Why businesses need a website not just social media
You shouldn’t rely entirely on social media platforms to build your business. This is a cautionary tale for entrepreneurs who are new to the game. If you’ve only ever known the social media we have now, you probably don’t know what lies ahead if you build your business exclusively on borrowed land.
Like most businesses, you’re filling your Facebook feed with content, your Instagram feed with photos, stories and inspirational quotes and you’re hoping that all of it results in selling some stuff. But if that’s all you have as your business foundation, you’re building your business empire on borrowed land. Not even rented land (which implies that you’ve at least paid for it), but borrowed land. If it’s free, YOU are the product, thus, by extension, you and your customers are Facebook’s product. If your customer clicks on your ad, they will ALSO see ads for your competitors. Facebook uses all of your customer data to market other related products and services to your customers independent of your own marketing efforts.
Those amazing days of organic reach are over!
Some of us remember a time when you could hang your shingle out on Facebook and get 30% engagement on an organic post. Those days are gone. In fact, they’re so gone that many of the customers that liked your page back then have left the platform. How can we continue to chase customers we don’t even have access to any more, after working so hard for so long to cultivate them in the first place?
We’re bullish on social media, but we’re even MORE bullish on your business being the awesome business it is – and driving people to not only engage with you but BUY from you. You’re awesome! What you make is awesome! Let’s help you connect the awesome you are with the customer who wants it.
You still need a website. But don’t build it just for Google.
Your customers are your owned asset, arguably your most valuable business asset. Their habits on your web site, their buying habits in your store, their behaviors and likes are so critical for business success (both as customers themselves and as a model for future customers) that you need to ensure you capture and own those contacts and those metrics. But do not build your site exclusively for Google. Build it for the humans behind those searches. The ones that have questions. In another post, we talk about the “Alexification” of search – and note that industry metrics show that 49% of people never click on a result, Alexa (or Google) just gives them an answer that the algorithm found on the web and thought was the right one (maybe your competitor’s answer!) Building your business for Google means Google will swoop in, scoop up your answer and not even encourage your user to click further to your site. What can you do about building your business on borrowed land?
Create your website with rich content, product comparisons, your opinions and ideas that your customers want. Google can’t easily replicate an opinion or even a comparison, and long how-tos with video can provide a richness that helps your site be the destination for information about your type of products.
Connect with your customers on social media and use it as a way to develop deeper, personal relationships with them on a platform they love and use – but don’t limit your business by making it your only means to doing business.
Convert, convert, convert. Revenue optimization – the act of designing your site with conversion and sales in mind – means even those with just enough traffic can succeed. Enough traffic means that the traffic you DO have converts. The technical and design mechanics around RO and conversions are ever changing, but fortunately very specific and fairly easy to test and implement. Investing some time and energy in RO; is well worth it.
Update: Bluprint (aka, Craftsy) folds, after NBCUniversal bought and then shut the site down. This new development has taken many sewing and knitting pattern designers and educators by surprise. Many will see their incomes vanish overnight. Whatever platform you choose – they are often essential for building business – be SURE you have all of the exact same materials saved and stored on your own site. Or, even better, offer additional add-on content to your marketplace courses on your own site (and save what you put on these marketplace sites just in case.) It’s not just lost materials, but lost OPPORTUNITY for these makers who no longer have their audience to email, message or contact about new, updated courses elsewhere.
You must make every effort to collect customer information and then do something with it. It’s not enough to rely on social, courseware or other platforms. You have to have your own, on your owned platforms!
The goal is to love your customers so much and they, in turn, the same to you, that they become your evangelists. Moving them to other platforms that you own (to premium content on your site, or self-hosted discussion groups) is key to actually owning the customer. If you have their contact information, their buying behavior, their engagement on certain types of content on your website, you can further nurture them without relying on Facebook or Google advertising. But even more critical, you can nurture them to evangelize for you on social media, thus attracting new prospects to your web site, and continuing to build your customer base.
Need help with revenue optimization? Creating conversion options on your site? Brainstorming what will convince customers to exchange their marketing information? Contact us for a consultation.