We recently purchased a new home and embarked on the task of remodeling it to our taste. Since we are in a new community, I’ve been searching for local contractors for painting, countertops, tiling, etc. I was surprised by the number of service business that don’t have their own piece of the internet. In other words, their own website.
Most of these small businesses only maintained a web presence on Facebook and/or one of the online services that match customers to service providers such as Angie’s List or Thumbtack. These sites are great for the consumer and I did hire a contractor I found there. However, the contractor has to pay to quote on each project, regardless if they get the job.
But, I’m on Facebook. Isn’t that the same?
So what about Facebook? I remember when Facebook was relatively new and business people, like myself, were being told to be careful about blatant advertising in our posts. The phrase often used was, “Remember, it is SOCIAL media.” Okay, I said that myself more than a few times. But that was circa 2010.
Enter Facebook Business Pages in 2012 (approx.). Finally, a place for small business and entrepreneurs to promote their business! Free advertising! It was music to the ears of startup businesses everywhere. At this time, some marketing consultants were actually telling business people with small budgets to set up a Facebook Business Page instead of their own web page. After all, a professional web page can be expensive right?
With a business page, the small marketing budget entrepreneur had a valid source of free advertising. But Facebook wasn’t making any money on all this free advertising. Being savvy business owners, they created Facebook ads. In fact, it’s getting harder to get your page noticed unless you pay for ads.
I’m listed on another service, such as Angie’s List or my parent company such as Realtor.com.
That is a GOOD thing! But it’s not really your OWN web page. It probably only lists contact information and a short description of your services. It lists your information with everyone in your category – including your competitors! In addition, most of these types of listings are not free and the money can really add up if you’re on a tight budget.
The good news is that having that page with a social media platform or listing service will enhance and empower your own website. It will drive more traffic to your site and put you one step ahead of the marketing game.
The most important reason you should have your own piece of the web, is that you have total control over it.
All of these alternatives, have one thing in common. Your content can be erased at any time by them. Think about the time you spent creating that social media profile or professional listing. What would you do if you woke up one day and it was all gone? If you don’t own the platform it’s on, this is a very real possibility.
Now we’ve talked about what you shouldn’t do when creating a web presence. But there are other reasons you should have one.
Let’s look at how a website benefits your business.
Your website brands you as unique and reveals your identity.
What sets you apart from your competitors? When your audience reads your listing on a listing site, you are just one name among many.
Think about it. If a visitor is looking for a florist on Teleflora and finds five listings close to home — and one of the listings has a link to its own website — that visitor is going to go “one click further” and click on that florist’s website. When scanning a list, people always want to know more. Your link gives them that opportunity.
Your website establishes you as an expert in your industry.
How does that happen? Consider how it helped one plumber, John. He has a professionally designed website that included his services and references. However, he went a step further to include weekly blog posts about things like “How to silence noisy pipes.” and “The best ways to winterize your pipes.” Simply having these answers to common homeowner’s problems will increase his traffic. These readers will then see John as an established professional and will call him if they need a plumber.
Your website can provide customer support.
With your own website, you can provide methods for your customers or potential customers to contact you directly.
If you are depending on a listing site, every time your customer logs in they once again see all your competitors. It’s very easy for them to switch to someone else. Keep them coming back to you by providing contact information and a contact form on your own website. When they know they can go to ‘MyRealtor@HisSite.com’ you earn their full attention.
Provide targeted marketing and gain a life-long customer.
Do you keep in touch with previous customers? They have so many choices, and often so little time, today that if you don’t stay on their radar, they may not contact you for future needs. With your own website, it’s easy to do!
For example, Sam owns a landscaping business. His company provides landscape design and installation as well as maintenance. He sends out a monthly newsletter to all past clients that includes a helpful tip and his latest specials. By doing this Sam stays on their radar as the man to call for landscaping needs. As a result, Sam enjoys a lot of return business.
These are just a few reasons you need your own piece of the internet for your service business. Have I left you eager to charge in and create a website of your own? Awesome! However, I will leave you with a word of warning: Don’t do it! I know you’ve seen the ads to create your own website for free. Your website is the ‘face’ of your company online. If it doesn’t look professional or doesn’t function correctly, it will do you more harm than good. When you are ready for a professional website, there are many professional web builders to help. It doesn’t have to be a budget-buster. You should be able to get a basic website starting at $ 300.Business & Finance Articles on Business 2 Community