When does something succeed? Obviously that is WAY up for debate and depends on many factors and frankly, just out right depends what you’re talking about. In this case, that something is a web page – something people interact with or otherwise use for a gain.
The more time I spend in the world of making web sites for profit, the more I find myself turned off by how people treat and expect results. Of course, I think it’s just a harsh realization that I have trouble understanding – the definition of success it seems is if the item (in my case, web services) get sold/sponsored…that they make their money back. Now, I’m not so naive that I don’t know that’s not a goal and one measure of success, but the final sale is not the end of the road.
How many times have you had to deal with any customer service? Whether you bought a product and needed help, or had to return something, or needed to take your car into service… You’ve already purchased their product but half of the return on investment is what you get AFTER you purchase the item.
Customer satisfaction is by far a better determinate of success than covering your cost. Do people use it? Do they get what they want? Do they like it? The end consumers don’t care what it cost YOU to create or deliver. They just want a product that delivers a good experience and makes them happy. It does make a difference how people perceive your products and services. That’s how you build credibility and loyalty. It’s better to have a loyal following than cover your costs.
Now there is a breaking point, obviously. You can’t run your business/service that way forever, but if you don’t have any loyalty (or very little) then you can’t just take joy in that costs were covered and go home wiping the sweat from your brow. It’s very unsettling (and borderline unrewarding) for me to make things that are good all to just cover costs and then aren’t look back on or followed up on for reason whatsoever. I’ve made many web products and interactions all in an attempt to sell to a sponsor. They were all sold thanks to the talent of a salesperson, but once they were sold there was no follow up. There’s no wondering if people actually came and got something out of their experience. In fact, there’s seemingly little thought to whether the project will benefit people BEFORE it’s even made. The only thought is, “is there enough meat to sell it,” because it doesn’t matter if people use it or not.
Now, I actually put most of this blame on the CLIENT, not the salesperson doing the pitching. It’s the client’s job to ask for results. If I’m a client and I’m paying $3000 for a week’s worth of sponsorship of a widget or service, I’d want to know if it was worth it. If I just want eyeballs I’ll buy a billboard or a block in the newspaper. Products and services, like web pages, offer interaction that can reach consumers at level not offered by “eyeball advertising.” If the client doesn’t ask for results, why should the outlet care about results? They shouldn’t – they’re just playing the game. I can’t say I blame them, but it ends up just being pure laziness (and greed).
If you’re reading this and buy advertising or invest in any sort of marketing campaign – always ask for results afterwards. Don’t settle for the numbers they promise you or say they can deliver. Make sure they do deliver and make sure your name isn’t getting associated with a crap product or service. Don’t settle for just eyeballs. If you take it seriously, your ad outlet will take it seriously, and in turn your customers will take you seriously.
It takes money to make money – but if you put more effort into even the smallest projects and lose money, you’ll be able to make MORE money without needing more resources later.