Latest research shows that 87% of Americans use the internet, and yet, 29% of businesses in the United States still do not have a website. For some business owners, the process of building a website feels overwhelming. I can understand that (but would want those individuals to know that with the right partner the process can be easy). There are others who choose to limit their company’s online presence to a profile on social media, often Facebook. Everyone’s on Facebook so that’s a strategy, right? Wrong.
I’ve have marketed businesses on social media for over a decade. While I believe social media can be a powerful component of a company’s overall marketing strategy, it is not a replacement for a well-done, informative website. Here’s why:
1. Your website thoroughly tells your story.
Converting a prospective client to a paying client requires you to clearly communicate the value of the products and services you offer. You must show you understand the challenges facing your target market and you have a solution to resolve those challenges. There’s no better place to do this than on your website where you control the message, the flow of information, and do so from a place that is free from distraction to your visitors.
If you are a Facebook user, you know how noisy the space is. There’s a live chat feed, updates from friends, paid ads, and clutter that threaten to distract your prospect. You also run the risk of your prospective client seeing advertisements from your competitors, interrupting your introduction to your prospect. When you are trying to grow your business, do you want your prospects engaging with you, or do you really want to risk introducing them to another company?
2. Your website gives you credibility.
When you purchase a domain name, build your messaging, illustrate your understanding of the needs of your target market and clearly communicate why you are the best company to meet those needs, you prove your commitment to your prospective clients. This earns you a depth of credibility that is not equal to what is gained by a company that simply sets up a free page on Facebook.
3. The web is where your prospects are.
In 2017 Google was used for 74.5% of all internet searches globally. Over 3.5 billion searches per day are conducted. The internet is where people go to find answers and Google is their favorite place to start that search. When internet users are seeking products and services to meet their needs, Google will prioritize its search results to first display companies who have thriving, user-friendly websites.
If you are one of the 29% of businesses who do not yet have a website, I encourage you to change that. Make your website the hub of your marketing strategy. Use it to communicate your value to your prospects and clients. Demonstrate your understanding of their needs. Be the expert source they are seeking to address their challenges and solve their problems.
Again, I am not suggesting that you abandon your social media accounts, in fact, I encourage you to maintain those accounts (or start them if you don’t have them). Social media is a powerful way to engage and connect with your prospective and existing clients and drive traffic back to your website. Embracing both as part of your marketing strategy is the first step toward reaping great rewards.
A word of caution: not all websites are created equally. A great website is aesthetically pleasing but there’s also a scientific element that drives its performance and the results it will achieve. In next month’s blog, I’ll share tips for optimizing your site for greater visibility.