Small businesses have a lot of options to market their business, but not enough time to use them all. You have to pick and choose what you spend your time and money on.

So I wasn’t surprised to hear this question during a recent webinar: “Do small businesses really need a website? Is it worth it to spend money on them when you can use social media for free?”

Social media is a critical part of any business’s marketing mix, but your marketing strategy shouldn’t rely only on social media tools. Here are 3 reasons why you also need to create a business website to market effectively.

1. Not everyone uses social media to find information about businesses

A Pew Internet and American Life study showed that among Internet users who sought information about local businesses, 36% used a search engine to find it, 16% looked to websites, and 3% turn to social media.

When consumers turn to a search engine for information, they’re looking for an official source—the business’ website—to find things like the address, contact information, hours, and products and services offered. These are pretty standard pieces of information for a website, but not all businesses fill these out on their social media profiles.

2. You have control over your website

Facebook is constantly changing its platform and restrictions on businesses’ content. Its EdgeRank algorithm controls what your fans see in their News Feed based on how they engage with your content, what kind of content you’re sharing, and how recently you shared it. The News Feed redesign and Timeline redesign will change how content and information is displayed. Facebook’s policies on cover photos and ads only allow 20% of those images to contain text.

If you have a website for your business, you decide what it looks like, what information is available, and how the content is displayed to all of your customers. Everyone has the opportunity to have the same experience while browsing your website.

3. Social media isn’t free

There is no fee to create an account for your business on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other sites. But, businesses are discovering that to reach the most people, it helps to buy ads on these 3 platforms. A recent Constant Contact study found that 37% of small businesses found social media ads to be effective.

You also need someone to run the social media marketing for your business, whether that’s you or a staff member. The marketing manpower is also costing you money as well as time.

Get on the web

If you haven’t created a website for your business, Constant Contact has a new website builder tool that lets you build a business website in just a few mintues! Try it out and take your business online today.