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This blog is a follow-up of one I wrote on the topic of the Internet in February 2012.  I felt it was important enough to revisit given the following points  (newmediatrendwatch.com):

  • 74% of people who use the internet use it to search locally for stores, products, and services
  • 61% of their searches ultimately end in purchases
  • 90% of local searches for specific businesses result in offline purchases at local physical locations

 

If your business is not readily found on the internet, it’s more than likely you are losing lots and lots of customers–especially mom’s, 90% of whom are internet users (emarketer).

 

The question then becomes, which is the better internet platform, a Website designed to feature content, or Facebook, designed to share it.

 

In the debate of how to draw new customers, a website appears to have a distinct advantage over Facebook if we use Google and its content search engine as the Website proxy.

  • In terms of reach, Google ads reach 90% of internet users; Facebook, little more than half( 51%).  The fact that this significant advantage extends to mobile phones, is especially important in light of Placecast’s finding that mobile internet access,” is more important to parents with children under age 6 (70%) than those of children in other age brackets, and that fully 64% of families with young children report  using their phones to find stores.”

 

  • In terms of effectiveness, the website advantage over Facebook is even greater in terms of ad effectiveness (as measured by click through rate).  Google’s rate is .4 versus .051 for Facebook– about 8 times greater and growing.

This makes sense; if you think about the intent of Facebook.  It is rarely used to find a product or store, but rather to share and chat with friends.

Still, while most customer/store relationships are likely to begin with a store’s website via Google, yahoo, Bing,… .  Facebook is an effective tool for building and capitalizing on that relationship. Special offers and events for Facebook friends help spark interest and create retail delight.  Incentives for Facebook users to interest their friends in the store can also bear fruit.  Cultivated properly, Facebook can be used to create a buzz with friends telling friends the resale treasurers they’re finding.  Even more, now that Facebook is allowing users to tap into different networks of friends for reviews and like information, more and more store reviews will be appearing on Yelp and other business review sites.

So when answering the question of  “should my store have a Website or Facebook Page”, we say BOTH:  The Website for bringing new customers, Facebook for growing the relationship.  You’ll come up short with just one or the other.

 

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