Websites build brand integrity, credibility, customers.
Are you only using Facebook for business?
Many small businesses use Facebook or other social platforms as their sole online presence. Although relatively cheap, it may be limiting sales and diluting customer relationships. So why is a website better than a social page?
Your website is the foundation for your online business presence. It tells your story like no other medium can, plus provides immediate sales conversion and customer service that customers now expect.
Brand Credibility & Integrity
An attractive website provides credibility that a social media page just can’t. When you’re trying to build trust and consumer confidence, a website says a lot about you and your company.
Social media may help boost traffic to your website with awareness and curiosity. However, when consumers search products, services, and company names on the web looking for a purchase solution and they end up at a Facebook page, your first-impression score takes a hit without a link to a company website.
The power behind websites is the ability to connect with customers wherever they are on their buying journey. If they’re just looking or discovering, your content provides answers that direct them to a next step and a purchase. If they are researching and considering, you offer in-depth information to build trust in you when serious buyers compare you against competition. If they’re ready to buy, you simplify the choice and enable them to purchase immediately with confidence.
Your web content helps customers at each stage of the buying process. If a customer wants to know who’s behind the brand, you have unlimited options and abilities to tell your story. If they are comparing your company to others, you can demonstrate you know your stuff. If they need more information to make a buying decision, you can click through all the objections online as easily as if the customer were in your store.
In fact, your website is an extension of your store. It should be a seamless interface that represents your style and service. It connects with and engages customers to help them buy wisely and effectively just as if they walked in the store.
Today, you can build a powerful web presence without the need for a technology department and high development costs – and about as easy as setting up a Facebook business. Like all communication, you must know your brand and how the website fits into your business strategy, but once set up, website solutions are easy to run and manage. Many web tools and hosting services are available that are happy to walk you through the technical process to get up and running, and many agencies will set you up so you can manage things yourself. They also are available for occasional help or support for special projects.
Websites present video, audio, and animation even from your smartphone, and you can create post-purchase services that save you time and effort so you can serve more customers.
Plus, you don’t have trolls dropping ugly bombs on your posts.
Builds Leads & Future Business
As the world of online privacy and security continues to tighten, your website is critical to build “first party” data. The term became more popular when Google announced it’s ending data delivery to third-parties for ad sales and analysis and Apple increased customer privacy protections. First-party data is information you collect and manage from your own customers – those who allow you to connect and engage with them.
Customer information is the foundation of any business. Retailers should know their best store customers and what they like. You treat them differently and give them perks you don’t give discount hunters. You know why they like you, why they come back, and what else they’re looking for. Your website gathers information from beyond the store, and most point-of-sale systems today easily integrate online activities and transactions into your customer-relationship and accounting tools.
This data helps build community around your products and your store. People see and hear your passion, which encourages them to purchase from you and be part of it all.
Your customer data enhances service, customer-relationships, and provides insights into customer needs through queries, sales history, and evaluation. Websites have become critical in that data process.
Supports Advertising & Promotion
Facebook is known for effective advertising tools that help narrow audiences to get effective response. But web ads through Google, search-engine tools, and web-ad specialists also promote your strategic goals at comparable pricing.
Combining ad tools may offer a robust capability, but, like all advertising, acquiring new customers means highest costs. Google reports median acquisition costs across all industries at more than $75 per customer. According to industry reports, costs range as high as $400 for some product categories and as low as $10 for others.
Costs are high because ad responses typically are a small percentage of total advertising you place to get the sales you desire. Customer acquisition cost is a calculation of your total costs (including operations and advertising) divided by actual customers responding to your promotion with a purchase. Entire strategies are built around these dynamics and must consider your specific products, services, and desired sales goals.
First-party data is valuable. Customer data collected from your website and your other sources represent people most likely to do business with you. They are open to using your products and services. When you connect with customers online through search and your web content, these new customers may bring in other new customers who are like them. Knowing who your customers are and what they like make advertising and promotions more affordable to generate new business. This knowledge and insight define your target audiences so social and other advertising and promotion is more tailored and effective, meaning more affordable with better results. You website is able to talk with potential customers like friends.
Facebook isn’t the only option for live events and groups. Building Facebook groups and hosting live events are great tools, but you don’t have to depend on Facebook to do that. Other tools and easy-to-use live-meeting software are available and they center around your website and brand rather than a third-party social platform. Most websites have built in email communication tools.
Websites allow you to be who you are. In the past few years, Google has been altering its content search parameters using artificial intelligence and natural language processing to better understand query intent and improve search results. It’s called BERT, Google’s nerdy acronym for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers.
BERT aims to better understand language and its nuances to give web searchers more relevant search results. It seeks to understand ambiguous sentences and phrases and put context into searches. For professionals specializing in Search Engine Optimization and generating top listings in web searches based on keywords and phrases, it could be a challenge. Google’s big vision is to understand the context of a search query and send most relevant results to the searcher, not just a ranked list of words and phrases.
That means your website increasingly can speak the language of your passion instead of just dumping keywords into headlines and first sentences.
Many analysts say most important for search are Google’s website rankings based on analysis of perceived expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (called E-A-T). E-A-T is more about how your website attracts and engages people because your content is solving customer problems and helping people satisfy their search purposes. E-A-T tracks more than traffic, including language, content-quality levels, and depth of resources.
Your content – the stories and graphics you put on your website – must solve customer problems so your site ranks high in expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. That just means the passion and knowledge you already have needs to be present on your website.
And you already have that, or you wouldn’t be in business.