For most people running a business is a time consuming occupation, there are so many things to think about very single day. However one of the most important aspects has to be the marketing side, if customers don’t know you exist then how can they buy from you?
Traditional approaches to marketing cost money, and yet they are also becoming less and less effective.
Many people don’t want to be bombarded by advertising all the time they are looking for something different.
So in this article I want to look at another option, namely blogging. This is a method to attract customers and market your products in a slightly different way.
What is a Blog?
I could give pages of descriptions of what a blog is but that really isn’t all that important. Instead a simple definition of a blog can be found on Google as the screenshot below shows.
Many people tend to be confused about the difference between a blog and a website. In fact a blog is a website, just one that has the mechanism to update content easily though a blogging platform.
Many blogs use WordPress as their blogging platform, because it is a robust platform and there are lots of plugins and extras that have been specifically designed to be used with it.
It is also easy to use and most web hosting companies are familiar with how it operates, so as a business you don’t have to worry about any major technical problems.
So where did this blogging business all start from?
History of Blogging
Blogging originally started in 1994, when a student created the first ever on-line blog. Where the term ‘web-log’ came from is still debated, some sources claim it wasn’t actually coined until 1997 when Jorn Barger started an on-line diary. Another blogger states that the term was introduced in a conference paper in 1995 in Australia.
Whatever the source, by 2004 the term ‘Blog’ was declared word of the year by Merriam-Webster. However 13 years later many businesses are still struggling to develop even static websites, and many have not yet fully embraced all the benefits that a blog site can offer.
Business websites are an important part of most marketing strategies and many businesses now have an online presence somewhere.
Although apparently it seems not all businesses do have a website even in this age of digital marketing. For example in Ireland at the moment progress is much slower, as a report released at the end of November 2015 shows. This report claims that nearly 25% of SMEs do not have any form of website at all, which for a country that has quite a weak domestic economy this is surprising.
The first place to begin with a business blog, is with the company or business website.
A few starting questions to ask are.
- Does your business have a website?
- Is the content updated regularly?
- Do visitors order products through the website?
The next set of questions are for the blog design.
- What products are you looking to promote over the next three to six months?
- What promotions will you run and when will these be happen?
- How do you currently let customers know about your upcoming sales and offers?
The next stage is to develop a content marketing strategy that focuses on producing relevant content, and which connects to the upcoming promotions of the business.
Marketing Through Content Rather Than Adverts
One of the changes that is currently happening in marketing, is the shift in focus from just selling products to providing information to the clients. The aim of this information is to better inform them before they make a purchase.
One of the disadvantages of using adverts, is that they tend to assume that the audience is passive and just needs to be bombarded with a message. The assumption is that this will be sufficient to convince them to go out and buy your product.
Many people though want more information about a product, before they make a decision and a commitment to part with their money. They also want to trust the company and the product that they are buying, and trust is developed through a relationship.
What Do You Write About in a Business Blog?
Business blogs aim to build trust with potential and existing customers. They tend to cover issues that are relevant to the industry and the products that are associated with the company, but they can also go slightly wider than this. They may include topics such as.
- History of the business
- Values of the company
- Production processes, quality of materials
- Competitor’s products
- Environmental impact
- Use of sub contractors – promotion of local industries
- Sustainability factors
Does it Take Up a Lot of Time?
The short answer to this is yes, blogging does take time and effort. It also takes time for pages and content to rank in search engines and so the return on investment is often delayed by six to 12 months depending on your blog size and quality of content.
The positive side is that it costs less than outbound marketing strategies such as adverts and billboard advertising. The savings here could be used to pay someone to write content, since pages on a blog will always be visible to search engines and will continue to attract visitors to the webpage for a lot longer than a once off advertising campaign.
However very few businesses employ a full time blogger and there is a lot of competition to achieve high ranking pages, therefore blogging like any other marketing strategy will require investment at some point.
Evidence That Blogging Works For Business
According to Neil Patel’s article on business blogging over 60% of people have made a purchase based upon information they read in a blog.
These figures are from 2013, but they reflect a trend that content marketeers are finding.
People want to be informed about decisions that they make. Many customers will read multiple reviews and explore various websites before deciding on a purchase.
It is the function of a blog to attract customers and give them all the information they need,so that they don’t go and visit lots of other sites and purchase from another company.
The Benefit of Blogging in Business
There are a number of other advantages of using a blog in your business, most of which revolve around your clients and maintaining a relationship with them. Here are some of the main reasons to include a blog on your company website.
- It provides regular content for your audience which keeps them returning to your website.
- It provides opportunities to get readers to sign up to newsletters, which gives you an email list that you can send offers to directly.
- It helps your website to rank better in Google searches, so more people find your business easier and quicker.
- It enables you to connect with other people and businesses in your market through comments and links to other websites.
- It enables you to get to understand the needs of your clients and audience by listening to comments and questions asked in the blog.
In other words there are a numerous advantages to setting up a blog, which can help advertise your products on a continual basis. In marketing it is often easier to sell to someone who has already bought from you, than it is to keep seeking out new customers.
Blogging is a way to keep customers interested and thinking of your product or service. So that when they next need to purchase something they know instantly where to come to.
If you are interested in reading more about business blogs there are a few more articles on this site that may be of interest.
- Why Should I Use Content Marketing Strategies?
- What is Digital Marketing?
- Why Blogging is the Best Way to Attract More Links to Your Website
And if you don’t have a website but would be interested in setting up a blog you can read more about how to do this in this article SiteRubix Free Website Builder and Hosting Platform.
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