Since I love working with small businesses and small-town businesses, I get asked a lot about one of the most basic questions to having a website: “Why should I have one? How does it benefit me?” Many folks, because they just don’t understand the concept of online marketing, fail to grasp how important a website is to their business. In order to clear the confusion, here are six solid reasons you need a website (and not just a Facebook Page).
It increases your find-ability
Facebook is where people will go to find out more about you, but Google is still where people go to find you, period. Your website needs to be the primary source of information for you, your business and your services and pricing. Facebook is great; over a billion members, and I would say you should keep your Facebook Page for sure—but you don’t control it. If Facebook decides to change their algorithm in order to show more posts from paid advertisers (as they’ve done in the past), your Facebook Page suddenly becomes a lot less valuable. Should you still have a Facebook Page? Yes, for sure. But Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest—these are what you call your “outposts”. Your home base needs to be your website that you can control. (Hat tip to Michael Hyatt for the concept of home base vs outposts.)
It helps promote your image
This one ought to be easy to understand as a business owner. In the same way that a couple of hours in a salon chair can improve a person’s overall presentation, a website does that for your business. A website tells people you’re legit and that you care about your perception. You’re not going to leave prospective clients wondering about how your services work or what you charge, because it’s all going to be available to them at a moments notice.
It makes you more appealing on popular review sites like Yelp
One of your best tools is the referral systems that come in from places like Google Reviews, Facebook Reviews or standalone services like Yelp. A website not only makes it easier to leave reviews, but is a great place to display reviews for prospective clients. Plus, having your own web address on your Yelp profile helps establish credibility.
It can help reduce the friction of scheduling appointments or selling products
For some reason, this one is tough for folks to get a grasp on. If you run a business that requires people to schedule an appointment, you want to help make that transition as easy as possible. Most of you, who are used to taking phone calls to schedule appointments, don’t want to change that. I understand that you don’t want to “fix what ain’t broke,” but I really push my clients to open up their mind to using the internet as much as possible when it comes to connecting and selling to the client. It’s one of easiest, most painless ways to make a new customer. Literally every time a client has taken my advice and began scheduling appointments on their website, they’ve seen an increase in customers.
A website is one of the lowest-cost forms of marketing you can do
When you place an ad in the paper, your reach only goes as far as the circulation. On a billboard, it’s limited to the traffic that drives by every day. With the internet, there are no limits except the ones we put on ourselves. When you use your website properly, it cascades onto other services, like Facebook and Pinterest, thereby enhancing your reach even more. Wouldn’t you love to be able to get your name in front of more customers? Isn’t that why we advertise in the first place?
It helps create and fulfill other marketing opportunities
Want to grow your Social Media presence? A website does that. Increase your email subscribers? A website does that, too. Your website, when properly done, is the starting point for a whole new world of opportunities. All you need is the tools we’ve talked about and an ability to stick to it. I want to make that last part clear: you need to make sure that your website is now a key marketing tool that we’ll keep running all the time, so that you continue to get usefulness out of it.