You’ve surely noticed nearly every business out there has a blog. Whether it’s managed correctly or not, it’s likely there. That’s because we live in the age of information. There are so many different channels for communication that businesses (marketing departments) are jumping at these opportunities to connect with both potential and existing customers. But with so much noise out there, it can feel like trying to engage with people online is a hopeless task.
Well, it’s not. It is certainly challenging, but if you put the time in, it’s well worth the effort. Blogging offers so many benefits to a small business that it should be at the top of the priority list for anyone hoping to grow their businesses. From building a brand to finding new customers, a business blog could be a difference-maker in your business strategy.
Here’s why every entrepreneur needs a blog:
It Helps Build a Brand
Your brand is who you are as a company. It’s about so much more than the products you sell or the services you offer, although these are obviously important. A strong brand is your way of telling people what you are about, such as your company culture, values and business philosophy. In a world with such high competition, having a strong brand is an excellent way to distinguish yourself and attract loyal customers. You want people to not only buy your products but also what they stand for, whether that be quality, social consciousness, employee appreciation, etc.
A blog is your outlet for doing this. You can produce content on virtually anything, so if you figure out what resonates with your customer base, you can start sharing with them who you are. Another important advantage blogging offers in terms of brand building is that it offers you the opportunity to become an authority.
With so much information flowing online, people are skeptical. They are constantly looking for people and companies they can trust. By creating quality content that is accurate and well-researched, you can become a trusted voice in your field, which will make people that much more likely to buy the goods or services you are offering. For example, if you make and sell diet supplements or natural cold remedies, try to build your presence as a health and nutrition expert. People are much more likely to buy these products from someone they view as an expert in the field based on the way they communicate (their blog) rather than simply the products they sell.
Despite all the different forms of marketing today, word-of-mouth remains the most effective. People still trust what they hear from friends and family members more than what they hear via advertising. Social media presents an interesting opportunity to take advantage of this time-tested marketing tactic.
Every time you create blog content and share it, it is an opportunity to make new connections. But not necessarily between you and new customers (although this is possible). Instead, by creating killer content people want to share, you can reach new people through others, further boosting your status as an authority. While you cannot and should not expect each post to go viral, dedicating some time to creating good, shareable content can be a big boost to your brand, as well as your ability to reach customers.
Gain Trust with People
Lots of people head online to buy things, but they don’t necessarily like to feel as though they are always being sold something. Having a blog is a good way to show new and existing customers you care about more than just the money they spend with you. Similar to the idea of building a brand, a blog is a chance for you to get people to believe in you. Once they trust you, they will have no problem buying from you or recommending you to a friend. Make sure to create content that has more to do with the idea of your brand than the products you are selling. Remember, information is key.
One of the most desirable things for any business—small, medium or large—is customer loyalty. It’s one thing to be able to recruit new customers, but convincing them to come back over and over again is vital to the success of your business. To do this, though, you need to give them a reason to come back. You need to engage with your customers so that they feel like you value them more than they value you. Everyone knows the saying, “it’s all about the customer.” Your blog is your chance to show to people this is true.
One way to help build relationships is to encourage discussions. Blog platforms allow for readers to leave comments at the end of each post. Consider asking a few thoughtful questions at the end of each blog so that readers are encouraged to chime in. Then, be sure to respond to them to let them know you are listening and interested. If you don’t want to do this, make sure customers know how to get in touch with you, and be sure to respond to them when you do. In business, relationships are key, and a blog is a fantastic way to build them.
Drive New Customers
Blogs are a great way to help you do what most small businesses are most concerned about: get new customers. Having a blog opens the door for search engines to find you (they love fresh content), and this presents an opportunity for you to recruit new customers without having to do tons of work (relatively). Optimizing your blog for search engines is not easy, but it is doable if you spend some time to get it right. Once you do, it is well within the realm of possibility to see hundreds if not thousands of new customers flocking to your blog and company website each day simply because they searched for something on Google. Think of the possibilities this creates!
Again, don’t get too excited. The competition for Google rankings is fierce, and there are people out there who dedicate their entire life to it, but some basic keyword research and quality content could get you some serious exposure that will help your business grow.
It’s Relatively Inexpensive
One of the last major benefits to having a blog is that it can be significantly cheaper than other forms of outreach. You likely already own a domain name for your website, so all you need to do is add a blog page. And since you are producing content for your own site, there is no need to buy advertising space or spend time doing extensive research as to the best channels of communication.
These tactics may still be valuable to you, but if you’re still small and growing, it might be good to look to reach customers for less. Yet remember that cheaper doesn’t mean free. It’s vital you have top-notch content on your blog, otherwise all of what has been discussed here is practically irrelevant. If you don’t have someone in-house who can do that, you’ll need to outsource, and good bloggers will charge decent prices for content (you can expect around three to ten cents per word). And you may need to find someone who can do some basic web development. Still, retaining these individuals to produce and post content a few times a week may be more cost effective than purchasing an expensive ad campaign.
It should be clear a blog is a virtual necessity for all small businesses. They offer unprecedented engagement with your audience, as well as countless opportunities to find new customers. They take some time and effort to build, but once you do, a blog can help propel your business to the next level.
Does your small business have a blog? How have you found it to help your business? If you don’t have one, what is holding you back? Let us know by leaving a comment below.