For years, “expert” marketers have prophesied that the end of the website is near. They’ll claim that websites are dead and that social media marketing rules the land of lead generation. These marketers like to downplay the influence of a website, arguing that, while your website may play a role in a consumer’s decision-making process, social media platforms—looking at customer reviews, your posts, and tweets, your team members’ LinkedIn profiles—are what ultimately drive them to convert. Some, they argue, may not interact with your website at all.
They’re not wrong. Some users will follow the path they’re describing. Most will scope out your business’s social media presence. Social media might even be their introduction to your business, and they might convert directly from a social media ad or post. To us, these are all reasons why it’s important that your digital marketing includes a strong social media strategy. They aren’t, however, an argument for social media as a viable replacement for a good website.
Though social media often plays a significant role in a consumer’s journey, it should not be the focal point of your digital strategy, and that becomes increasingly clear with every change or challenge to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, or any other social media or search engine.
Changes to these networks are inevitable. In nearly every aspect, social media is designed to be ephemeral. As years go by, new social media platforms will appear, and older ones will fade away. The platform features, algorithms, and audiences will change. All of this is beyond your control and should be accounted for with social media and traffic generation strategies that aggressively anticipate changes to these landscapes. But hinging all of your lead generation on services outside of the control of you or your agency is a recipe for disaster.
What isn’t beyond your control is your website and your email list. While social media and Google’s toolbox are important parts of your digital marketing, ultimately, they should be used to drive users to your website, where they can convert, whether making a purchase, filling out a contact form, or signing up for a mailing list.
If something isn’t working with your website, you get to change it. If something is working, you get to amplify it. Unlike social media or SEO, you’re not devoting all your time and resources to algorithms and services that can change at will—the will of their stakeholders—and leave you scrambling for a new strategy or solution. With your website design, you’re the stakeholder, and what you say goes.
So, your website should be the core of your marketing and lead generation strategies. What does that mean? You need a website designed to deliver on those expectations. Driving traffic toward your website is futile if your website is a dead-end for customers. This has been made clear in the shift in emphasis from “web design” to user experience design. Your website should look good, but if it doesn’t deliver a good experience for the user, it won’t deliver the leads you need.
Is the website dead? Hardly. All it needs is a little TLC.