I hear it all the time. Business owners who say they don’t need a website. They have all sorts of reasons:
- I don’t sell anything online.
- I don’t know how to do it myself.
- I can’t afford to hire someone.
- I time have time to maintain a website.
- I am not tech savvy.
- I am on ALL the social media platforms.
It’s the last one that makes me cringe. I get so nervous for anyone who takes this approach with their business brand.
We have all heard the horror stories about people whose social media accounts got hacked and they lost everything from their business Facebook page with all their photos and promotional posts to all their customer connections (their friends list!).
Friends, trust me when I tell you this. Social media is rented space. Not even rented, because you don’t actually pay for it (even if you have a blue check mark subscription, you have no ownership of these platforms). Facebook, Instagram, Twitter … they don’t owe you anything if you somehow lose or otherwise cannot access your accounts. You do not own any of it. You are not entitled to be made whole if you lose the amazing content you have created and shared or the followers you have amassed on social media.
Check out this story about real estate professional Evan Berman. His Facebook and Instagram accounts got hacked and he lost “all his business contacts.”
If you are relying on Facebook and Instagram to grow your business and keep track of the thousands of connections you are making, please know one thing: you can lose it all and never get it back.
So, while the advice shared in this news segment is good when it comes to protecting your online security, none of it changes the fact that you do not own social media and it could all be gone tomorrow.
By all means, use social media to meet new people and make business connections. That’s what it’s for! But also commit to taking one more step every time you meet someone new: Collect that business card. If you have met virtually, get their phone number and email address and add them to your address book. Whether it’s the one on your phone or an old-fashioned paper address book or a spreadsheet, decide where you are going to keep your contacts safe, somewhere that you own them. Social media is not your Rolodex.
Alright, so Mr. Berman lost his contacts. Laura, what does that have to do with having a website? Why do I need one?
Great question! Social media should be an extension of your brand, a brand that begins on your business website.
A website is a marketing tool you own and control
When you own a business, your website is the foundation of your brand (especially if you do not have a storefront or bricks and mortar location of any kind). You own it and everything you put on it. While it can indeed be hacked, there are plenty of proactive measures you can take to protect your website and set yourself up to easily rebuild in the event of the rare cyber catastrophe. One of the fundamental reasons small businesses fail in the first year is poor marketing initiatives. A website is at the foundation of any marketing plan.
A website boosts your credibility
Your website positions you as an expert in your field. A competitor who doesn’t have a website is instantly less credible than you are. Prospective customers recognize that a website is a significant investment of time and money, especially one that is professionally done.
A website helps people find you
Having a website makes you and your content searchable. If you are a life coach in Chicago and someone does a Google search for life coaches in Chicago, your website will appear in the results. In fact, roughly 85 percent of customers use the Internet to find and discover local businesses. If you don’t have a website, it’s possible your business won’t be found.
A website increases the chance someone will become a customer
Sixty-two percent of customers will disregard a business if they cannot find it online. Businesses without websites stand to lose 70-80 percent of potential customers. I don’t know about you, but I am not comfortable knowing I’m ignoring that many people, alienating more than half of them before we even get a chance to meet.
A website helps you convert visitors to customers on the spot
With the right combination of freebies, products, and services on your website, you have the opportunity to catch people at the exact moment they are looking for what your business offers! A website is a place where you can send potential customers if they find you on social media so you can sell to them in a space where you provide the links and information that inform their decisions. By embedding a sign up form, a website gives you the chance build your subscriber list and continue communicating with visitors based on their preferences and behavior on your site.
For these and many other reasons, I highly recommend all business owners have a website. And, almost every time I have a conversation with a business owner about putting even the simplest site in place, they ask, “So, do a website and not social media?”
If it has to be one or the other, then yes, just a website. All day, every day. But, ideally, you want both. Social media is an extension of what you create on your website; it can help you diversity your branding and reinforce your messaging when people find your site in a Google search and then see you on social media as well. And, if you choose to do and advertising on social media, you will need a website (or at least a landing page or two) where you can send people responding to your offers.
Luckily, it is not that difficult to build a simple, professional website. And, you can do it yourself.
28 PERCENT OF SMALL BUSINESSES SPEND LESS THAN $500 ON A WEBSITE
That Means 72 Percent Are Paying Too Much!
Are you in the 72 percent? You don’t have to stay there.
Are you not included in these stats at all because you don’t have a website for your business? You don’t have to stay there.
If you want to DIY your website and don’t know where to start, my 6-Week Biz to Buzz Boot Camp offers the perfect solution. Use the button below to learn more.
Remember: this post is for informational purposes only and may not be the best fit for you and your personal situation. It shall not be construed as legal, financial, or other business advice. The information and education provided here is not intended or implied to supplement or replace professional advice of your own attorney, accountant, or financial advisor. Always check with your own attorney, financial advisor, accountant, or other business professional before trying or implementing any information read here.