"I've got a Facebook page, why would I need a Website?" As someone who spends their time trying to sell websites to people it's something I hear an awful lot of. Let's face it, Facebook has a lot of awesome features for a business owner, you can put your opening times up, show case examples of your work, collect reviews from your customers, advertise company events and even put things up for sale via private messaging. With all that in mind, why might you need a Website?
Own the Customer Experience
What do successful businesses big and small have in common? Usually a distinctive identity. They'll even pay to print it on their plastic bags as a way of making people aware of where you've shopped because it's a great bit of self promotion. "This person shops here, you should too". When you see TV adverts from that company you also know instinctively that it's from them because everything in the advert has that feel. Your business has an identity too but when it's on Facebook, well it's lost in the middle of the blue and white. It's hard for your customers to take anything away other than "I found this great place on Facebook." Take someone to your website though and you take them to your world, your product, your service, your business. They won't think "I found something great on Facebook" they'll bookmark your website and think "I found something great on Small-beans.co.uk (shameless self promotion). Get a Website then, so you can create the identity you want your customers to know you for.
Freedom from Fake News about your Business
Feedback's great, we love it and we actively encourage customers to leave it on our website. In fact we don't just encourage customers to do so but also strangers who want to know more about what we do. But we're not fan of the whack-a-mole type reviews that can spring up through 3rd party websites, it's a full time job just responding to them. That wouldn't even be so bad if they were all definitely previous customers. That's the thing about Facebook, Yelp or others places you can leave reviews, regardless of if they claim or not to have some method of verification you'll get people leaving fake feedback on your page about your business. And not just reviews, sometimes fake opening hours, sometimes even fake "news" about your business. It takes only one person to leave a comment suggesting you've closed down, or your opening hours are no longer true, and suddenly no one knows when you're open or if they should plan to visit you. A malicious competitor doesn't even need to put it on your page, they could just create a fake page with the name of your business and a space or full stop included in a different place and suddenly there's another source of information. How are people meant to know who to trust when they try to look you up? With your own Website that fear is greatly reduced. You can rest assured that people won't see information that doesn't come from you or someone who works in your business. And if someone wants to fake it, and make a similar sounding one it's at least going to cost them. Get a Website then to help stop people feeding fake news to your customers.
When was the last time you found something on Facebook that wasn't an advert and that someone didn't tell you about. I haven't ever done so, because Facebook isn't designed to let people find out about your business for free. (More on that later). If you want to be found, they'll either know about you anyway or you'll need to pay to put your name in front of people. There's no great shame in that, we pay to be shown to people on Facebook too but we also work on getting found organically (in other words for free) on Google. There's no greater way of getting found on Google than by having your own Website. You can ensure your business is visible on Google Maps and can pull in directions and opening hours. You can appear to people searching locally for "great places to eat", "photography course", "bakery near me", "gardeners in this city" or similar. And even better you start opening yourself up to being found by smart devices like Alexa or Google home as they search the Internet (not Facebook) for relevant results. Get a Website to open up a rich vein of customers finding you without you paying to get in front of them. (Did we mention you get a free Search Engine Optimisation starter pack with our Websites, plus we offer really low cost ongoing SEO support?)
Imagine the scenario, you run a successful business, perhaps you've done so for years and you've got a great Facebook page following. Frequently you put out content updates and competitions to your customers who keep interacting with them. People come to your page regularly to check out the next great thing that you're doing. However, one day there's a new business in town, doing exactly the same thing as you except with a minor difference. This business pays to put an advert on Facebook out to an audience who are interested in the thing that you do. Suddenly all your customers start getting adverts for the new business when they log on Facebook to check out your page information. As far as Facebook's concerned your page contains a rich well of highly interested customers it's more than happy to advertise your competitor to. But don't worry, you can always pay more to advertise back to them again. That's Facebook's business model, using audience data to allow targeted advertising. We're not here to judge but as long as you're relying on Facebook as an established business, you can guarantee there's someone relying on Facebook as a competitive start up. Point customers to a Website though and a lot of that goes away. Get a Website to help keep your customers from the highest paying advert.
In conclusions, we're not here to try to convince you that it's wrong to have a well maintained Facebook page for your business, it isn't and you should. But if you want to unlock a steady stream of customers you don't have to pay more to keep, protect your reputation and build your brand (not to mention increase how professional you appear) we highly recommend you rent a Website from us.