Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Blog for your business

With the increase of social media and networking, business need to interact and engage with their customers in many ways as possible, and truly push their brand and business out there. We all know people do business with people they like.

I was currently doing my hallway in my house, and got a few quotes from some painters and decorators, I had three quotes that were the same price. The reason I choose the one I gave the project to, was not because of his portfolio or the way they looked, it was because of his personality, approach, and level of trust I felt, at the end I was going to let him into my house, so I had to make sure I could trust the person.

One of the many ways business can reach out and connect with their audience is though a business blog. A blog is not just an extension to your website, where you put out news and events, along with a few articles. It's your online portfolio, it your online CV, a showcase, and a platform where you as a business can raise your opinions, thoughts, and start a conversation, which can be shared on networking sites.

When I speak to our clients about projects, we normally do touch the topic of having a business blog. Yes you have a fantastic website, which is working and converting visitors into sales and leads, but now you want to reach out further. You want to build your brand, and show others that you're a leader in your industry. Show others that you're business know its stuff and you’re passionate about what you do, and have a wealth of knowledge in the industry that you are in. To do all this your business needs a blog.

We have covered numerous topics on blogging platforms on our blog, I'm going to shed some light on how a business blog can benefit your business, and your brand online.

1. Speak to your customers:


By having a blog you can speak directly to your customers, you have a bunch of customers which have subscribed to your blog. Every time you post a new article, all of your customers get a notification. This can be done by subscribing to your blogs RSS feed or an email update. You now have published your blog on the World Wide Web, and your customers have all be notified. Which is like an invite to your customers, so they will come to your blog and interact with you via the comments and starting a conversation online.

2. Update your customers


Many business after they launch their website, do not update their site at all. By having a blog, it allows you to update your site with fresh new content, and also keep your customers up to date with the latest products, and information about your company.  You don't just have to post information about your company, write about your industry even your competition if you want. Your customers want to know whom they are dealing with, what you're company is up to. By having a blog you have this opportunity to update the world on events, new products, sales and offers within minutes. This can also be managed in house, and no technical skills are required.

3. Show off your business


We all like to know whom we are dealing with, and as I mentioned above, People do business with people. On your blog you can show off what your business has done. If you have won any awards or contracts, show off to the world. Post an article about it.

If you have received any customer feedback, again blog it, you can have categories on your blog for each section, such as

  • - Case studies

  • - Customer Feedbacks

  • - News / Events

  • - Portfolio


Depending on the type of business you are in, you can create the categories accordingly. By having a platform, it will allow you to post regular articles, and show to your visitors, what your customers think of you, your recent work, and also any upcoming events.

4. Show others that you’re an expert.


By just having a business website, your customers can see your services and products, which is just your online shop or brochure of your business. By having a business blog, you’re putting out a statement for your business. You can share regular tips and tricks, along with educating your customers and visitors about your industry.  This will show that you are knowledgeable in your field, which will creative assurance for your customers. As they want to know that they are in good hands...Who doesn’t?

5. FAQ & Support


In your business you will find that at times the same questions are being asked to you via email, or phone. You can publish these questions on your blog, and answer them directly on your site. By doing this your building your FAQ's archive along with your support database. So when you do receive an email from a customer with a question that you have answered already you can divert them by sending a link to that particular blog post.

5. Building your awareness online


The bottom line is, every business wants that extra exposure. By having a professional blog your increasing your awareness. First of all your website will have more pages indexed in search engines, also Google likes blogs for numerous reasons (we will cover this topic in another post). If your every page is optimised well for the relevant keywords, you will increase organic traffic to your website. Which you can than look into converting into sales or leads.

Beside the increase in pages, every time you post out quality good content, which than your visitors share on social media platforms such as (Facebook, Twitter and Google+) your business is being put in front of a new audience. Every person that is sharing your page is showing and making your business aware to their own network, which is gaining your credibility and brand online.

Quick list of what you can ideas you can feature on your business blog:



  • - News about your company and industry, be the first one to break the news

  • - Events that you are holding or attending or generally in your market

  • - Product Information

  • - Case studies

  • - Feedbacks about your business/products/services

  • - Video's, we all love videos

  • - Share your knowledge and expertise

  • - Ask questions by posting a poll

  • - FAQ's

  • - Support

  • - Run competitions and contests

  • - Use your blog for market research

  • - Share your work and portfolio

  • - Show of your business personality

  • - Reviews of other products and services that you have

  • - Clear out the myths within your industry

  • - Guides and instructions - how to do certain things

  • - Problems within your market, share your thoughts and opinions


Above are just a few quick outlines on how you can use your blog for your business. The point to keep in mind, is that your trying to engage with people, you do not have to be very formal, put some humour into your blog, and make it fun for your visitors to enjoy. As if they enjoy what you are putting out they will share with their network, and at the end of the day, its free marketing for your business, your aim is to win people's hearts and show to them why they should do business with you.

Quick Scenario


For example, if my painter and decorator had a website & a blog (which he is now :) ), He's business first of all would be online, open to more people, and gain exposure though local listings and directories.

On his blog, he could have:

Tips and Tricks of the trade: Sharing his knowledge on how to do things properly though his experience from years being in the industry. Such as:

  • How to paint certain rooms

  • Different types of walls

  • Guides on putting up wallpaper

  • Advise on preparation before painting

  • How to chose the right colours for your rooms


Videos: Besides the above few topics, he can have video demonstrations on his blog. Everyone likes to see how things are done. He can have a category on the site with just videos.

Case studies: After each project, he can write an article case study with pictures of before and after, explaining exactly what him and his team did, to get the finish product.

Reviews: A page dedicated to customer comments, customers can use the comments section of the blog and leave feedback and reviews on his site. This is all customers driven, so it will also look genuine.

Socail Networking: Besides putting out all the information on the blog, he can share his posts and images on networking site, tagging and circling his customers. Which will than share the posts and work further within their own network. Before you know it, this one-man band has actually built up a name for him though just being active on a blog.

Now when someone is looking for a decorator, besides finding this sole trader through local search results. They can first of all view all of his work on his site, along with read what other customers have to say about him. Secondly they can see his blog posts and the knowledge that his shared out, giving customers a peace of mind, that if they go with him, they are in good hands, and not hiring a cowboy.

Conclusion


Having a blog for your business, doesn't guarantee sales, but if your constantly active on it and continue to post out articles about your work, industry, news and so forth. You will build your awareness, and I'm sure if your business gets in front of allot more people by you just doing the above, you're bound convert a few into sales and leads for your business.

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