Do you even need a website anymore?
It's something a lot business owners are now asking themselves. Thanks to the increasing sophistication of social media platforms, building online relationships with prospects is now easier than ever before. As reported by Ad Week, there are now more than 40 million active small business pages on Facebook.
Over the past several years, the social platform has continually introduced new upgrades focused on keeping users from leaving the site. If you have ever tried to share a Facebook-hosted video with a non-Facebook user, you have experienced this phenomena. The video has no "home" outside of Facebook, meaning your friend must visit the social network to watch it (whether they have an account or not).
The company also now gives higher "organic weight" to content consumed on its own site, as opposed to links that send users away from Facebook. A video uploaded straight to Facebook, for instance, will get a significant organic boost over a video link pasted from YouTube.
And other platforms are following suit. So, do you really need that website?
Business Website vs. Facebook Page: Which is Best?
It may sound tempting, but don't drop your company website just yet. If you're going to have marketing success in the age of platforms, you're going to need your website to be a hub for all of them.
In this article, we'll explain why business websites are not going obsolete any time soon.
1. Less Competition
The competition on Facebook is fierce. As reported by BuzzSumo, the average number of engagements with Facebook posts created by brands has fallen more than 20 percent since January 2017. The company analyzed more than 880 million posts and gleaned the average number of engagements fell from 340 to 264 over the first 6 months of the year:
Put simply, there is now more content being created than there is time to absorb it.
The average newsfeed displays 1,500 stories, according to Facebook. The company's director of product management told TechCrunch last year that the typical Facebook user increased their total number of page likes by 50 percent in 2016. The more pages someone likes, and the more friends they have, the more competition businesses have to break through.
Compare that to your company Website, where you have someone's undivided attention -- even if it's only for a few seconds. Will you have to do something to drive traffic to your site? Yes, but that's nothing a solid organic search strategy can't handle.
Companies who practice inbound marketing may have hefty competition for keyword search terms at the beginning of their journeys, but that competition will significantly decrease over time with consistent effort. Conversely, Facebook competition is only likely to increase.
2. You Control The Experience
Another benefit of maintaining a company Website?
You are 100% in control of the brand experience. A well-designed website will function as an extension of your company vision, values and services. Not only will it provide visitors with valuable information, but it will also help them to better understand your Unique Selling Proposition.
Sure, you can customize your Facebook business page with a background photo. But, at the end of the day, the page still looks like... Well, Facebook! With so many choices available today, potential customers want to know what makes you different from the competition. A company website is much more conducive to telling your brand story in a clear and engaging manner. Furthermore, your site won't be subject to the effects of Facebook's ever-changing algorithm. Relying on third-party sites means following their terms of service, like it or not.
3. You Own The Leads
While creating content for native platforms is great, there is no substitute for capturing a prospect's email address. According to the Data and Marketing Association, email still provides the highest ROI for modern marketers. Once you have someone's email address, you have the power to deliver the right marketing message at the right time.
While Facebook is ideal for attracting fresh prospects, it doesn't provide everything you need to complete the sales cycle. Ideally, you want to motivate your Facebook followers to your website where they can then sign-up to stay in contact. You can't guarantee a placement in their newsfeeds, but you can count on being recognized within their Inboxes. So, how do you get them to part with their email addresses in the first place?
Create an enticing lead magnet that motivated them to sign-up. If you have a long sales cycle, your online marketing strategy should include layered content for every stage of the Buyer's Journey. Ideally, your website should act as the hub for all of your online marketing efforts. Use social media channels for lead generation, but nurture those leads through your website and email newsletter.
Website vs. Facebook: Which is Best? Both!
None of our clients rely on one platform entirely. Instead, they are using platforms to build audiences where their target personas spend their time. Then, they are using their website to generate leads and nurture those leads into customers.
The bottom-line: There is no substitute for the level of brand control, user personalization and lead nurturing that can be accomplished via a business website. While solely utilizing Facebook might work great for certain consumer-based businesses (e.g. bars, restaurants, massage studios), it's a pretty ineffective strategy for B2Bs.
If your typical buyer does a fair amount of research before making a decision, your best bet is guiding them through a strategic content funnel on your site.