December 19, 2017
Category: Search Engine Marketing

How to Market Your Business Online Without Replacing Your Tired Old Website

Does your website look bad? Does it load slowly? Is it impossible to navigate on mobile?

Whether it’s just feeling a bit dated or is way too old to function, you may have a problem.

Why? Because customers expect a lot from websites these days. If your site doesn’t quite cut it, there are plenty of other sites that will. So to compete (and especially sell) online, your site needs to tick all the boxes.

The problem is, the web changes so fast that it’s only a couple years before your new site starts to feel old again. And investing in a new or refreshed website every other year is expensive – costing anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000.

What’s a small business owner meant to do?

There is another way… Facebook can actually be leveraged to perform every function a website does.

It’s a slightly different way of doing business – and it’s always good to have a website to back your business up – but Facebook can be used (and sometimes perform better) than a website for your marketing and sales needs.


The Facebook Appeal

Here are a few reasons pimping out your Facebook page could be an attractive alternative to a new website.

  • Cost. A new website costs $2 – $20k. Facebook costs you nothing.
  • Hosting. Facebook will always load quickly, never ‘go down’, and is free.
  • Ease of Use. Your customers (and your staff) already know how to use it.
  • Works on Mobile. Facebook is optimised for the more than 60% of Australian website traffic that comes from mobile phones.
  • Easy to Find. A website has to be successful in order to get people to visit. (Good SEO,  etc.) Facebook can get you found by thousands with a single post.
  • Stay Current. You can easily, instantly provide your customers with updates
  • Social. Your business can get shared, passed around, recommended easily


But Can Facebook Really Make up for a Website?

Curious about how a Social Media platform could stand in for a website? We’ll take a look at all the things a website needs to do, and explore how Facebook could help you solve those problems without relying on your site.

Let’s break it down.

Essential Functions of a Website

  • Tell Your Story / Branding
  • Give Crucial Information
  • Let Customers Contact / Find You
  • Highlight Your Products / Services
  • Sell Products / Services
  • Get Found / Grow Your Client Base

How Facebook Performs Those Functions

Now let’s look at how Facebook can help you perform these functions without leaning on your website.

For starters, we can look at the home page on Facebook. The home page resembles a website in many ways – it’s got a banner image, a contact button, and a list of menu items for customers to browse.

We’ll have a peek at Urban Outfitters’ profile page as an example.

Here it is on desktop:

Branding starts with your profile picture (upper left). This can be continued with your cover photo, and with all the photos or videos you post to your page.

Most Crucial Information can be worked into the ‘About’ section that Facebook gives you. Hours, location, contact information, a paragraph about your business – and even a list of team members can be added here.

Customers can easily contact you via the about page info, or on a handy button on your profile page (on the lower left of the cover image). Urban Outfitters has chosen to have this button start a messaging chat, but you can also have it dial your phone number or send you an email.

If you look at the Urban Outfitters page on Mobile, you’ll see it makes it even easier for customers to contact you:

In terms of Highlighting Your Products and Services, this is where Facebook performs a bit differently than a website. You won’t be able to create separate pages for each product or service (at least not without special add-ons). Rather, you can create Facebook posts about them. We get more into posting in the next paragraph.

Selling Products and Services is somewhere Facebook can really excel. Promoting a product can be as simple as creating a post like this one:

Posting can be easy, but selling on Facebook is a departure from simply putting your product on your site and hoping people buy. The better you can ‘show’ what your product or service is, the more likely you are to be successful. High quality images help, video can knock it out of the park, and short text is recommended.

If you’d like to use a Facebook post to directly drive sales, you can create a link in the text like Urban Outfitters did:

This link can lead your customer to a place where they can say “Yes I want to Buy!” and where you can capture their contact information and follow them up whichever way is easiest for you. This could be a landing page (an inexpensive web page that can be created outside of your site). Alternatively, you can just do business right in the comments section of that post.

As you can see, you can contact your customer right from the comments section!

After you make a comment, you can also take the conversation to a private message in Facebook Messenger, where you can capture their phone, email, and whatever other information you need to in order to complete a sale.

This sales post is also helping you Find New Customers. In fact, every post or advertisement you make will do that for you. They all promote your business, they all lead customers back to your page where they can learn more, and they don’t leave you at the mercy of Google search results.

If you have a real need for e-commerce, third-party services like Shopify and Ecwid will actually let you create a proper shop on Facebook.

Facebook Ads and Other Functions

We’ve gone through just a few ways Facebook can function like a website. There are many more, including Facebook ads that can laser-target your potential customers, and other applications that can help you build an email database, sell pretty much anything, and perform all kinds of fancy tasks right from your profile page.


Facebook Drawbacks

We’d be remiss if we didn’t note that Facebook has some real drawbacks when compared to a website:

  • Google Search. Although many Facebook pages rank higher than company websites on google, Facebook won’t let you target specific search terms like a website does.
  • Time Investment. If you want to run a successful Facebook page, you need to create engaging posts, and you can’t leave your page with no activity for months on end. There’s a definite time investment there.
  • What if the platform goes under? Facebook might not be around forever, and if it goes under, so would your access to customers.
  • Security. Facebook has come pretty far in terms of secure purchasing. If you build a shop, you’ll be fully protected. But some people may not feel comfortable leaving contact info with you in a Facebook message or in the comments section.


So Don’t Let an Old Website Get You Down!

If you’re staring at a tired old website and seeing dollar signs fly out the window, don’t panic. You can absolutely give Facebook a shot. If you do it well, you might also give your competition a run for their money.


Let us Help You Out

Overwhelmed? Or just want to capitalise on Facebook like a pro? We specialise in making Social Media work for businesses. Whether you need a new site or not, Social can be a ticket to real, lasting business growth.

If you’re curious, read more about it on our website.

And if you’re really curious, contact us or check us out below.


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