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The other day, I got an advertisement encouraging me to revisit an account I once created at Freshbooks. It was a pretty attractive invite too, nice looking and offered good visual incentive to get back with their program. This ad, and its distribution, was obviously costly.

I logged into the derelict account and took a look around. Much had improved and it was motivating me to click that upgrade button. Eventually I just had to review pricing, I was damn near sold and needed very little to push me to go ahead.

These days, in my internet world, any service in the area of 9.95 per month goes with fewer questions than those that rise above that number. This site was looking for a minimum of 19.95 per month though, so I did some slinking around …looking for some site hype to further justify the expenditure.

In that process I happened upon the employee page.

I don’t often shake my head at a webpage, but this one had me in full “for shame” motion. While trolling for my higher end dollar, the site was also looking for more staff. But their “pitch” for staffing was far more enticing than the pitch for clients.

The usual suspects were there, I expect to see these:
- Health benefits
- Parental leave
- Competitive wages

But these caught my eye
- Free pancakes, yogurt and other breakfast goodies
- Showers with towel services
- Free snacks and pop
- Paid Volunteer days
- Onsite Games and arcade machines

Is it volunteering if you’re paid?

Is this site trying to do too much? 

Okay so none of this seems too drastic financially, until you count the employees, which is 86 (and hiring more). Suddenly I wanted to take (earn) their money not give them mine. I was more interested in the only aspect of the site that doesn’t make money.

My first thought was … 86 x pancakes n yogurt x 200plus working days? That thought was followed by “86 x volunteer days paid at the animal shelter on my dime” and so on. The thought of paying 240 per year to sustain free pop and pancakes almost daily for 86+ people kind of pissed me off.

I don’t find fault with a company that offers neat amenities to staff. But it seems there might be a better way of getting it across; that info is too accessible, maybe even on the wrong site.

There’s something to be said for recognizing what leaving room for improvement can achieve in terms of revenue. Balancing information on your website to leverage confidence often involves paying attention to perception, and this holds true for cluing prospective customers, unnecessarily, into how their dough is spent (other than on customer services). Carrying on about spending, when asking for money, is just not wise. Free volunteer days, pancakes, games machines and yogurt sounds cute … until the client is being told it’s on their dime.

Freshbooks paid a lot of money for that ad to lure me back, it’s a pity they didn’t have a pro skate their site for marketing balance. Many companies do have their sites evaluated for spelling, grammar, technical reliability and more, but evaluating for “message” seems to be less of a concern.

Make a point in YOUR site proof reading schedule to ensure a balance of information. If you publish a page that conveys expenditure on the same site as the one that asks for substantial amounts of money (from existing or potential clients) consider the conflict of your overall message.