Increasingly small businesses are realizing they can benefit from a blog or enhanced web presence but they don’t necessarily know why or how to go about it. Recently I was asked point blank, “I think we need a blog but why?”
That question, as odd as it may first sound, is common. I’ve found often small business owners feel they need to be doing more with their online presence but can’t figure out what to do.
One thing to consider is a blog for your business.
Drives Quality Traffic To Your Site
In short, this drives your search engine optimization (SEO). The main pages on your site don’t change frequently and your site doesn’t have many pages for search engines to index. The chances of your pages showing up in a search can be slim.
When a prospect is looking for information about your product/service they search online. When your site has shiny new content, which is considered relevant to that particular search query, your site’s content can be ranked higher. When you attempt to use key words and phrases you have a chance of being displayed when people search for those key words. Regular content allows you to target more keywords and phrases; driving more quality traffic to your site.
People share articles they like on social networks. When people start sharing your content they are sharing your messaging and brand.
Convert traffic into qualified leads
You need to have a plan to do something with your traffic. Usually you want them to initiate contact or give you their contact information so you can nurture the lead until they’re ready to buy. A call to action to contact you or sign up for a newsletter are common. You can develop an ebook or an informational PDF in exchange for their email or other contact info. Possibly a free trial or sample of your product or service. You can simply encourage them to follow you on a social network or share the article with their friends.
Establish your brand & messaging
Essentially this is your PR. Don’t be afraid to blog about new products, services, promotions, events (maybe you’re attending a trade show), or any other announcement. Be afraid to ONLY blog about you.
You can go farther with regular content. You can communicate your message – your story. Your visitors can learn about your product/service and your company when you give them useful information. Tell them how their problem can be solved.
Familiarity equals trust
When prospects are first introduced to your business they don’t know you. They also have their guard up. They maybe on your site looking to be sold what you have to offer but they don’t trust you – they don’t know you.
Your blog can communicate your product/service and how their problem is solved by your company. But it can say so much more. Your blog can project competence and innovation in your field, strong and ethical practices, and honesty and transparency – they can get to know you a little bit. This goes a long way. Plus if you gave them useful info; you gave them something for free – a great trust builder.
Network with colleagues & business owners
Your networking activities should include more than just potential clients. Colleagues and other professionals can lead you to sales but more importantly they can be a great source of information and experience. I’ve had many unforeseen opportunities come my way from other business owners and contacts.
A blog is a great way to provide them with your knowledge. It also gives them something to share or talk about with their network of people. If you are looking for a career change in the future these connections can be vital. Increasingly companies are looking at your online footprint when considering candidates. A good knowledge based blog and visible connections can be an asset.
Blog articles are the gift that keeps on giving. Your posts are always there continuing to drive traffic to your site long after they are posted. When we ran a portrait photography business the keywords in our blog posts continued to receive traffic years after they were posted.
If your businesses blog is effective it’ll grab organic traffic. This is the previously discussed SEO. We’re talking more than SEO as we include the traffic from social media sharing. You can pay for online advertising. In fact your marketing plan should include at least some small budget for online advertising. But blogging about your business is a cost effective way to drive organic traffic to your site. Even if your paying for help in some capacity it’s still a low cost way to promote your business.
Key foundation to your online efforts
Your website is the anchor to your online presence. Your business blog should be a driver for your communication and branding efforts. It gives you, and others, something to share and promote on social networks.