You may have noticed that some businesses seem to like the idea of bypassing the need for a website altogether, using Facebook instead.
You type their website address into your browser and you are taken straight to their Facebook page. Brilliant! You don’t need to worry about having to keep a website up to date, there is no web hosting fee to factor in, and everyone loves Facebook….don’t they?
That is where we find the first flaw in this masterplan.
Not everyone is a fan of social media, and many people – including some of your potential customers – avoid it as much as they can.
If they were to land on your Facebook page when trying to access what they think is your website, it could be enough to put them off you altogether.
You also actually have very little control over how your content is displayed, and to the chagrin of many Facebook users, they are forever tinkering with layouts, etc.
The only way to have overall control over how your messages are displayed is by having your own website.
Now, I am a fervent exponent of using Facebook, but not to the extent where you rely on it entirely for your online presence. Even worse is if you’re using it as your sole marketing channel. Putting all your eggs in one basket is never a great idea.
If you are solely relying on your website then you’re also missing a trick. Think of it as a marketing toolbox with a whole variety of marketing tools inside it.
As with any DIY job, you need a selection of tools to be able to do the job properly and you should carefully pick the marketing tools that will produce the best results.
Having a website is still a must, even if it is simply a one-page ‘business card’ with contact details and links to social media, etc.
There aren’t many businesses that do not benefit from running email marketing campaigns, so throwing this into the mix is more often than not a must-have.
And what about social media? I know that I’ve said not to rely solely on the likes (if you’ll pardon the pun) of Facebook, but that’s not to say that they won’t play a big role in your online marketing efforts.
Businesses of all sizes have seen huge returns on using social media…if it’s done right.
Using all these various tools from your box, being able to measure how successful each of them is vital. Fortunately, it is increasingly easy to do this, with stats available across a vast array of channels.
How many sales did that last email campaign generate and what was the total value? What’s the best performing set of Facebook ads you’re running at the moment? What search phrases are being used by your website visitors who make the biggest purchases?
Keeping all this manageable can be the biggest challenge, but get it right and it will pay dividends in the long run.
Andrew McEwan of The Web Workshop in Morebattle (www.thewebworkshop.net) helps businesses in the Scottish Borders and beyond with their online presence and digital marketing.