Why is online marketing so important?
Consumers have all but turned to the web. Shopping online has so many advantages. Things like free returns, trial periods, and show-rooming have encouraged consumers to move away from traditional consumer behavior.
Why should you have a website?
Websites provide many shortcuts and opportunities that can enhance your business for a low price. It's a tool that opens up a lot of growth and development.
Websites are cheap. After designing a website the monthly cost is usually under $100. Even if it is a full fledged e-commerce store, it is still that cheap.
A website gives your business credibility. If a customer sees a professional looking site their first impression will always be that your business is the real deal (even though it may not be).
Websites also allow you to keep your current customers in the loop. Using subscription email technology a business can remind customers about events, send them coupons, promote a product, etc... and all for free, no marketing dollars required.
Websites have built in analytics that tell you how a customer found you, where they came from, what they looked at, and how much time they spent on your site. It's free market research from everyone that visits.
You can give your customers an experience YOU choose. You don't ever have to let a customer have a bad experience on your website. Brick and mortar settings, a customer will come in and can't find what they are looking for or don't know what they are looking for. They get frustrated and leave. Websites allow you to provide information and promotions in a specific order which in turn leave your customer happy and informed.
Why should you be on social media?
Social Media is a gateway platform. Customers best react to a business when the business first gives them value.
Finding customers online isn't a cake walk. They won't show up at your website out of the blue. Businesses go where consumers hang out online. Social Media is the place where consumers are.
Adding value to consumers will increase their image of you. When you add real value that isn't fake or forced (a blog, video, picture, or product detail) , customers like and share those posts. In turn they will begin to give you positive feedback that comes in the form of likes, shares, comments, re-tweets, or website visits.
After a customer reacts positively to a social media page you can then refer them to your store, website, or contact info. This is called a call to action button. For many the goal of social media is to get customers to leave the social media page to go somewhere else to either learn more or buy a product.
Using social media advertising, businesses can reach people who would never search for the business online. It is customizable to reach people who are part of your specific customer demographic. Narrowing the reach of your ad will make sure that every dollar you spend goes to someone who has interest in your industry. For example, a car dealership can create an ad that targets people who have been searching for recommendations on vehicles.
The point of social media platforms are so people can interact. You have a golden opportunity to connect with consumers and talk. Wendy's for example has an exciting twitter feed that is based on talking to it's customers and competitors. Although they are bold and sometimes rude it attracts a lot of attention to them. (Disclaimer: Probably not a good idea to be rude to customers)
Teaming up with other businesses is a smart thing to do. Sharing each others posts and reacting to conversations builds trust between you and helps both gain publicity. Again, a prime example of this is Wendys and Jimmy Johns.
Should you have both?
Ideally, yes, you should have both. If you are planning to have an online presence where you find new customers and make sales you should. Social Media provides a means for which you can find and influence people. Then you can direct people to your website, where you can make a sales pitch and encourage people to buy your product or service. Even if that means they need to come into your physical location. To add the cherry on-top you can get a google business page, yelp page, trip advisor page, etc... Then you will have a complete arsenal of online tools to work with and begin growing your business.