It’s no wonder you’re questioning if you still need your website, and you’re in the right place to find answers. Things are moving so quickly these days, and as you know, you can’t assume the marketing tools which worked last year will continue to be as effective this year. Although in the case of websites, I think they’re arguably more important than ever.
It’s been over three decades since the first website went live, on 6th August 1991. Websites have become the backbone of most sales and marketing strategies, after beginning life as a niche technology.
So surely the website's reign is coming to an end? Technology is evolving at a breakneck speed, and there’s now an infinite number of ways to use your time, effort and budget. Social media, digital advertising, email marketing and mobile apps all have the potential to outperform websites in certain objectives. Social media allows you to connect with your target audience where they spend their time, and engage directly in conversations with them. Digital advertising enables you to reach new audiences and attain measurable results. Email marketing helps you build long-term relationships with customers, and maintain visibility and awareness of your brand. Mobile applications provide seamless native experiences that can offer useful tools to current and potential customers.
Websites provide credibility
For the time being, I believe having a website remains a key factor in appearing credible, reliable and trustworthy. I’d also add, having a website isn’t enough; you need a modern, up-to-date site with reliable content and designs that reflect your brand.
You could argue this is all possible with social media, but for now ‘48% of people said that web design was the number one way they determine the credibility of a business.’ You may call it old-fashioned, but the majority of people will only put their money where their mouth is once they can have visited an authoritative website.
A corporate website is an important piece of social proof that provides reassurance to customers. Alongside this, if you invest in content marketing and produce a blog or articles, your website can set your business up as an authority in your market. That can go a long way to influencing customers and potential customers to get in touch, place an order, or continue working with you.
It's easy to forget that simply answering potential customers' questions does a lot to help them along your marketing funnel, qualify them as leads, and make the sales process smoother and faster.
Websites offer reach
By keeping an eye on SEO, With care and attention paid to SEO, websites can also offer reach that’s hard to achieve with other channels; attracting huge numbers of visitors through search queries. These visitors are, almost by definition, interested in what you are offering and so represent highly relevant leads who, if converted through tailored content and custom landing pages, can offer far greater ROI than performance marketing.
And because SEO attracts any user searching for relevant terms, it also allows your website to gather leads from the widest possible audience, including segments that you may have disregarded in your performance marketing or social media targeting.
Websites offer control
Finally, the most important argument in my opinion for continuing to invest in your website is the level of control it offers you. You can present your brand, identity and message in precisely the way you want to, leading users and customers on the journey you want them to go on. Every aspect of the design and content is yours to fine-tune so that it reflects the story you want to tell about your business.
Organisations invest a lot of time in thinking about their message, values, story, visual presentation and other aspects of their identity, but so much of this can be lost in other marketing channels like social media, email and performance marketing. A website may be the only digital asset you have that brings together everything you want to say about your brand and your business, in one place, in the way you want it.
Essentially, your website offers control over the volume and detail of information you offer, and allows you to organise it in such a way that only people who really want the detailed information ever see it. When printing a brochure, producing a video or designing a social media campaign, there are always tough choices to be made about how much information to include to avoid overwhelming your audience. On your website, you can balance top-level landing pages that provide an overview of your business and services with highly-detailed sub-pages that include all the in-depth content you want.
It’s very hard to imagine what websites will look like in another thirty years. Maybe the metaverse will, as websites did, grow from being a niche interest explored by a few early adopters to an essential plank in every business’s online presence (I doubt it). I think more and more technology will become about enhancing real life rather than replacing real life. New technology will no doubt open up new possibilities, and perhaps conventional websites will go the way of adverts in the Yellow Pages, but I’m pretty sure they’ll be hard for any business to live without for a long while yet.
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