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Do I Still Need A Website?

With so many ways to market–social media, apps, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Amazon–do you still need a website?

Twenty years ago the question was, “Do I need a website”? And a good local search strategy was a big ad in the Yellow Pages. (Being the USDP Old Guy, I recall these things.)

Are websites now as irrelevant as the Yellow Pages?

Nope.

A website remains the best way to market your company. A website lets you:  

  • Create a formidable first impression  
  • Control the message with clear, concise language
  • Influence the path people take with strong calls-to-action
  • Easily update content with simple but powerful content management systems
  • Conduct business, sell products, and communicate with customers  
  • Rank higher in Google search results.

{Google uses a website as its primary destination for search results. Google and other search engines crawl websites and use algorithms to determine when and where to show your company in a search result.}

There are pros and cons of using Amazon, Facebook, apps, and more to communicate and conduct business. Let’s look at the misperceptions and best practices for leveraging each one.   

42% - Number of Facebook users who have stopped daily use

“I have a Facebook page so I don’t need a website.”  

Sure, Facebook is free to set up and you can have all your information on one page. You can also buy products, RSVP for an event, purchase tickets, and more.  

Although Facebook has its upsides–and is useful as part of an overall marketing strategy–it’s unwise to rely on this platform alone. Here’s why.

  • People (especially young people) are abandoning Facebook. In fact, 42% of Facebook users have stepped back from daily Facebook usage and following recent bad PR, trust in Facebook is decreasing. (Pew Research, June 2018.)
  • Your customers’ first impression is Facebook or LinkedIn–not your brand. A well-designed website creates a brand impact that’s unachievable within a third-party site.
  • You’re limited to one page. That means no rich content, multiple pages, careers, document libraries, etc. like you can on a website.
  • You’re relying on a third party that often changes their rules. These channels seek profit first for themselves–not you.   
  • You’re competing with family vacation pics, cat videos, and articles promising the top 5 ways to get ahead. Keeping people’s attention on your business in that environment is nearly impossible.  
  • The perception of a Facebook-only website is that you’re small-time. A website lends more credibility to your business.

“Google has a map; I can dial the phone number right there. It has everything I need.”  

A recent study by Moz showed that 64% of marketers said Google is becoming their home page. We strongly encourage using Google My Business as part of your marketing strategy (and we can help improve your results) but it’s not meant to be the only strategy.

Let’s look at an example. Suppose I want to go to dinner, so I start with a Google Search.

Screenshot of Google Search Results

  • The Google map is only effective if you are close to the person doing the search.
  • Google has recently reduced it’s “pack” (number of results) from 7 to 3, so it’s harder to show up in the search results.
  • Google places an emphasis on paid search (see the Open Table sponsored ad)
  • Google needs to know where you are. I just did the same search on my phone and it thinks I’m in Kansas. (I’m not.)
  • You need to have a physical location that Google can verify.
  • Google reviews and photos are important. A couple of poor reviews and you’re in trouble!

“If a business has an app, they no longer need a website.”

We sometimes hear this. But unless you’re Delta and have an amazing app, or you’re Kroger and are focused on reinventing how we shop, an app is not an effective prospecting tool.

  • An app is an expensive investment, not only for initial development but for ongoing maintenance and enhancements. It requires maintaining an Android and an iPhone version, as well as accommodating a variety of versions and platforms.
  • An app requires that users download it–and some people just won’t relinquish valuable space on their phone for it.
  • No easy way exists to find and search for apps and competition is tremendous. In the first quarter of 2018, over 6,000 were added to the Google Play store each day (Statista.com).  

An app can be a great customer service tool, but if your goal is new client acquisition, a website is best.  

To learn more about when apps are a good investment, check out the blog post “Do I Need An App?”  

“Alexa, reorder Tide.”

Voice technology is an amazing leap forward in convenience and one-stop shopping. Consider the dominance that Amazon, Google and Apple already have in the marketplace.

More than 100 million Alexa devices have been sold (Techcrunch) and over 50 million Google Home devices. Right now you can order GrubHub delivery on a smart speaker or reorder products from Amazon just by asking Alexa.

The possibilities of this technology are incredible, but aren’t ready for prime time. (If you’d like to know more about effective voice searches, check out this article from Inc. Magazine.)  

"If you still feel your website is irrelevant, it might be because you don't have useful content and lack strong calls to action"

“What I really need is a sales funnel.”

All of the platforms we’ve talked about comprise an effective sales funnel. A sales funnel is a marketing strategy that takes people from “Never heard of you” to “Buy now please!”

What’s the core of your sales funnel? Your website.

Effective sales funnels involve reaching out into the digital universe (via Facebook/Instagram ads, Google display ads, SEO, remarketing ads, social media posts, email marketing, and more), and bringing qualified people back to your website. In most cases, the visitor won’t buy immediately. But if you can get visitors’ basic contact information, you can use social media, newsletters, and marketing automation to build a relationship with them, offer them useful things for free, and build their trust. Technology is a great way to support sales when used the right way.

How effective is your website at generating leads or reaching your goals?  

If you still feel your website is irrelevant, it might be because you don’t have useful content and lack strong calls-to-action, or your site is slow or hard to navigate.  

Take our free assessment and get honest feedback about your website. If it’s great, we’ll tell you that. If you could use a few tweaks, we’ll tell you exactly what to improve. And if your site is abysmal, we’ll be gentle. But we’ll tell you, and we’ll share ways to build a stronger sales funnel, too.

 

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By: Mark Miller