10-15% of gross sales on marketing. More for a launch. Today, I give the same advice to my solopreneurs. (Although for them, if you can spend the time, you may not have to spend the money).

But the key is always knowing what you want to spend and then finding someone who will provide the best value for the money you have. Give the folks you are working with a range. What kind of website will $2,500 buy? Or $5,000, if that is your budget. Then figure out what’s a need to have and a nice to have. And go for the best you can.

Remember, everything that touches a potential customer says something about your company. Everything. From business card to website, to how someone answers the phone, to how you are dressed to how you decorate your office. So make every interaction the best one you can. Always. Because it’s not an expense. It’s an investment in your future. And a critical one, at that.

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