Occasionally I’ll run across an individual that asks me one specific question or just puts it in the form of a statement. That question or statement generally sounds like this: “Do you really need a website today? I mean I have a Facebook” or “I don’t need a website”. Generally the people saying these things have limited knowledge about Digital Marketing and that’s ok! I’m assuming that may even be why some people are reading this blog. I want to address this mentality by explaining how I view Social Media, Websites, and an entire Digital Marketing process. There are quite a few aspects to Digital Marketing and all of them work together to accomplish the same overall goal of getting your brand, message, products, and services out there to the general public. Let’s dive in to a little bit more detail by talking about websites and how I believe they function best.
What Is A Website?
Generally speaking your website is an online representation of your business just as your brick and mortar location is a physical representation of your business. If you wouldn’t have trash laying around, broken signs, or various other issues plaguing your businesses physical location why would you want a subpar website representing your business? You don’t want the website to load slow, images to look bad, content to contain errors, or the design to be off putting.
The above issues would be the equivalent of your physical location having broken light bulbs, holes in the wall, a falling sign, or just being generally dirty. No one wants to go to a hole in the wall location and no one will want to use a crappy website. If you’re already wanting to create a website then that is great, but please take the time and effort to do it properly or to hire someone that can do it properly.
Now you might ask why cant your Social Media be an online representation of your business. Of course your Social Media pages will represent you, but think about how you use Social Media personally when you happen to be on it. How often do you find yourself looking deeply into one businesses page on Facebook unless that is your only option? Do you surf every post by one business to see what they are doing or check Facebook to find out store hours, pricing, or other pertinent information?
You may do these things on occasion, but for the majority of people we simply “Google” the name of the business or our question in general. This is especially true when we see an ad for something. About half of the time we do a Google search for the business to check its legitimacy.
Sometimes depending on where you are searching from if a Facebook page is the first thing to pop up I bet you’ll scroll a bit on the first search results page to see if you can find a website. Why do you think that is? Personally I believe it’s because you know that if there is a website then it most likely will have the answer to the question you have and if the website is good then it will be more easier for you than checking the Social Media page.
I like to think of my Website as a hub for all that is my business. I can write these blogs that people may refer to or read through, post new projects I’m working on, update my contact information, change my store hours, or update photos and imagery all in one convenient place where everyone knows they can find that information. Another key thing you may want your website to do, depending upon your business model, is convert potential clients into real clients.
There are various ways to achieve conversion goals with Calls To Action (CTA) like a 50% deal with a button leading consumers to where they can move forward with the deal. You can also just share information, which is what I mainly focus on. By sharing my knowledge I am giving away FREE information, but willing to bet that in the end most people want to focus on their business and specifically the parts they love.
I am a web developer and marketer…I could buy special paper for my printer and print my own business stickers, but they won’t be anywhere close in quality to what my friends at Sticker Shark can do. It will also cut into my precious time to learn how to do all that. Time that would be better used writing these blogs, taking a programming course, looking at analytics, designing websites, managing Google Ads accounts, or tweaking SEO for a client.
All in all I answer people that question the need for a website by asking them what they currently use as representation for their business online. That will determine where I go with the conversation next. Sometimes a person has no online presence, sometimes they just have a Google My Business page, or sometimes they rely on Social Media. For those with no online presence I first ask why they do not have one and if they know that they can expand their business by having a digital presence.
Often times people just don’t want to learn something new or deal with the hassle of it all, but if they knew how simple it could be and how much profit could be made then they may change their tune a bit. If someone tells me they have a Google My Business page I ask how often they receive questions about their business via phone, email, or in person.
You would be surprised at how much time answering questions takes and people will always ask you questions even if you have a fantastic web presence, but the more information you have out there about your business the less “dumb” questions you will get like “when do you close?” or “do you have that in blue?”.
For those relying just on Social Media I point out that most people, when searching for new businesses to go to, will simply Google a simple question like “food near me” or “massage therapists in McDonough, GA”. Your Facebook page may pop up, but I’m willing to bet the person searching will choose websites to look at first as it will provide more targeted information. I’ll also point out that Social Media should have a very different goal that works with your website to complete the digital marketing plan.
I don’t want to get too long winded with this so I’ll stop here and I’m sure you may even have more questions like “well what is my Social Media for then?” but that’s a different subject for another blog! Stay tuned and I hope you’re enjoying my thoughts and information.