You probably can’t find a small business owner these days who would argue with the statement that an Internet presence is important or critical to the survival and profitability of a business. Almost every person with the money to make a purchase is carrying around an Internet appliance, their smartphone. When they’re home they are using a desktop, notebook, or tablet computer.
Even if a shopper isn’t searching for a business online, they’re often checking out one to learn more about it or to check products, services, or prices. The business website is often used to validate the business or to check out the storefront in making a local shopping decision. It would be difficult to find a small business today that doesn’t have an online presence. However, especially when it comes to local walk-in businesses, that main presence is a Facebook page.
Facebook can be an effective tool to leverage the online business presence, but it can fall short of providing an effective tool to deliver customers, especially new ones. The Facebook layout is designed to promote and display communications between users and the page owner or business. It does a great job of that. There is an about page where the business can enter other information as well.
The problems for a potential new customer trying to decide whether to do business is that they often have a very specific need or desire for information about the business, products, or services. Someone on Google searching for local shoe repair, restaurants, home cleaning services, or other small businesses will often have a specific information requirement, such as:
• Boot leather sole replacement
• All day breakfasts
• Child safe home cleaning products
Those more specific searches can yield a first page result on Google for a Facebook business page, but most often first page results will be to landing pages on websites that address the specific request. A shoe repair business can have a page, article, or blog post that explains the different things to consider when having leather soles replaced on boots. Even if a Facebook page gets high results, usually due to low competition online for that locality, the searcher may not be able to get their information needs met because they can’t find that information in the Facebook formatting.
SEO, Search Engine Optimization, is all about having information on a website that fills those information needs, and is most effective when each page, article, or post focuses on one key phrase or question. This is almost impossible to achieve with the Facebook layout and presentation. It’s quite easy to achieve with a dedicated business website.
The good news is that, just like Facebook, you can have that website without spending any money if you want. Using WordPress.com, you can create a free online presence that can have its own custom domain (such as yourbusinessname.com). WordPress is easy to use, does all the formatting for you, and will allow you to create that focused page that targets potential customers based on their online searches.
Keep the Facebook page, but use it as your testimonial or customer communications location. When you create new website content, promote it on Facebook. This is especially valuable when selling to existing customers. Use the website to attract new customers, and use Facebook to leverage your content and market to existing customers. And don’t forget to register your Tri-Cities business right here on 1-find.com!