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Make Your Website Sell

According to SocialBakers there are 31 million active Facebook users in the UK. That’s just over 50% of our total population. The largest group are the 25-34 year olds and the male/female split is about 50:50.

On the surface this looks like the ideal place for every business to be because it gives access to an unprecedented volume of potential customers. The natural effect on many businesses is that they feel a pressure to join and attempt to sell through Facebook simply because 31 million people can’t be wrong. Or can they?

Well, just because Facebook has some big numbers doesn’t mean that as businesses we should be impressed or beguiled into joining because it’s free (an attractive option for any business).

Let’s look at Facebook for what it is – an online space in which people (and businesses) can create profiles of themselves and network with their friends. It is a personal and social space. Now have a think about other personal and social spaces we inhabit; our homes, the pub, restaurants, the gym, parties and so on. What you notice about them is that selling in those spaces is almost always confined to products and services relevant to the individual not the business they work for. For example, it’s far easier to sell cosmetics at someone’s home than it would be sell them stationary for their business.

In other words the ‘environment’ that the selling takes place in is very important. Just because you can sell from an online space (Ebay, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) doesn’t mean that it’s appropriate. (Few consultancies, for example would try to sell their services on Ebay.)

So what about Facebook?

Well, people in the act of Facebook-ing are typically not in the mindset to receive sales messages about their business because at that point they are mentally not at work. Consequently it becomes quite difficult to sell them products and services related to their work. It would be far easier to sell consumer based goods which help them on a personal level.

Broadly speaking if you sell business to business then Facebook may well be hard going because you’ll be dragging people back into a work mentality when they’re in a social mentality. However, if you sell business to consumer then you’re in with a much better chance and the more personal the product or service the greater the chance of a sale. (Which business do you think would do better on Facebook; selling brake shoes to the automotive industry or an ironing service? Obviously, the latter is more suited to Facebook because it is a personal service that can harness the power of recommendation through friends, likes and referrals.)

It’s worth remembering that in marketing you can only ‘know’ what you can prove with real data. Meaning that if you are still not sure whether Facebook is a worthy marketing platform then run a small scale test to find out (but do make sure you have a means of monitoring the result).

Finally, before you embark on building your Facebook community have a think about whether it is an appropriate selling space for you and remember that for most businesses commercial success is measured in pounds and pence and not just in likes and friends.

Jed Wylie is the author of Make Your Website Sell and works for Morgan Wylie a web design and digital marketing agency in the Midlands.

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5 Responses

  • Jannet Sabala

    The affiliate marketing or associate program, has become an increasingly popular way to earn extra cash on the web by promoting individual web sites. These programs can seem quite intimidating initially, however, educating yourself about affiliate marketing basics can ease the confusion of a seemingly complex situation.

    April 24, 2013 at 2:13 am
  • Fred Crellin

    Have recently set up a facebook page as I have a specific target audience who are easy to locate (often using mcfc or Manchester city derivitives in their facebook name). However, I find paying per click ridiculously expensive for what I get in return (I paid £20 for what was in essence 26 clicks/ likes with no sales afterwards over a 4 day period). I tried sending friend requests to ‘promising’ clients who are clearly obsessed (as I am) with Manchester city, but ended up being thrown out for 7 days by facebook. Any suggestions how else I can build an audience quickly and cost effectively with my new business venture?

    April 25, 2013 at 9:32 am
  • Ian Edwards

    I think this article makes assumptions. Perhaps the author is basing the comments around his or her own field of business? So I agree with the comments if you are selling B2B,but there re great opportunities B2C.
    I know a garden maintenance business and a hair stylist, both generate work via facebook.

    April 25, 2013 at 9:47 am
  • Ian Edwards

    I design websites and my B2C customers find targeted exposure via facebook, linking their site or blog works well.
    For B2B clients try Linkedin. You can quickly build a professional network and join target groups.
    I am also MD of a metal processing business. Joining vsrious steel stockholder groups within Linkedin allows me to promote what we do.
    SEO is fine and has its place but is very much reactive, waiting for your customer to find you. Exposure through sites like facebook and Linkedin is proactive!

    April 25, 2013 at 10:01 am
  • Funky Kitsch

    I wouldn’t dream of trying to sell on facebook ads – they cost an absolute fortune…indeed a lot of our stuff might interest some of the people on the site – but i’m sure we wouldn’t see the returns to warrant the high CPC as someone has already mentioned £20 for 26 clicks is ridiculous – extortionate. Now having a facebook page that is free is all well and good.

    April 25, 2013 at 11:32 am