Don’t let good stand in the way of better.
In other words, if you have a great social media presence—lots of customer interaction, marketing responses, and direct sales—but your website is so-so, you are leaving money on the table.
And that’s why a robust, thoughtful website is an essential, worthwhile investment for small-to-medium sized businesses like yours.
Here are six benefits that a website can deliver to boost your customer engagement:
- Access to More Actionable Data
Data is money, and websites are data factories.
And when you leverage your red-hot social presence to direct followers to your website, you’ll have access to volumes of information about your customers, the effectiveness of your marketing channels, your team’s productivity, and critical insights for making informed business decisions.
Web analytics track visitor behavior—how they found your website, what pages they visited, and where they departed it, for instance—so you can improve the user experience, turn visitors into buyers, and strengthen engagement with your brand.
- Better Personalization
At its most basic, personalization is an email that has the customer’s name in the subject line: Jack, check out this widget. At its most sophisticated, personalization customizes your marketing channels, messaging, and offerings to engage your best customers.
A website not only provides the information you need to accomplish those objectives, but—unlike social media—your web presence gives you ownership of that data.
Owned data supports personalization by delivering key performance indicators such as:
- Average session time
- Bounce rate
- Conversion rate
- Pages per session
- Traffic sources
- Qualified leads
Incorporating web forms captures customer data and feedback that is essential to enriching personalization and the user experience. Understanding your target audience’s interests and pain points enables you to design a website that draws in prospects and increases loyalty and conversions.
- Looks More Legit and Professional
Searching for a business online and getting only social platforms leaves one kind of impression. A search that returns a website creates another. Of the two, finding a website is more useful than an Instagram account. (Why? For one thing, not everybody has an Instagram account.) Are businesses without websites legitimate? What do you think? Is that the impression you want your prospects to have about your business?
When a business doesn’t have a website—or has a non-responsive, overcrowded website—it raises red flags for potential customers.
On the other hand, businesses that present and maintain a carefully developed and well-maintained website project professionalism. You could have the best products or services in the world, but if your audience can’t learn more about them on your website, customer experience fails.
- Own It, Don’t Rent It
You can customize your social media profile all you want—within the different platforms’ limits—but you will never own it. If you don’t own it, you are subject to the owners’ rules and regulations.
Those rules include limits on design, function, and feature limitations. Moreover, the platforms can change their rules whenever they want, and they do. All the time. And some of them go out of business altogether. Does anybody remember MySpace?
You have control over the content and creative development of a website. You control your brand standards, from the color palette to the logo treatments. You can make changes when you want to and take advantage of unique website integrations that aren’t available on social media.
- Integrate Your Online Marketing
Social media has not yet unlocked the power of integrations like websites.
But when you own a website, you can integrate your entire online marketing strategy.
For example, you can set up e-commerce integrations to cost-efficiently expand your small business. You can connect your social media pages so that your feeds show up on your website. Chatbots are available to provide 24/7 customer service. You could also set up an integration that allows visitors to book appointments that are then synced to your calendar and theirs.
- Optimize Search Engine Optimization
Optimization is a process, not a goal. Owning your website enables you to update its content and imagery continuously, and search engine algorithms love fresh material. A recent study on the frequency of local business searches revealed 21% of consumers search for local businesses online every day. Further, 35% continue to make these types of searches several times every week.
Do you want your enterprise to be on page two of the search engine results when they’re looking for a place to buy? The question answers itself. Optimizing your site can move it up in results and earn that all-important click. How?
- Use keywords specific to your location and industry
- Anticipate searcher intent
- Link internally to other helpful pages
- Get credible sites to backlink to your website
Search engines don’t explicitly instruct businesses on how to show up high on their results pages. However, there are established trends that can give you insight into how to increase your chances of showing up to your target audience. Many small businesses make the mistake of focusing solely on location-specific terms. Adding content that applies to your industry or other, more general consumer pain points adds to your credibility in the eyes of search engines and potential customers.
Small businesses need websites to thrive. Even if your social media is booming and your email list is on fire, a homebase for your business is a critical part of the customer journey. When your customers search for your business, products, or services, be sure they have a nice place to land.