A blog is more than just a stream of consciousness or a rolling update of what your firm is doing. It's an indispensable part of any online marketing operation, and every small business should feature their blog as a prominent part of their online presence.
In fact, stats show that small firms with blogs attract 88 percent more leads than those without one. For small companies just starting out on the web, that's a massive boost for their sales potential. You might not convert all of these leads into sales, but they give you a fighting chance.
Here are some of the other benefits that regular blogging has for online businesses.
Improve Your SEO Performance With A Regular Blog
Blogging adds pages to your index, which beefs up your online presence and makes your site more visible to search engines. Google is key here. Their search engine crawlers privilege sites that are updated regularly and have rich, well-structured indexes. With a blog full of links between pages, you will be well positioned to rise up the search engine rankings.
Boost Your Social Media Profile
Blogging is also a great way to create a profile on social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook. By providing regular, relevant and attractive content for people who choose to subscribe to your feed, you can build word of mouth interest and engage loyal customers. That way, they will be prompted to investigate your own site and discover the products on offer. Blogs are also built to be shared. If you are lucky, the best posts will go viral, spreading your message far and wide.
Provide Plenty of Opportunities for Customers to Engage
Every one of your blog postings is more than just an update or description of your products. It's also a great chance to ask readers to submit their email or address information to your databases. That way, you can turn regular blog postings into a lead generating machine. Those leads can become a solid basis for an effective email marketing campaign - driving more interest in your blog. Positive feedback loops like that are a sure-fire route to success.
Create a Trusted Market Position
Successful small businesses trade on trust as much as product quality or service (though both are also important). Your blog is the perfect tool to create that sense of trust and authority. Write about the areas that you know, review products, discuss developments in the field, offer suggestions about how to use your products and answer customer queries online to show how informed you are. It's a handy way to build a reputation as a market leader.
Use Your Blog To Learn More About Your Customers
Blogging isn't a one-way process. It's also a chance to engage your customers in conversations. Be sure to make full use of the comments section, request feedback from every post and, if you can, reference that feedback in later posts. Try to create a community of people talking about your products and ideas, and use the feedback offered by customers to make your company more effective.
Build a Long-Term Presence With Evergreen Content
Well-written blog content is not a temporary marketing solution. It doesn't work well for a week before falling away and becoming irrelevant. Instead, "evergreen" content continues to pay off for months or even years. If you write informative content that isn't time specific (or has a seasonal component that recurs every year) it will continue to generate leads far into the future.
Create a Friendly Corporate Personality
Blogging is as much about emotion and personality as information. Why not use your firm's blog to create a company persona that reaches out to customers on a human level? You could enlist employees to write their own personalized content while customers could write guest posts or reviews. You could also bring in experts to talk about your product area, or feature entertaining video content to liven things up. It all adds up to a more dynamic, recognizable identity that customers will remember.
Make Customer Service More Responsive
Sometimes, things go wrong. Customers know that, and will allow small businesses leeway when issues arise. However, they hate it when firms ignore their complaints or fail to offer explanations for their mistakes. A blog provides a handy platform for fire-fighting any minor business disasters. You can respond immediately to shipping errors, or explain how to use products if customers are struggling. You can also be proactive and sympathetic, instead of hard to reach and uncaring - a major benefit in terms of customer retention.
If your small business is just starting up, or you need a way to boost an existing operation, blogging is a vital part of the eCommerce toolkit. It might take a little practice to hone your style, and expect a few hiccups along the way, but the benefits are too great to ignore.