The online world is getting more and more complicated. It makes it difficult for a business owner to understand where they should concentrate their efforts. With the pervasiveness of platforms like Google My Business, Facebook, and LinkedIn, business owners may not think they even need a website anymore. I admit, it may be tempting to drop the company website, or not build one in the first place, but if you really want to have marketing success online, you need to view your website as the hub for all of your marketing activities.
What if you just have a Facebook page for your business? Well, one thing about Facebook is that the competition on Facebook is fierce. And it is getting worse. It turns out that the average number of engagements with Facebook posts created by companies – not people – has fallen over 50 percent since the beginning of 2017. (link) This is happening because the amount of content being created on the platforms is growing at such a rate that there is less of a chance that customers will engage with it.
According to Facebook, the average feed on a user’s homepage displays 1,500 stories. Additionally, as a Facebook user interacts with Facebook, they increase the number of pages they like by about 50 percent each year. What that means for a business, is that the more pages someone likes, and the more friends they have, the more competition you must break through.
Contrast that with a website that exists only for your business, where you have a visitor’s undivided attention — even if it’s only for a few seconds. Understanding that you must drive traffic to your site, it still provides a platform for you to interact with a user without all the other noise. There are many methods – both online and offline – to drive traffic to your site and investing time and effort in a marketing strategy to do just that will pay off more in the long run than competing with the Facebook algorithm.
Another benefit of maintaining a company website is that you are 100% in control of the brand experience. A well-designed website will function as an extension of your company vision, values and services. Not only will it provide visitors with valuable information, but it will also help them to better understand your Unique Selling Proposition.
You can customize your Facebook or LinkedIn business page with a background photo. But, at the end of the day, the page still looks like all the other business pages on Facebook and LinkedIn. How do you let your potential customers know what makes you different from your competition? Your own website is much more able to tell your brand story in a clear and engaging manner. Furthermore, your site won’t be subject to the effects of Facebook’s ever-changing algorithm. Relying on third-party sites means following their terms of service, like it or not.
One of the most important reasons for your own company site is because any lead you gather using it, you own. Even with all the changes in online marketing over the last decade, email still provides the highest ROI for modern marketers. Email generates $38 for every $1 spent, which is an astounding 3,800% ROI, making it one of the most effective options available. (link) Once you have someone’s email address, you have the power to deliver the right marketing message at the right time. Facebook may be a great platform for outreach and attracting fresh prospects, but it doesn’t provide everything you need to complete the sales cycle. Buyers tend not to buy on a first connection, so you need to nurture your customer through a buying process. Using only social media platforms means you can’t guarantee a placement in their newsfeeds, but if you have their email address, you will be recognized in their Inbox. Building a list is a primary reason for your company website.
So, while it may be tempting to simply create business profile on Facebook, LinkedIn and/or Google My Business, there are several reasons why having your own space on the web is important for your business. Ideally you should craft a strategy that makes use of multiple platforms but be aware that there is simply no substitute for the level of brand control and lead nurturing that can be accomplished with your own site.