Many business owners make a critical mistake and assume all they need to market their business online is social media. Nothing could be further from the truth. Home business owners fall particular prey to this thought process, which is tragic because it can prevent them from growing the way they could if they had a comprehensive digital marketing strategy. Digital marketing goes far beyond Facebook and Twitter and should always include a professional website.
It Is Expected
Many experts agree that one reason why people fall into a the-business-doesn’t-need-a-website trap is that they misunderstand current data that suggests many people research businesses online using social media. The problem is this data is misleading. The number of people who rely on social media alone for their purchasing decisions is much smaller than the data suggests, and most people still equate small business websites with professionalism and expect a business to have one alongside its social media platforms. Yes, they look at social media, too, but a website often seals the final deal.
In fact, Constant Contact reports that six out of 10 consumers expect a business to have an online presence, and “more than half head straight to the brand’s website for product information.” This makes sense when you take into account that product information on social media, with the exception of video sharing sites, is limited to a large degree. You cannot possibly give your customers all the information they seek about your product or service on a Facebook post or a 40-character tweet. People want a website where they can find comprehensive information about you and your business offerings.
Controlling the Message Is Easy
One disadvantage about social media is it can ruin a home business quicker than the business owner can control it. People love leaving reviews on websites such as Yelp, FourSquare, and others, and they leave reviews for all business types, including home businesses. Yes, the business owner can respond to negative reviews in an effort to mitigate online public relations disasters, but this isn’t always effective, especially if the customer complaint is legitimate or you become the victim of trolls who get a sick satisfaction out of destroying others online for no apparent reason.
A home business should have social media and online reviews, but it should also have a website to control the public image better. A website gives you the ability to present your image the way you desire. You can tell people what your home business does and why. Perhaps you’re a stay-at-home mom who wants to raise her kids yet still hold down a job. People respect that. You can also include a blog with tons of information for your current and potential customers and build your image by linking people to your social media platforms. The point is to control your online narrative, and a website is the perfect platform upon which to do that.
You’ll Increase Your Customer Base
Finally, Forbes online makes it quite clear that businesses with no website lose customers. In fact, contributor Nicole Leinbach-Reyhle says, “… if you don’t have a website, you’re missing out on opportunities for customers to identify who you are and [whether] they want to spend money with you.” Why? For the reasons mentioned above and the simple fact that people research everything online, including their shopping decisions, and if you don’t have a website, they won’t find you. You need to have a professional presence online or you will be lost in shuffle, especially home businesses.
Remember, you do not have a brick-and-mortar store or an office in the downtown business district. You must be seen in cyberspace. It makes sense that people cannot find out about you or your product or services if you do not have a website for shoppers to find. Plus, the website alongside your social media boosts you up the Google search rankings. Yes, a home business needs a website.
The post A Home Business Doesn’t Need a Website! Yes, It Does! appeared first on Home Business Magazine.