I’m just going to come out and say it – not because my job is building websites for our clients, but because it is the honest truth… WEBSITES ARE ABSOLUTELY STILL RELEVANT!
It’s 2016, and it seems like our personal lives are run by social media. In the past hour, I checked my Facebook newsfeed, looked at some cute corgis on Instagram, and watched Khloe Kardashian working out with her personal trainer on Snapchat. Social media is free, readily available and always has something new to offer. Heck, it can be downright addicting.
It is easy to see how businesses can fall into the trap of believing that Social Media is the wave of the future, and they can cut costs by canceling their old website, or not even building a website in the first place. This is a trap. I love social media, it is an excellent tool for businesses to connect with their audience, but it is not a replacement for a well-built website.
I could go on and on about all the benefits of having a website for your business, but I will keep it simple. Websites are still relevant because of two main factors, the Control Factor and the Trust Factor.
1. The Control Factor
The average consumer spends at least 1 hour checking out a business online before they even consider calling, emailing, visiting your business or making a purchase. As a business owner, you need to consider what kind of experience you are giving the customer in that 1 hour minimum of pre-purchase research.
With a WEBSITE you have created a permanent home for your brand information. You have complete control over the design, layout, text, photos and overall experience. When someone enters your website, it’s almost like they are entering your business or your home. You have the opportunity to share the great details of your brand story and showcase your business and your products in a space that is 100% yours.
If you choose to market your business solely on Facebook, you are fighting an uphill battle with a culture that has a very short attention span. Your Facebook business page is fighting for space with engagements, birth announcements, fun vacation photos, stalking ex. boyfriends/girlfriends, etc. On top of that, Facebook users are seeing ads and sponsored posts constantly in their newsfeed, so if you don’t have the budget to “pay to play”, then you may not even reach your audience at all. You do not own your space in social media. There are some options for customizing the look of your page and how your content is delivered, but it all falls into the same template that Facebook provides for all business pages. This is why we recommend having a website AND Facebook, so they can complement each other. Facebook is a great place for fleeting or “in the moment” information, but your website will always be the permanent online space for your business.
2. The Trust Factor
Your marketing is the ultimate reflection of your business. I know you have all seen the memes making fun of businesses who use Comic Sans MS. If my accounting firm sent me a statement in Comic Sans MS font, I would question them as a business, and likely look to move to a more professional firm.
Not investing in a website, and having social media only for your business is the equivalent of using Comic Sans MS for professional purposes. It makes people question your legitimacy, and think “If they are cutting corners by not having a website, where else are they cutting corners in their business?” Also, if you are not posting regularly on your social media outlet it can send the message that you are lazy, or perhaps have gone out of business – not good!
A high-quality website with great content says to the customer, “We are proud of our business, and want to share our story with you, and showcase why it is great to work with us.”
The best businesses have a professional website and social media. This shows the customer that you are a reputable business who wants you to have a great digital experience with them – from high-quality permanent information on the website, to fun and current information in a social platform.
Websites and social media make up the digital marketing mix of today’s culture. A recent study shows that digital marketing will influence more than 50% of both online and offline purchases by 2017. So creating a high-quality experience for potential customers on both your website and your social media outlets is crucial.
Editor’s Note: This post was written by Ranch House Designs Chief Marketing Officer, Ashley Grant.
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