Welcome to the 21st century where entry into the business world has become more competitive than ever before. In order to have a successful business, it is imperative that your business stands out both online and in the real world. Word of mouth and social media while effective, are not sufficient. Consumers need to be made aware of the niche or gap in the market that your product or service is.
This article does not serve to discredit the usefulness of social media in the marketing of a business (a Facebook page for a business has its place). It aims to shed light on the shortcomings of Facebook when considering your business’ online presence. This article sets out 5 main reasons why having only a Facebook page as your online presence for your small business just doesn’t cut it and why you need to invest in a business website.
1. A business website builds credibility for your business
The current business market is heavily saturated and if you want your business to thrive it is imperative that your business stands out. In the online world without names, faces or people the effectiveness of your online presence must speak for you. One way to stand out is to build your online credibility. Anyone can have a Facebook page, and let’s be honest, we have all come across some rather suspect looking pages on Facebook, but only a credible and professional business will have invested time and money into a business website.
Credibility is the first place where Facebook will fall short for your small business needs. It is generic, free, and widely available to everyone, including scam businesses. Whilst this tool is beneficial for a small business to get their name out (or ensuring a comprehensive online presence) it also puts all businesses into the same box. When a business only has a Facebook page to represent their online presence it prevents the consumer from distinguishing a well-established, credible company from an at-home start-up business.
There is no filtering option or standard upon which to compare businesses and this means that a company such as Dunkin Donuts will have the same ranking as the small coffee shop down the road. In addition, when searching for a service or product, the consumer will be returned many identical Facebook pages to choose from. So without a website, you will receive no preferential ranking for your growing company and your online presence will remain stagnant.
Your Business Website
In contrast, by investing in a well made and professional business website, your online credibility will only improve. Having a user-friendly, well designed, and professional website gives an excellent first impression of your business to the consumer and aids the legitimacy of your business (as a scammer is unlikely to go through the effort and cost to create a beautiful website). By having a professional website, a certain level of trust is built subconsciously and confidence is instilled in the consumer. They become less sceptical and place a trust in you that puts you above your competitors. Now, factors such as price, quality and service become your arsenal for gaining new clients. Credibility also aids your SEO ranking meaning more people will find your business faster.
2. A business website allows for more accessible, well organised information
One of your most vital roles as a business owner is fulfilling your customer’s needs. If it is a new customer, they have no allegiance to you so if you don’t give them what they want (promptly) they will look for it elsewhere. While social media aids in making some of your information accessible and expanding your online presence, it is generic which ultimately results in the customer suffering.
Facebook pages allow businesses to advertise for free on the social network. Facebook is like an online Yellow Pages (telephone book), all of the relevant information is there, but it can be tedious to find and limits the way in which you can promote your product specifically. It allows you to give a description of your product, contact details, a picture in a specific spot, and an interactive news-feed to post and respond to posts. This all sounds great, and to a certain degree is great, however, every business’s Facebook page has the exact same layout. There is little individuality or Woww factor (excuse the pun) and this is hinders you as a business owner attempting to get your brand to stand out.
A website gives contact details and other vital information, but also so much more. It is an opportunity to show off your businesses brand, your values, purpose, and lets you put your best foot forward. Time is money and having a website allows you to prioritize your information based on what your customers want to see first. You can make it uniquely yours by organising your information in a business specific manner, making it interactive, relevant to your business (such as your menu, reviews, blogs and news), and giving your customer an experience they will remember and come back for.
3. A business website helps your SEO and ultimately your Google ranking
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the rising star in the world of marketing. In essence it pertains to your ranking in search engine results. If someone Googles the product you sell, you want your business to be one of the first links on the first page. Think of how many times you have gone onto page 2, I’d bet you could count on one hand. Consumers are the same, they don’t want to (and won’t) search for you. You have to make yourself present and make it easy for them to find you. Good SEO will translate into a stronger more credible online presence that works all day and all night to get you more customers. The article “What Is SEO And Why Do I Need It For My Website?” is worth a read if you want to find out more about SEO.
Another goal, as a small business is wanting to rank organically. You want someone to search your product and have your business name appear. Organic ranking saves you money as you will have less advertising to do.
In terms of online presence, a Facebook page alone is very weak. A weak or low online presence translates to a low search engine ranking. Compounding this low ranking is the indistinguishability of Facebook pages.
To give your business the advantage you need to get your business to appear as one of the first links. Unless you are selling Iguanas in some remote Icelandic town, with a Facebook page as your only online presence and someone searches for you directly, it is unlikely that you will be highly ranked. You need to have a website. A website helps your organic ranking (as websites rank higher than Facebook pages) and allows you to to optimize your SEO. You can and improve your ranking further by creating content, such as this article, and building links between other websites. Think of your website as your hardest working marketer, available 24/7 bringing interested customers to your business.
4. A business website grants you access to Google Analytics
An incredible tool, Google Analytics, can’t be used by Facebook pages. Google Analytics allows you to learn about your audience. You can see who viewed your site, where they are from, how long they visited for, how they linked to your site and where they looked and what they clicked on your site. This information allows you to perform market research with minimal effort. Or to constantly analyse consumer trends, identify shortcomings on your website, and increase overall user experience.
Facebook allows you to see who has liked your page (along with the rest of the Facebook community). That’s it. Facebook is a third party site, and doesn’t give you the permissions to access this information. As a result you have no idea of how your online presence is being received and utilized. This can even be a negative for your business. If few people have liked your page (say as a result of it being new) others may be misinformed about the quality of the product or service and you could even lose business.
Google Analytics and all of the features it comes with are available to you when you have a business website. It allows you to target your customers more directly as you can see where they originate from. Be it from a link on Google from South Africa or a link on Bing! from the UK. You can identify what and where you need to change it. This will keep you on top of your sales trends.
5. A business website allows for your business to be identifiable
For a business to thrive, it needs to be individualized and distinguishable from the rest. Your business website design is crucial to building the brand of your small business.
If you look on any Facebook page, it is the branding of Facebook that is most prominent. This makes any attempt to individualize your business from a competitor’s using a Facebook page very difficult. You can change your pictures and name but not the size or placements on the page. This makes your business look very similar to any other and defeats the point of your Facebook marketing.
By having a business website, you are able to customize what you want. Create a website and you will be one step further to creating a brand for your small business. By knowing who your target market is, you’re able to design your website to suit their needs. You are able to add pictures, interactive features, and customize it. This will align your website with your business brand and goals.
When starting a business and planning your marketing strategy, you want to stand out from other businesses and a business website offers you an individuality that a Facebook page simply cannot. Social media is important, there is no denying that, but it has its place. It is insufficient to fulfill the ever changing and increasing needs of an online presence for a business. This is why you need a website, to set your business apart from the rest.
Woww offers you a professional website and websites will build credibility for your business, allows your customers more accessibility to information and will help your SEO ranking. It will also allows you access to incredible user insights with Google Analytics. The most important benefit is that it allows your business to stand out in the online market place.