Websites, ROI, and denial 

I was speaking to someone the other day who is a business partner in a small company. Their website is poor; it has hobbled along the last couple of years; not getting the attention or investment it deserves – a familiar picture which I’m sure many businesses can sympathise with.

The funny thing is this; they knew their website had brought them in lucrative & important sales; which meant that, even on a sub par website, the ROI box had been ticked. And they knew that a constantly optimised website could only vastly improve on that ROI. But that is where the logic stopped.


The issue was that the other business partner had a severe mental block; even though they realised the above; and they knew the current ROI could be improved enormously – they just could not join the dots up and consider investing more in their digital strategy (“but our last website only cost X?”).

A part of their brain simply did not want the above to be a true. Part of their brain wanted (needed?) to hang on to a truth where websites to only cost peanuts (pay peanuts? Get monkeys). 

Psychologists call this denial.

Emotional Buying

I’m not writing this blog post to mock that person or to rage against their logic. It’s just that, from a business/marketing point of view, it is fascinating how we make all manner of key decisions based on emotion rather than logic. I’m not writing this post to change their mind; you won’t – in my experience, the decision maker needs to be at a certain phase of the life cycle of their business to make change – if you try to speak to them in the wrong phase; it just won’t work: patience is the key. But the problem does not go away: a poor website will only get poorer – it won’t self heal. The problem will not go away. I’m in no rush.

Closing Thoughts

To try to break this denial; why not have a good think about how much a new customer is worth to you? What is their repeat business worth? What is their referral value worth? In light of this; does the amount you invest in your website tally with the potential reward? If not, perhaps it’s time to step it up a gear and upgrade to a smarter, optimised website which is geared up for ROI from the outset.
Best of luck convincing your business partners :)


Ps and before you say; perhaps they are happy with the amount of work they have coming in yadda yadda yadda – they were not. They are ambitious & have plans/goals for the future; goals which will require a much smarter digital strategy.

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