Does Your Business Need a Blog?
You’ve always been able to communicate with your customers, both as individuals and as groups. You’ve made phone calls and met people at events and in their offices. You’ve taken out ads, mailed flyers, and maybe even produced a newsletter or sent direct mail.
You may have scaled back on these activities given the affordability of web-based sales and marketing, and its potential reach. But where do you need to be seen, and in what form? Do you need a blog?
Blogs are unique social networking tools. You’re not limited to social media snippets. You don’t have to deal with the complexities of website design and content. It’s the only online real estate where you have absolute control. Applications like WordPress make it easy to create, edit, and post your text and graphics.
But blogs take time, and you’re already putting in extra hours on your social content. There are numerous reasons, though, why a blog should move up higher on your priority list. Blogs let you:
Help your customers and prospects. People want answers to questions and solutions to problems. You can use your blog to both respond to their concerns and anticipate them by sharing your expertise in your specific field. If you sell real estate, you could write posts with titles like:
- Attempting a Direct Sale? 5 Things to Avoid
- 7 Questions Your Real Estate Agent Must Be Able to Answer
- How to Evaluate a Home’s HVAC Systems
- Negotiating the Sale Price of a Home: 3 Tips
It might seem like you’re talking your way out of a potential client by offering this information. But that’s the point. You’re sharing your knowledge for free, and illustrating that you’re truly trying to help people — with no expectations. You’re creating goodwill. You’re the Macy’s Santa sending shoppers to Gimbels.
Drive prospects to specific pages on your website. Your blog should never point people to your website home page. You want them to frequent pages that relate to the specific blog content that sent them there, and, where appropriate, to a page where they can buy something from you.
Get feedback from prospects and customers. The word “community” is overused by social networking gurus in terms of business. When people want to be part of a community, they go to their personal Facebook pages. If you can create a welcoming atmosphere that encourages people to ask questions and make comments, though, that’s good for everyone.
Your blog is the best place to promote a serious, focused discussion on universal problems. Your products or services are one solution – and yes, you should highlight them, sparingly – but your blog is the old guy in the hardware store who can rattle off the features and benefits and drawbacks of a particular garden sprinkler, and who can give you tips on using it. You trust him because he’s not trying to make a sale. And earning the trust of your customers goes a long way toward eventually closing sales.