When you’re just starting to build your new small business, it can be really tempting to save as much money as you can. There are some expenses you can’t avoid, like paying for your business license or leasing a brick-and-mortar storefront. But then there are other expenses that you can cut corners on, like the tools you use to manage your day-to-day admin and operations. All of a sudden you’re falling down a rabbit hole of business expenses. That’s when anything that’s free starts to look very appealing.
But like the old saying goes: “You get what you pay for.”
One of the biggest variables in your startup budget is how much you spend on your website. It’s easy for you to think, “I don’t have the budget for a custom website, so I’ll just set up a Facebook business page instead.”
But here’s the thing: Your Facebook business page is not the same thing as your business website. It doesn’t even come close.
If you’re relying on your Facebook business page to find customers and close sales, you’re missing out on some major opportunities.
Why Your Small Business Can’t Rely on a Facebook Page
Your Customers Aren’t Getting a Unique Experience
It doesn’t matter if you’re selling sandwiches, manicures, life coaching sessions or dog-walking services — your business needs to provide a unique experience to your customers.
And they won’t get that if they land on your Facebook business page.
When your client finds you on Facebook, they are having a Facebook experience, not an experience that you create.
They will see Facebook’s logo before they see yours. They will guided by the content layout that Facebook dictates (which, frankly, is cluttered, ugly and confusing).
Your ideal client will associate your business with something that lives on Facebook and not an independent and unique business.
The Facebook experience is generic. It’s predictable and it doesn’t have a “wow” factor.
When your ideal client searches for your business online and the first thing they find is a Facebook profile, there’s no intrigue.
But visiting a custom website piques the curiosity. That split second of mystery is what starts your ideal client down a special customer journey. A journey that is more likely to end with a sale.
When your ideal client visits your custom website, it’s like you’ve given them an invitation to your home. They get a chance to see your business’s personality (also known as your brand identity). They get to see what makes you different from the other businesses they can choose from.
When they see your Facebook business page, it makes your business look like every other business out there.
Doesn’t seem too enticing, does it?
Having a custom website can draw your client’s into a journey that you have designed. When they land on your homepage, you can direct them exactly where you want them to go. You can show them exactly what you want them to see.
A custom website gives your business much more flexibility to stand out. It gives you a better chance to make a strong (and lasting) first impression.
Keep it Social on Facebook. Conduct Business on Your Website
Facebook is a social media platform first and foremost. It’s a great place to showcase your business, but it can’t support all of the functions you need to run your business.
While Facebook might give you some basic business operations like a “Book Now” call-to-action button, you still have to redirect people off of Facebook (usually to your custom website) in order to finish the task.
In that regard, a Facebook page is better suited as a marketing tool than a website. You can use it to get attention from your ideal clients, but your website is where you close the sale.
Sure, Facebook is a great place to hang out with your followers.
You can use it to do all of the same things you would do with your personal page, like share updates and photos and have discussions.
But when it comes to actually running your business, Facebook doesn’t work as a standalone base of operations.
And never forget that you don’t own or control your Facebook business page. If you put all your eggs in the Facebook basket, so to speak, all of your hard work would disappear if it ever shut down.
Your Customers Are Probably Missing Your Facebook Updates
When you’re using Facebook to make business announcements and offer promotions, you’ve got a lot of other distractions to compete with.
The Facebook algorithm that determines when and where your posts appear to your followers is always changing. Lately the trend has been to prioritize and feature posts from friends and family over businesses and interests. Most users don’t even get notifications from pages they follow unless they actively engage with those profiles.
But here’s another detail to consider: Your ideal client may not be on Facebook at all.
Your ideal client may be hanging out on other social media platforms, or they may be part of a slowly growing group of consumers who have opted out of social media altogether.
Facebook is a good place to market your business, but marketing directly to people on your email list has a much higher sales conversion rate.
You can create several opportunities to get people to sign up for your email list directly from your website, and then email them directly when you want to promote your products and services.
And unlike your Facebook page, you do own your email list. You have much more control over it. You can market your business via emails that land directly in people’s inboxes, which is far more effective than getting buried in someone’s Facebook feed.
Having a Facebook business page and a custom website isn’t an either/or choice. It’s a both/and choice. You want to be accessible to your target audience from many locations. Ultimately, all marketing channels should lead back to your custom website, where you have more control and autonomy over how you run your business.
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