You already have an online presence and perform marketing through social media. Maybe it is a Facebook Page, a Twitter Feed, or an Instagram Business Account (or even all 3).
Do you really need a website then?
For the short answer just look at any successful business and you will find they have a website, and social media pages. This is even true for the social media companies themselves!
Now let’s dive into the reasons behind this decision of always having a website.
It’s a Numbers Game
According to statista, 82% of people in the United States has a social media profile. That is a real high percentage and works out to about 272 million of the total population of 332 million in the United States (as of 2022). This number though is lower than the number of active internet users which is at 90% or 299 million. This means if you are using just social media you are leaving about 27 million people in the dark about your business.
Search Engine Optimization
Wait, are not most social media pages viewable with an internet browser? Yes they are, but most like Facebook make it very difficult to view these pages without creating a profile on their platform. This causes visitors extra aggravation as they need to spend time creating a profile they did not want in the first place (so how likely will they actual do that).
The other problem is that unlike websites, most social media business pages do not rank very high in the search results. They may rank okay for the business name, but for any related searches about your industry they do not. Therefore you will find very little new business online, and your competition will benefit.
If you want more sales, then having a website which has a chance to rank for search terms related to your industry and audience is critical.
Many Social Media Platforms
Another important thing to consider is that social media has many platforms and most people only have 1 or 2 social media profiles. What social media accounts you have is reflected most by your age. Older adults usually have a Facebook account, but have a much less chance of having an Instagram or TickTok account. These are newer platforms that became popular with high school and college aged users in the past decade, while older adults rather stick to the platforms they know.
If your target audience crosses generations then this means your business would need to create additional accounts on more than 1 social media platform just for the chance of reaching them. This means you have that many more accounts to manage along with posting content too.
Everyone who is online regardless of their age, can access a website with just an internet browser. This means your business content can always be found by using a search engine like Google (and no account or profile is required).
Social Media Platforms Come and Go
Do you remember MySpace? They were the first popular social media platform that had millions of users. Today they are no where to be found.
Even the juggernaut Facebook for the first time ever is seeing a decline in users. According to Forbes, Facebook lost the 500,000 daily users in the last three months of 2021. Maybe this is just a blip or the start of a longer trend, who knows?
Meanwhile, we see TickTok in the last few years growing in leaps and bounds.
What this shows is that these social platforms are at the mercy of their users and it doesn’t take much for a platform’s userbase to switch if they think something else is better.
For business owners this means they are taking a risk by putting all their eggs in one basket. If that platform suffers then their business will also suffer.
A Website can do so Much More
Some social media platforms like Facebook allows owners to do a lot with a business page. You can post information about your business, create discussion groups, events, and create posts. Users can leave comments on your posts, like your posts, and even write reviews about your business. This is all available for free without spending any money.
A website can do all this as well, and a lot more. One of the main things missing from Facebook though, is the ability to sell products or services online directly. You can list products and services, but at most for those interested, they are directed to contact you via Facebook, a phone number, or your website for more information and/or to purchase. With a website, you can have the ecommerce built right in and take orders right away. Of course a decent website costs at least several thousand dollars and requires ongoing maintenance, but at least it is something you own and no one can take it away.
You do not Own your Social Media Page
While in most cases you own your website (this is always the case at eSilverStrike Consulting), that is not true of your social media page and profile. At any time, if the social media company thinks you have breached their terms, they can lock or close down your account without notice. It can be very difficult to get back access, as customer service is very limited and mostly automated. This is the same problem if your social media profile gets hacked. Usually when this happens the hackers post content that gets your account flagged and suspended. You then have 3 problems. This includes:
- Trying to reach someone at customer service quickly.
- Proving who you are and that you are the true owner of the account.
- Getting your account reopened in a timely manner. (can take days or even weeks)
For a business with a website you do not need to worry about a 3rd party like this kicking you off their platform and you loosing all of your data. Very rarely businesses may get in trouble with their web host, but at least it is much easier to contact customer service and get things straighten out (as you area paying customer). The worse thing you would have to do is switch web hosts, but that can be done with relative ease and quickly for most websites thanks to backup and migration software.
The other thing of concern is you have very limited control over your social media page. One of these pages looks very similar to the next. You are also at the mercy of social media and the designs and features they offer. They can change anything about their platform, at any time without letting you know. Just image a landlord coming into your retail store and make changes without consulting you. Well, that is how social media works.
Social Media is for Connecting People
Social media can be very effective in connecting people through:
- Paid advertising by promoting your page and posts in peoples feeds.
- By participating in industry related groups.
It should only be part of your marketing strategy though. Just like email marketing, search engine optimization, and offline marketing campaigns. None of these strategies work on their own. All the traffic generated from them must be funneled somewhere, and that place is a website.
Websites are for Conversions
A conversion is when a visitor of the website completes a desired goal, thereby turning said visitor into an active user or customer.
A website is a marketing tool. To make it successful, a website has to take into account the goals of your business and your target audiences needs. Calls to actions and landing pages need to funnel visitors and turn them into paying customers or clients. Information about the business including services and product offered, contact details, location and business hours, etc. all need to be organized and easy to find and explained. Information can also be offered about the industry the business is in. This is used to attract traffic to the website in the hopes you can help solve a problem the visitor may have and convert them into a paying customer or client.
Unlike social media, a website allows you to monitor conversion rates. With analytic tools you can monitor visitor traffic. This includes how they got to your website, and what they did on your website. This allows you to tweak the website to further suit your audience needs improving the user experience (UX) and therefore the number of conversions.
Don’t get me wrong, having a presence on Social Media is important part of online marketing for your business. It just can’t be the only part. If it is, you are missing out on a lot of potential business.
A website, which is something you own and have complete control over, is what anchors all of your marketing endeavors and should be the central point of your business online.