In this age of social media platforms and ecommerce platforms and “the power of the cloud” do you still really need to waste time and resources on a stand-alone website?
There are many reasons, but let’s just focus on one today, the big one: you own it and the relationships it generates.
Why that’s important can be summed up in three words: Compuserve, AOL, MySpace. You can add dozens of other social networks / platforms to that list, but the idea is the same. Put all your eggs in someone else’s basket, and you’re going to be in trouble when they drop that basket. (And don’t for a second think that Facebook is immune. In the online world, there’s no such thing as too big to fail.)
Even ecommerce platforms have their downsides. They have the added attraction of saving online merchants thousands of dollars vs. setting up and maintaining their own ecommerce sites, but their interests don’t always align with yours.
A recent Mashable article discusses how vendors trying to move away from their Amazon storefronts are having difficulty doing so. Amazon’s superior search rankings almost certainly top yours. And if they keep your products listed on their site with “out of stock” notices and links to other Amazon merchants, who do you think will get the sale? Hint: not you.
That’s not to say that hosted ecommerce solutions and social media platforms don’t have their place. Social media, in particular, absolutely must be a part of any reasonable digital marketing strategy. You simply have to be careful in how big a piece of your digital marketing (or ecommerce) strategy you let any piece be if you don’t own that piece.
In other words, use all of these tools to achieve your goals, take interim steps to mitigate risk, but be sure that when you develop relationships with customers and prospects, you own those relationships.