Your website can be one of your most effective tools when it comes to increasing profits. The right layout, content, and navigational flow helps convert visits from curious passive onlookers to documented action and sales. That doesn’t mean it should fall under the marketing umbrella. Many furniture businesses don’t understand the difference between digital marketing vs web design expenses and end up throwing it all into the same bucket.
It’s important to organize your budget and designate enough money to pay for effective digital marketing campaigns. You may be missing out on taking advantage of some real opportunities by not separating the two sets of expenses. We’ll show you what falls under each column and the advantages of keeping the costs separate.
Understanding Digital Marketing Expenses
Digital marketing allows you to reach out to the audience drawn to what you offer. If your furniture store sells more in a mid-level price range, you may want to reach young people living on their own for the first time who value practicality over anything else. Stores specializing in more high-end collections can target people in an older demographic with more expendable income.
This is where the difference between digital marketing vs web design expenses come into play. You’ll need to make sure you’re funding your efforts well enough to see measurable results. Let’s look at some important features of digital marketing used to help in promotional efforts.
Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) helps get your content higher in search engine rankings. If someone’s looking for a new leather armchair from a furniture store near them, you’ll want your business popping up at or near the top of their Search Engine Results Page (SERP) on Google, Bing, or any other search engine in use.
Search Engine Optimization can take on many forms, some free and some fee-based. Those fee-based costs will impact your budget – here’s how:
- Keyword and backlink research and competitor analysis tools like SEMrush requires a monthly service subscription. In order to find the most valuable keywords, phrases, and advertising analyses, you have to pay. Great data isn’t free.
Pay Per Click Advertising
Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising (Example: Google Adwords) allows business and marketers to create targeted ads that appear when users enter certain terms into a search engine. The best ads match exactly what the user needs and directs them to a page giving them what they want. Although less effective than organic results obtained from using SEO techniques, they can still give you an added edge over other local competitors when you have a skilled copywriter creating your ads.
PPC advertising is one of the more popular forms of digital marketing and thus, requires little explanation on what determines the price, however, a short numbers overview of this marketing method looks like this:
- This is paid advertising meant to appear on search results pages. You determine your budget based on the keywords you want to bid on (see above cost of using SEMrush for this research) and the number of impressions you’re aiming for. Popular keywords/phrases that are important to your industry or location may be significantly higher than less popular search terms. You’ll have to “bid” on these words.
- Example: The keyword “Insurance” is one of the most expensive keywords and costs advertisers over $54.00 per click, while less popular terms can be as little as a few dollars.
Branding and Content Marketing
Branding is the impression your company leaves behind thanks to your digital marketing efforts. What do people think of when they hear your business’s name? Your company should be the main answer to any questions they have when it comes to furniture.
This concept goes beyond just coming up with an eye-catching logo, though that certainly helps. Here’s what you should be focusing on when it comes to your branding efforts.
- Presenting a clear vision of your business
- Having a consistent message about your company in all digital marketing efforts
- Giving customers motivation to make a purchase from you
- Building trust between you and your audience
- Gaining customer loyalty
Just like great data isn’t free, neither is great content. To attract your audience and keep them interested, you need to provide them with quality and relevant content. What does it take to do this? Find out:
- Professionally written blogs, social posts, and email campaigns depend on the level and expertise of the writer. You should aim for a 4 or 5 star writer that can produce materials that thoroughly communicate your campaign goals and can optimize for those keywords you worked so hard to research. With most writers charging per word, you can expect blogs to cost the most, ranging from $80-$120 with emails slightly less and social posts the least expensive.
Conversion Rate Optimization
The goal of any marketing efforts is continued engagement by your target audience. You want to leave customers inspired enough to initiate further contact with you. That could be as simple as visiting your website or signing up for an email list. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) tactics help you figure out what users want from your site and how to make sure they get it.
It’s important to keep statistics around what efforts bring you the most conversions and where the weaknesses are in your marketing campaigns. It takes time and effort to ensure you’re capturing data accurately from different user interactions.
Conversion Rate Optimization isn’t something you can break out on your budget sheet into a singular line item. CRO is made up of all the various paid tools, ads, research services, and content you purchase to improve your digital marketing efforts.
Social media should be a factor in any marketing campaigns you design. It’s another reason why distinguishing between digital marketing vs web design expenses is important. Sites like Facebook and Instagram allow you to use SEO and PPC advertising on their platforms as well. How can you effectively budget for your efforts in these spaces if you’re not separating them out from your website operations?
Just like Google Adwords (i.e. the most recognizable PPC platform), Facebook also allows business to create targeted online ads within their social platform.
- Facebook’s pay per click advertising services will bill you according to an estimated number of impressions that will depend a great deal on the target audience you’ve chosen. That certainly makes it a little more difficult to find your cost-per-conversion in a meaningful way. At the same time, advertising costs on Facebook tend to be a lot lower when measured in terms of reach.
