What’s the ROI on Funky?

Pink sunglasses isolated on white.
Pink sunglasses isolated on white.

Recently I found this quote on an online marketing agency’s blog: “Macromedia Flash is the key to making your websites look funky.”

It really got me wondering. Why do you want to make your website look funky? And more importantly, what’s the ROI on funky?

I’m no great fan of Flash. It has its place and I believe it can improve the ROI of a website. But only if it offers something that’s both useful and efficient.

Most of the Flash I see is gratuitous “show business” and does a website more harm than good. I fully endorse Gerry McGovern’s acerbic observation: “What is a Flash intro except a fourth rate TV ad by someone who knows that they will never get the chance to do a real TV ad?”

I think the main reason Flash remains so popular is that many website owners are still under the misguided impression that their website will be better if it looks “funky”. And their web developers/agencies don’t know enough about what makes a successful website to advise them otherwise.

Charles CuninghameWebsite Copywriter

Related posts:

  1. Flash Back? (It Never Went Away… Unfortunately.)

Website development roadblocks

Yesterday I got a call from a web developer who needed a copywriter to refer his clients to. He told me he has several stalled projects. The clients had paid a deposit, he’d built the sites, but there was no content forthcoming… for several months!

This is a very common scenario. In fact just about every developer I’ve spoken too says there’s almost always a hold-up if the client is responsible for supplying web copy. The other scenario is the client supplies the copy but it’s rubbish.

This is a lose/lose situation. If the content’s bad the client gets no value from their website, and the dud site also makes the developer look bad. The client is upset when their website doesn’t work so the developer gets no repeat business or referrals.

There is an alternative. Developers should convince their clients to hire a copywriter. Clients need to understand that they can’t maximise the return on investment of their site without high quality content. With a copywriter onboard, everybody wins.

Where is your website going?

My first job after uni was working at a small publishing company. One of my boss’s favourite sayings was, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” It was a reminder to his staff that the first step in any project is to establish what you want to achieve i.e. setting goals or targets.

In my experience few websites have any goals. Often they’re built on the reasoning, “We’ve gotta have a website because everyone else has one.” Even now, many people think a website is a kind of marketing panacea. They think that by simply putting a website up they’ll be deluged with sales enquiries. Unfortunately it ain’t so.

Realistic and achievable goals for a website fall into the following categories:

Prospect acquisition
A website can deliver sales leads directly (e.g. by prospects emailing you to arrange a consultation or providing their contact details) or indirectly (e.g. by prospects visiting your showroom after finding out about your products online).

E-commerce
Making sales directly from your website.

Customer service
You can serve your customers better by providing customer service online. This can range from FAQs on common customer queries to a 24/7 online help desk.

Building brand equity
People now expect businesses to have a website. And they expect the same respect, responsiveness and customer service on the web as they receive from other touch points. A website can have a powerful effect on customers’ brand perception.

Process automation
You can cut costs by automating processes online e.g. online billing, data gathering, delivering information, and human resources procedures.

One, or a combination, of these goals should be the primary focus of your website. Once you’ve selected your goals you can develop strategies to achieve them.