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Ten Reasons Why a Facebook Page is Not a Replacement for a Professional Business Website

In a tough economy, business owners are faced with the challenge of marketing their products and services while facing major budget constraints. In order to purchase what you are selling, customers need to be able to find you. They need to differentiate between what you have to offer and competitive products. You have to avoid the commoditization trap and people who are shopping strictly on the basis of price (unless your goal is to be a low-price leader).

In the 21st Century, businesses cannot hope to be competitive and profitable without a strong online presence. Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets are quickly overtaking traditional desktop and laptop personal computers as the device of choice for customers who want instant and informative data prior to making purchases. If a business lacks a professional and fiercely competitive online presence, the level of missed opportunities cannot be overstated.

While the cost of certain forms of online marketing may seem prohibitive for some small business owners, their free alternatives only offer a solution on the surface. Here are ten reasons why putting together a Facebook page as your sole means of having an online marketing presence will not serve your best long-term goals for success.

1. Facebook isn't "free." You may have heard the adage "If you're not paying for it, you become the product." In exchange for providing the free tools to construct your Facebook page, you exchange a tremendous amount of personal data. Facebook collects data on you, as well as visitors to your page, in order to deliver targeted advertising to you. They also share this data with their partners, and no one knows with absolute certainty how this data will be used in the future.

2. If you are not a Marketing Professional, you cannot deliver a professional marketing message. Quite often the task of putting together a Facebook page or no-cost "template" Website falls to a friend or family member of the business owner. The reality behind this decision is that unless this individual has been trained in the skills and disciplines of professional marketing, the result will be seriously lacking in the elements needed to outdistance the competition.

Marketing involves strategy and analysis. It involves understanding what people buy, why they buy, and why they do not. Websites and Facebook pages without a strong marketing foundation become what is referred to as a "Brochure Site," meaning they are subject to a quick glance and are often disposable in the minds of visitors.

It has been proven many times that customers make a decision to purchase based on emotions, on a feeling created by their perception of how they will feel after owning the product or service and what it can do for them to make life easier or simply make them feel good. They will then justify their purchase intellectually. If you don't speak their language, you are not selling effectively.

Marketing Professionals are keenly aware of positioning and unique value propositions. The customers you seek can purchase products or services from you, or they can purchase those same products or services from your competitors, and your success will be based solely on how effectively you convince them that they will experience the maximum benefits from your company's offerings.

3. Websites will last as long as the Internet, while alternatives can be here today and gone tomorrow. In 2008, MySpace enjoyed over 75 million unique visits per month. Three years later, it became no more than a footnote in cutting-edge Internet options. It was purchased in 2005 for $580 million and sold in 2011 for $35 million.

The same Professional Marketing tactics that are used in promoting stand-alone, professionally built Websites are employed in the promotion of Social Media such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Instagram and more. The public has been conditioned to accept nothing less than the latest and greatest, which means that it is extremely possible to be at the top today and at the bottom tomorrow.

4. If you have a Facebook page, Facebook is in charge. You are not. If you own a Website, Facebook can never change your policies, its functionality, or any other detail associated with it. If you have a Facebook page today, you are working with a toolset provided by the company's developers in exchange for the personal information you allow access to.

Read the fine print. Facebook is under no obligation to permanently provide the current level of functionality. Changes to their underlying code which might be presented as an improvement or enhancement could very well be in conflict with the page you've built, and if that happens, you'll have no recourse other than to accept the new changes or look for an alternative solution.

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