When was there a time when it wasn’t a good idea for a company to talk one-on-one with its customers? When was there are a time when you could sell any product to any person in the world at all hours of the day? The answers to those two questions are there wasn’t and today. Plain and simply, there is no better vehicle for reaching the consumers of the 21st century or for fulfilling their needs than blogging.
A business blog can be whatever you want it to be, but you should think it out clearly before you begin. Like any other product, once you get started it’s expensive, time-consuming and worst of all damaging to the brand when you have to go back and change course. With that in mind, here are 10 reasons why your small business should be blogging yesterday.
1. Hopefully you or someone in your company knows what you do better than anyone else. That information is a goldmine and very effective at drawing new customers through your virtual door. Your company’s blogger also has the opportunity to become revered for the advice he can offer the people that need to know it most – your customers. If you carve your niche carefully, he may even become a “guru”, the highest title bestowed upon a blogger.
2. Use your blog to communicate with all the people your company comes in contact with. A blog is a proactive marketing tool that allows you to stir the emotions of your target audience, as well as those of your employees, shareholders and the media. In my opinion, blogs will be more regarded than newspapers ever were because they are the passion of a single individual relishing in their trade. The people that pay attention to that really care and the best customers are the ones that care about your product and company.
3. Once your company blog is up, you immediately expanded your reach exponentially. A website can be viewed from anywhere in the world, but it’s static and doesn’t speak to people. It doesn’t give more reward than it takes like a good company blog does. Evangelize for your products or services, offer quality content to back up your claims and people will pay attention.
4. Small company blogs allow small teams and individual employees to talk about another side of the company the public is not usually privy to. When people see that your employees care, it gives them yet another reason to care about you, as well. The more dynamic your company is in its marketing interaction appear in the minds of the marketplace, the more likely you are to create evangelists of your clients.
5. By allowing your employees to speak out about the company in their own words, they not only gain more value from their jobs, they also feel more responsible for the end product that goes out. This in turn creates better, more passionate employees. As they say, you are only as strong as your weakest link. Letting your employees blog about their ideas also has the added bonus of shared employee knowledge, a vault of information they can use at any time to learn how to do their jobs better.
6. When I first started Prevail, I used a blog to perform the lion’s share of our market research. By listening to our prospects, we gained the valuable feedback that taught us the services they wanted most. Over time, that dialogue led to the creation of our “Double Your Sales” package because we learned quickly HOW our clients used our services and HOW resources restricted their use of those services. By putting our services in their hands, we are essentially giving them exactly what they wanted. As the Platinum Rule states, don’t treat everyone as you’d like to be treated, treat them how they want to be treated.
7. There is no better customer relationship management tool than your company blog. To the public, it’s as if each and every transaction is documented and out in the open, building faith and trust as long as you take responsibility for all the actions of your company. Publicly admitting wrong and then fixing it is one of the most admirable things any business owner can do. You will never gain that type of trust hiding in the comfort of your office, just beyond reach of public scrutiny.
8. Your blog will have the ability to drive targeted traffic to your website. Link the two together, or even better make your blog a major feature of your company website. This way, they’ll create a powerful conversion cycle. The blog will attract cold prospects from your website, convert them into believers and send them back to the website presold on making a purchase. Chances are many of these new customers will stick around the blog, increasing readership numbers, enabling powerful email tactics and helping build search engine credibility for the main site. And round it goes.
9. Blogs encourage link trading and fresh optimized content, the two key factors in climbing up the Search Engine Result Pages. The main way for a website to bring traffic is through advertising, but with a blog, traffic is induced through the offering of free content that your target audience needs or finds useful. On blogs, reciprocity comes in the form of attention and trust, perhaps the two key factors in building long-term business relationships.
10. Another business benefit of blogging is that once you establish yourself as a valuable source of information, a “guru”, you will attract brilliant, young talent, “disciples” if you will. In time, that builds reputation for your company, increasing brand power, which in my opinion is the endgame. Open source your market advantages and they will leverage themselves, as quality of employee compounds on reputation, increasing traffic and converting new prospects with the advantage of having an army of referrers spreading your gospel.
Blogging is the best tool any small business could use to build a community around their products. As we are infiltrated with information, we seek trustworthy ways of filtering it. Create the community, allow it to evolve, participate in the discussion and enjoy the wave of priceless dialogue that passes each day across the pages of your company blog.