Yes, You Still Need a Website
For the last few years I’ve found it incredibly interesting that there are still businesses without websites. The ones that really boggle my mind are the ones based completely online on a third party platform. How is that possible? I’ll tell you why, because they haven’t received the information I’m about to share with you. There are a number of reason having a website is vital to any business and once you read through them you’ll understand.
Your Real Estate on The Web
Even if you have a real brick-and-mortar location in the “real world” you need real estate on the web. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve overlooked a business or I’ve watch others overlook a business because they couldn’t get a ‘feel’ for the business online. Your online presence should reflect your offline presence giving your audience the opportunity to experience your brand even before they do business with you. You need real estate online if you have real estate offline. Thinking that your audience isn’t online is a huge mistake and one that is probably costing you hundreds if not thousands of dollars every year. Make the investment into an online presence and an online marketing strategy. The world is mobile you should be too.
If you’re an online business having real estate on the web is the only real way to build and maintain an audience that is completely your own. Third party sites such as Facebook, Etsy, Pinterest and so on are tools to help you engage and market to your audience, but you cannot build a true following until you give that following a place to go. Using the third party platforms to get your items out to the public is great, but ultimately the customers that are only on those sites and don’t have a place to interact with you that is your own, don’t belong to you.
Building a Customer Base
When you do business on Ebay, it’s great! You set up your store or presence and begin to sell your items. Customers buy from you and it feels great. But did you know that those customers belong to Ebay and not you? You are not allowed to put those people on your list and re-market to them unless they opt into your mailing list and give you permission to send them emails. You can’t do that from a third-party site. Did you also know that if Ebay were to go bankrupt tomorrow you’d lose contact with all those customers? It’s true for Ebay just as it’s true for Etsy, ArtFire and any third party platform you’re using. If you don’t have a home on the web where customers can come and find out about your business and opt into your list, you’re building your business on the sand and we all know that sand is near water that can easily come and wash it all away.
Your Brand Identity
Every time you walk into a shop you get a sense of their brand. Walmart is a warehouse “no frills” sort of place. Nordstrom is open inviting and upscale, Starbucks is a cafe and Dunkin Donuts is a run through. You get the idea. What is your business brand identity? Do your customers know? What you want to do with your online presence is give people a sense of what your business is about. When you don’t have a website and you rely only on the third party tools, your identity can be unclear. If there isn’t a place for your customers to go and just find out about why you’re in business, what you do and how you do it they don’t have a real chance to truly build a bond with your brand. Sure they’ll see you around, but that won’t compel them to develop a deeper relationship with you because they won’t know where to go, sit down and visit with you. Create that place on your website.
Building your brand means pushing people back to your home on the web where they can purchase from you, opt into your list, learn about what you do and so much more. It’s making and build a real place in the world that if it were to expand offline, people would still recognize it. When you have your social customers going to your website you’re building brand equity online so that your business will not rely on any one outside tool for survival. People will learn to go to your website regarding anything happening with your brand.
Not having a website means you are not really in business. You may be running commerce and exchanging money, but if the platforms you use where to shut down today, where would your customers find you? What about those customers who are already doing business with you in the real world, where are they going to find out about you when they’re on the move? Don’t do your business the disservice of not building a website. Building a website used to mean having to pay a ton of money up front. Now, you can easily start one yourself and hire a designer once you get moving with your brand. Don’t get left behind. Create your website, then use the third party tools to drive people back to your business. That’s what they were made for anyway.
What is your biggest concern when it comes to building your business website? Tell us in the comments