Last evening I was driving through my township and noticed one of the billboards for a new condominium. The sign read, "follow us on Twitter @newnjhousing*. There was a website listed, in very small print.
Social media is a very important method of marketing, sales and branding for many businesses. It does work, and is a communications medium that should not be ignored. However, many businesses are caught up in the euphoria of social media and neglecting two of the most important marketing vehicles of their business: their website and email marketing.
Sure, during the Super Bowl Honda gave it's Facebook page instead of a traditional website. Yes, we hear many anecdotal stories of businesses using Twitter to drive sales and boost communication for their companies products or services.
However, for most growing businesses who have a limited budget, focusing on a well designed website and email marketing are the essential elements they should focus on, before diving too deep into social media.
1. Search engines, which are still the most popular way by far to find information online, use website and blog traffic to determine your ranking.
2. Email, for many, is still the most popular and easiest method of communication (hence the power of email marketing).
3. Your well designed website can serve as a foundation for your social media and any other online marketing.
4. Websites provide the broadest and most flexible opportunity for serving the variety of needs to your customers (hosting video, offering free downloads, forms for receiving customer information, etc).
5. Email marketing enables you to see critical statistics about your audience and email message (how many opens, who opened, what was clicked on, etc).
6. Email messages can be highly targeted to specific groups within your email database and the individual message can be customized for each recipient.
7. Websites are owned by you—no need to worry about change in privacy settings, or who owns your data.
8. Your website can serve as a powerful and automated sales tool, that works 24/7/365.
9. Your website and email marketing contains only your message and not extraneous advertising or content from dozens of others on each page.
10. Competitors are not able to display their advertising around your messaging.
11. If third party social media networks go down, you're not "out of business" while they are down.
12. Your customer's data has less of a chance of being hacked.
13. People often want to receive regular email messages just to remind them to buy from you later on.
14. Website domain names are easier to market and for people to go to than Twitter handles.
15. Until social commerce matures, websites are the best way to sell online.
16. Great subject lines in email messages are still a very powerful way for recipients to prioritize what emails they open.
17. Websites can be as simple or as complex as needed.
18. You can create multiple websites for multiple audiences.
19. Websites don't have a barrier of needing to enter a password and user name to visit them.
20. All of your audience can navigate a good website—everyone still can't effective navigate Twitter and Facebook.
21. A great website can be created with no need for programming "apps" or special developers.
22. Some companies block social media sites.
23. Your photos and video can be placed precisely where and how you want them on your website.
24. "Social is great", but building a direct relationship between you and a customer (without 267 of their friends) might be more important.
25. A well designed website is like opening the door and sitting in a brand new car with leather seats.
26. An email marketing message lives forever, social media posts move along a time line and require regular attention.
27. Your website and email newsletter will never compete with you.
28. If your sales message requires lengthy copy, your website can tastefully accommodate.
29. Email marketing messages can automatically engage a customer, depending on their response to a preceding email message.
30. Websites can change as little or as much as you like. Whenever you like.*name changed