Targeted Email Marketing
Email marketing is instrumental in allowing you to reach out to customers in a more personal way. If you’re using it the right way, you’re only sending them what they asked for, increasing the chances they’ll continue engaging with you. Content strategy also comes into play when coming up with effective email copy. Your wording should be informative while also encouraging users to take some type of action once they’ve reached the end.
As you’ve likely heard a million times, email marketing is one of the most cost-effective, lead generating, conversion tools available. For many businesses, this is a free (or nearly free) utility.
- Whatever you use to create your email campaigns (Example: Constant Contact or MailChimp) is your CMS, content management system. This solution has a fee-based structure that may charge you a monthly flat rate or a fee that’s determined on the number of emails you send in month to your subscriber lists. Be sure you know what you’re paying for and make the best choice for your business model.
- As mentioned previously, you should consider outsourcing your email content to a professional. This extra cost may seem unnecessary, but it can save you precious time.
Understanding Website Expenses
We’ve gone over a lot of different aspects of digital marketing. It’s equally as important to have a good grasp of everything that goes into maintaining an effective website. Here’s what you should be accounted for when budgeting for these types of expenses.
Website Design Costs
A well-designed website flows easily and instantly captures the users from any device and any screen size. They should be able to navigate it easily from different menus and find exactly what they’re looking for on a landing page. SEO plays an important part in getting various areas of your website ranked in search engines like Google. Your site should be full of content delivering on what you promised to users through your digital marketing efforts.
Other things to keep in mind when coming up with your website design:
- Any ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) requirements you’ll need to meet
- State or federal laws around how you capture and share user data
- International laws like GDPR that apply to any foreign citizens visiting your site
A website should get people engaging with your brand and your merchandise. A design, whether custom or templated should adhere to current best practices and trends. It also needs to feel like your store. Think about it, you online storefront is the first experience your online shoppers have with you. Most website providers consider the website design as a one-time cost that’s part of the setup.
Do you plan on building the site yourself, or hiring an outside firm? Will you be using a CMS already on the market, or going with a customized solution? How will you store the content used to feed the site and any user data? What about security? All this needs to be accounted for when you’re deciding how much to spend on a new website or any needed upgrades.
Having a solid design that incorporates all the tools you need and your customers expect is invaluable. The old adage “you get what you pay for” is 100% true. Do your research, compare costs and budget for a monthly expense.
- Many “off the shelf” platforms have powerful back-end management and administrative components. Pick a provider that can also deliver regular version enhancements (included in your monthly fee) so you’re not having to go back every few months to pay for those additional platform upgrades.
Website Tools Worth the Investment
You can enhance your site with things like LiveChat to help customers answer simple questions. Or use interactive tools like a room planner or product visualization that lets them select fabrics and wood finishes to virtually design their own custom furniture. These things improve the user experience and increase the chances of making an ecommerce (or in-store) sale.
Give your store options with room to grow. Not ready for ecommerce yet? Find a provider that offers the tool and can turn it on when you’re ready.
- A la carte or add-on elements will increase your monthly website cost, so when you’re ready to add a new service, don’t forget to make room in the budget. Be sure to also remember that a tool like ecommerce may cost to have the service, but if you’re making sales online, it should pay for itself.
Coming Up With The Right Budget
So now that you understand the differences between digital marketing vs web design, it’s time to think about what to set aside for each. Here are some things to keep in mind as you come up with what you want to spend.
- Will you have an in-house employee handling digital marketing?
- Are you going to pay content writers to maintain a blog on your website?
- Do you plan on paying for PPC ads in places like Google Ads or Facebook?
- Are you thinking of creating videos or doing any sort of live streaming?
- Who’s going to be responsible for reporting if your digital marketing efforts help you meet Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)?
- Have you carved out time for doing A/B testing on ads across different platforms?
- Who will be responsible for coming up with ideas for your digital marketing campaigns?
You’ll need to do the same when it comes to spending on your website.
- How much will it cost to overhaul your current site?
- Who will be responsible for any changes to the site?
- What tools do you wish to purchase for your site for a better user experience?
- What technology will you be using?
That’s just some of what you need to consider when coming up with a final dollar amount. Your spending can increase or decrease depending on the success of different efforts, so build in some flexibility for that.
Get Help Managing Your Website and Marketing Efforts
Now that we’ve clarified how digital marketing vs web design costs differs, you may see an opportunity to improve your online engagement and sales efforts. Think about adding digital marketing initiatives to your portfolio or updating your current website platform.
There’s so much to keep track of when it comes to effectively maintaining and succeeding in the digital marketplace. The idea of managing branding, social media engagement, and product data can be overwhelming if you’re not experienced in this area.
MicroD has over 25 years of experience helping furniture retailers and manufacturers manage their website and digital marketing. We can help transform your website and improve the image of your company online. Our professionals can do everything from managing and designing your website to coming up with digital marketing efforts to drive more business your way.