Your company’s website should be considered the “hub of the wheel” in your digital marketing strategy. There’s a number of reasons why, and we’ll cover them in this article. First, let’s start with an agriculture-focused analogy. A website is like farmland that you own. Unless someone buys it from you, you own the land and have full control over what you do with the land. Alternatively, relying solely on social media platforms (such as Facebook, TikTok, or Instagram) for your digital marketing effort is like building your farm solely on rented land. Literally overnight, someone can decide to change their mind and stop renting to you. I have witnessed clients who lost everything they put in to social media overnight. In the blink of an eye, they lost thousands of thoughtfully curated posts and a strong following. Even more depressing, they felt powerless reaching out for customer support to plead their case.

I’m not saying that social media isn’t important. It absolutely has a place in your digital strategy, but I always encourage clients to invest in optimizing their website first. Why? Let’s talk about some of the most important reasons:

1. Control. Full Ownership and Control of Content, Privacy and Legal
The Facebook Blackout: A Cautionary Tale
2. Search Engine Visibility
3. Email Marketing Integration
4. Professionalism and Credibility
5. Comprehensive Information:
6. Targeted Marketing, Conversion and Sales:
7. Analytics and Insights
8. Long-Term Stability

1. Control. Full Ownership and Control of Content, Privacy and Legal

On your website, you have full ownership of your content, design and functionality. Social media you’re subject to platform policies and constraints, a constantly changing algorithm potential changes in rules – all of which impact your reach and visibility. Social media has turned into a “pay to play” platform with very limited organic reach. Your website also gives you control over user data and privacy policies, allowing you to adhere to data protection regulations more effectively. Social media platforms manage user data on their terms, which can lead to privacy concerns. Additionally, websites give you have greater control over legal matters, including terms and conditions, disclaimers, and compliance with industry regulations.

The Facebook Blackout: A Cautionary Tale

Many will also recall the Facebook Blackout of October 2021 that served as a cautionary tale to our dependence on social media. This global outage affected Facebook and its affiliated platforms, Instagram and WhatsApp — apps used by billions on a daily basis. The outage lasted for several hours and had widespread consequences, sparking discussions and concerns about the role and influence of these social media platforms in our daily lives.

The blackout began in the early hours of October 4th, and it quickly became apparent that something was amiss. Users across the world reported being unable to access Facebook, Instagram, or WhatsApp. These platforms are used by billions of people daily for communication, social networking, business promotion, and more. Consequently, the outage had a profound impact on individuals, businesses, and even governments that relied on these platforms for various purposes.

Businesses that relied heavily on Facebook and Instagram for advertising and customer engagement found themselves at a standstill. E-commerce platforms experienced a decline in sales, and influencers lost a vital channel for promoting products and services. Government agencies and organizations that used WhatsApp for secure communication faced interruptions in their operations. While the outage was unintended, it highlighted the vulnerability of such a vast and interconnected digital ecosystem.

Once Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp were restored, users and businesses resumed their activities on the platforms. However, the outage served as a reminder of the fragility of our digital infrastructure and the need for contingency plans. It prompted many individuals and organizations to explore alternative means of communication and marketing, diversifying their online presence to mitigate the risks associated with over-reliance on a single platform.

2. Search Engine Visibility: When a customer is ready to buy, their search usually turns to Google. For this reason it has a lower spot in the sales funnel, and buyers are much closer to a purchase decision. Search engine optimization (SEO) can play a powerful role in your online strategy when done properly. By optimizing your website for search engines, you can improve your chances of ranking higher in search results, making it easier for potential customers to discover your business. Many different factors play into SEO and there are several free or low cost options to optimize your local presence.

3. Email Marketing Integration: An often overlooked selling point of websites is their ability to capture email addresses via a lead magnet or other value added piece. Email marketing is another form of marketing that gives you control over the database of emails you have curated. Social media platforms have limitations on email marketing. Every website should have a strategy to capture email addresses in exchange for something that will add value to their lives.

4. Professionalism and Credibility: A well-designed website conveys professionalism and credibility. It’s a central hub where customers, clients, and partners can find comprehensive information about your business, which is lacking on social media profiles. Your website provides a unique platform to showcase your brand identity. You can customize the design, layout, and content to align with your brand values and messaging, creating a consistent and memorable brand experience.

5. Comprehensive Information: Websites allow you to provide detailed and organized information about your products, services, team, history, testimonials, and more. Social media profiles are limited in the amount and format of information they can display.

6. Targeted Marketing, Conversion and Sales: Websites provide more extensive opportunities for targeted advertising and content personalization. You can tailor your messages and offers to specific audience segments, enhancing the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. E-commerce websites facilitate direct sales and conversions, providing a seamless and secure shopping experience for customers. Social media platforms typically require additional steps to complete a transaction, and may require you to adopt yet another selling platform. Your website should be your home page to send traffic for online sales.

7. Analytics and Insights: Websites offer robust analytics tools that provide detailed insights into user behavior, traffic sources, conversion rates, and more. This data helps you make informed decisions and refine your marketing strategies.

8. Long-Term Stability: Social media platforms can change or decline in popularity over time. A website provides stability and longevity for your online presence, ensuring your business remains accessible even if social media trends shift.

In summary, while social media remains an important component of your comprehensive online marketing strategy, a website offers greater control, professionalism, branding opportunities, and long-term stability. It serves as the digital headquarters of your business, providing a more comprehensive and customizable platform for engaging with your audience and achieving your marketing goals. Below are some of the most frequent questions I see pertaining to websites:

Q: Where should I focus my marketing efforts?

A: I always advise clients to focus first on the marketing channels they have the most control over, since they can’t be “taken away” overnight. Over time, they become an asset to the business if you ever plan to sell or transfer.

Q: Should I build my own website or hire a professional?

A: I am often asked if a business should build their own website, or outsource it. If you fully grasp how to build a website that encompasses all the advantages (SEO, readability, optimization, layout, content and copy, etc.) then go for it. If you don’t feel as confident about these variables, or have the time to figure them out – then hiring a professional web designer offers several key advantages. Those include the creation of a custom, user-friendly, and mobile-responsive website that is optimized for search engines (SEO) and loads quickly. Designers also ensure brand consistency, cross-browser compatibility, and enhanced security while leveraging technical expertise to implement complex functionalities. They plan for scalability, saving time and costs in the long term, and provide ongoing support, maintenance, and analytics integration. A number of factors outside of appearance are what make your website work. A qualified website management company will understand all of these intricacies and be able to advise your company.

Q: I already have a website but I’m not seeing the traffic I would like. What should I do?

A: If your company already has a website that could benefit from an outside audit, I feel that is money well spent. The audit can tell you where to focus, even if you plan to make the changes yourself. I always encourage input from trained professionals to move your business forward.

It’s also a great idea when someone who isn’t working on your business day in and day out to offer a fresh perspective.

If your company is interested in a website, or would like an audit of their existing site, please don’t hesitate to schedule a complimentary discussion with HMA Marketing LLC. Use this link to schedule a free 15 minute consult today.