Believe me, I know what you're thinking. You've been told that one of the best ways to market your small business is to blog. You've heard all the experts (and cyber geeks) telling you it's easy to blog and that business blogging puts you in touch with customers and online visitors. But frankly, you're not even sure what a blogging is and how it can possibly grow your business. Let me address some of your questions (FAQ's in geek-speak), and then ease you into thinking about a whole new way to produce positive business results.
What is a blog? The word is coined from web log, and it is an online interactive journal. People use it as a self-expression outlet, highlighting their interests or hobbies. For the small business owner, consider it your online voice with potential customers, your ability to have a conversation about your business with the world.
How can a blog generate more business? Online search engines such as Google or Yahoo look for keywords, and articles you write on your blog will be filled with words and phrases about your business. It's called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Someone who Googles "winding widgets" will likely be directed to a post on your blog talking about just that. If the content on the blog interests them, they are only one click away from your website and possibly being your next valuable customer.
So how do I set the thing up? Never fear! You probably already have someone who manages your website. Tell them what you are considering, and the rest is gravy. If your website hasn't been updated since your third cousin's kid built it in HTML class, then there are affordable options you can consider. The right article writing service will know all about SEO's, RSS's, ROI's, Twits, Tweets and Shares. You don't have to concern yourself with that. What you will need to do, though, is to start thinking about what facts, articles and information you would like your blog visitors to read and comment on.
Who has the time to do all that writing? So the very thought of setting up and monitoring a small business blog conjures up your college days with term papers, theses and word crunches. Hours spent pouring over data and details, commas and dangling participles. As a small business owner, you probably wear many hats in the company. