Confidence and Support: Why A CMS vendor should provide more than just software

With so many content management systems to choose from, how do you select the right one for your marketing team? One item that always seems to fall to the bottom of the consideration list – after a lengthy analysis of features and price – is the quality and availability of on-going services after your new website is launched.  You can quickly focus your search for a new vendor by considering what level of service you need from your CMS provider first.

Maybe you are a crack coder or have an IT team in your organization with a ton of experience building and maintaining websites. If this is the case in your organization, you may decide to manage the build and ongoing maintenance of your website internally. The question you really need to be honest about at this point is – do you want to? The ongoing maintenance and time required to ensure that software updates or patches are applied correctly, without breaking any of the plug-ins or custom code you’ve created will continually fall to your IT team. If something does break, are you confident that there is time to hunt through forums to find solutions and then implement them yourself? For mission critical websites, the time to get a page fixed or a patch installed can make the difference between a successful campaign launch and explaining to the CMO why you missed a key Q3 initiative. You also want to know that after the initial excitement of launching the site is over, there is a commitment to keep the site up to date in a timely manner. You might find that choosing a vendor with a technical support team that specializes in working with your CSM just makes your marketing teams life easier, allowing everyone to focus on marketing rather than the technology.

On the other hand, if you are a marketing department that doesn’t have access to a website development team or IT resources are thin, you should seriously consider the advantages of having a CMS with ongoing technical and design support first. Although I have been talking about services in general, it makes sense here to talk about the different kinds of support available. First, there is technical support. You need a team of people who understand the CMS you’re using, your website, and your overall marketing efforts. Knowing how these elements work together is the key to quick troubleshooting and fast resolutions of issues. Beyond being experienced, the technical support team must also be available when you need them. Always be sure to check the support availability for your time zone and the average turnaround times to respond to phone calls or email.  The second type of support is design and best practices support. A digital services team should be able to advise you on ways to improve your site design to take advantage of your technologies and improve the effectiveness of your digital campaigns. Most importantly, a services team that knows your CMS and marketing programs can make value added suggestions, knowing that you can implement them with your current technology platforms.

If your CMS provider has a digital services team or partner program for building, designing or re-designing websites your next web update will be considerably easier. Being able to engage with a team that understands the capabilities of your CMS means that design choices can be made that allow you freedom (after the build is complete) to update more of the content. Hiring an agency that is not familiar with your CMS risks you having a site that does not work optimally with your CMS. For example, a site design may be unsuitable or expensive to build, or there is too much hard coded design on websites that you cannot update or modify through the CMS.  Whatever you do, don’t let an agency pick your CMS because it is the one that they like best! You will be the one who will be using it day in and day out and it must suit your needs first.

Although there are pros and cons to using installed software versus a cloud-based CMS services, cloud-based content management systems and services work together very nicely. Not only does the maintenance of the CMS fall to the solution provider, the very nature of cloud-based platforms means they are accessible by a support services team and are not locked behind your IT firewall. You don’t have to open up your internal IT systems to outside support teams or play guessing games about what can be seen on the screen – your service provider can log in and troubleshoot quickly and easily.

For your next CMS purchase, considering the level of services that works best for your organization can help you short list the right vendors. After all, choosing the right CMS for you make your team more effective and your day to day work trouble-free.

Marqui provides web marketing software and services to help our customers engage members, customers and prospects through the web. Our on-demand software combines powerful web content management and drip email marketing without compromising ease-of-use for non-technical users. Our customers receive industry-leading support and a range of services focused on helping them succeed including web marketing consulting and website design and build.