There was a time in the world of online marketing when the website was king and ruled supreme. Prior to social media," businesses had just one way to market themselves digitally - that was to develop a high quality and well presentable website designed from ground up to bring in visitor traffic and generate leads. Today, however, the whole situation with digital marketing has become a bit muddy with many business owners reluctant to invest financially into a high quality website and opting instead to spend their time on futile efforts to setup company pages on all possible social media platforms, or even worse, attempting to DIY their company website with no web development experience.
Where have businesses gone wrong when it comes to digital marketing?
The first important point that has to be made is that setting up pages on social media platforms and developing a fully functional website that is capable of passive lead generation requires completely different sets of skills.
It's no secret that social media has been a key driving force behind some of the trends, developments and perceptions in the digital marketing sector. Social media has been both a godsend for large companies and celebrities, and a time-wasting curse for many smaller businesses.
Social media platforms are designed to be readily used by the general public with minimal effort and skill. Contrary to the popular opinion, you don't need to hire a "social media expert" to get into the game. Simply create an account, follow the steps in the wizard to create a company page, and then invest massive amounts of your time to accrue followers. Is it taking too much time and is it too difficult to get followers because you and your business are not quite popular and nobody is actually interested in your products or services? Your social media platform has already planned for this and offers a shortcut! The solution is simple: pay for sponsored posts... just enter your message, your target demographic and don't forget to supply a valid credit card. That's it. That's all there is to social marketing.
Does the aforementioned strategy work? It depends who you are. Social media works sufficiently well for large companies and established brands with a large and loyal client base, especially in the B2C sector. However, it is a poor way to generate leads for smaller firms - and just because your company page has 1,000 followers, it does not mean that those followers will become clients. The effective measured ROI from social media marketing is abysmal. And if you are using social media to keep in touch with your existing clients, it may prove to be more effective to use weekly or monthly e-newsletters.
There are a myriad of reasons for failures of social media marketing. One is a lack of point of difference of your business from competition due to the low barrier of entry into the social media space. Another is the difficulty of effective lead capture and advertising due to the nature of social media platforms themselves. B2B marketing through social media is another odd practice that pretty much shouldn't be around except in some particular niche scenarios.
This is where websites and their lead generation potential comes in. Unlike social media platforms, search engines are well oiled machines that have a massive amounts of potential clients looking for products and services on a daily basis. There is no need to chase "followers" that may or may not buy your product in the future. However, the game in this sector is much more ruthless and requires a professional to compete. You can try to DYI a website as much as you want with free online tools and templates - but you will not compete with professionals that do this on a daily basis. Furthermore the website itself will be likely to end up sub-par when it comes to structure, layout and appearance, and will not do your business any favours.
What do you need to do?
The first step is to have a look at what your business currently has and what your competition is doing.
- Does your company have an actual website or does it just have social media presence?
- Does your business website bring in leads on a regular basis?
- Is your website bringing in leads without being built specifically do so? (hint: if that is the case, there an opportunity for improvement and you may be potentially missing out on business)
- Do your competitors have massive websites with huge numbers of landing pages designed for different suburbs, products and services (hint: if that is the case, this is a huge red flag and there is probably a good reason to seriously look into your overall digital marketing strategy - this is a sign that your business sector may gravitate to online purchases).
- Does your website look fresh, is it up-to-date with your current products and services and is it mobile-friendly, or does it still say "Copyright © 2011" at the bottom of every page?
Please take your website seriously and don't neglect it - it is the digital face of your business. If you feel that your business website is lacking, please get in touch with a qualified web developer to discuss what can be done.
If you are interested in web design, development and search engine optimisation services, please do not hesitate to contact BiziNet Media. We can assist with anything from small business websites, shopping carts and payment gateways to complex fully engineered digital projects.