Prior to considering who you should use as a website provider it’s wise to ask yourself
“Is it worth the investment and if so how much should I invest?”
Like any marketing technique, the first question you should ask is will it provide a return on investment? The return on investment will determine how much you are prepared to spend and what percentage of your overall marketing budget should be spent on this medium. For the cattle stud operator you are likely spending money on print, agents fees and general promotion. Just like machinery you should also consider the running/ maintenance costs on an ongoing basis as they are ongoing cost adding to your business overhead.
Broader consumer behaviour
With the advent of the internet and ready access to information many people/ businesses commonly use an internet search to find out more about a business prior to making a purchasing decision. Put simply if you’re not on the internet you will likely lose a percentage of leads straight away. This can be overcome to a degree by using free digital social media e.g Facebook Page for your cattle stud. Conversely If you are only selling a few bulls a year and have access to a great selling outlet then a website would likely be a waste of money-the return on investment just wouldn’t be there. Alternately if the stud stock breeder doesn’t have access to an appropriate selling outlet and relies on paddock sales then the ROI changes back the other way- its probably necessary.
Back to the question “How to choose a website provider?”
Its probably easiest to identify what type of website you require and then find a provider that you feel can deliver what you need at a price and service level you are comfortable with.
These three categories of needs can be used a useful guide
You want a presence on the internet and facebook just isn’t quite good enough. Your website needs to look ok and the primary purpose is as a reference site. In this approach you need to consider your desired sale price per bull- if you are happy with $4,000 per bull for entry level bull buyers than they will most probably be satisfied with an entry level website. The same approach applies to the quality and professionalism of all your marketing efforts. Don’t spend money on marketing if you don’t need to-it’s just dollars out of your back pocket.
Your bull sale prices and volumes aren’t where you want them yet, but you understand that your presentation, your studs presentation and all your marketing efforts need to look and be executed professionally for you to get there sooner. In this instance website quality should reflect where you are going (even if you’re not quite there yet) but you don’t have the time or the money to use the website to create new leads and drive new business. At the same time you don’t want your website hacked or broken and if in the event it is you want it restored quickly by a trusted provider.
You also understand that Search Engine Optimisation (SEO- covered in a separate article) is important and so is the user experience. This means that you need the website hosted on a fast and secure server and that the website design is suitable for all digital devices. (i.e. Smart phone as well as computers). Ideally you can enhance the website later if digital marketing becomes more critical later as part of your broader marketing strategy as you don’t want to pay for a whole new one to be built.
Your website and digital marketing is a key component of your broader marketing strategy. You want your website to create new leads, help convert existing leads and understand that sometimes to make money you have to spend money and or time or both.
In considering this approach you will be regularly pushing leads to your website through other channels in your broader marketing strategy (i.e. selling agents, print) and your website will be integrated with other digital platforms. You want your website to have the capacity to handle video, articles and news and you understand that the more effort you place on integrating the website with other media at build the less cost and effort will be required to regularly update its content.
You will want analytics set up for your website so that you can measure the success of your digital marketing efforts to inform future decisions about digital expenditure and to measure your return on investment (ROI)
In choosing a provider and website you will also decide if you wish to publish content and updates to the website yourself or outsource all or some of the components elsewhere.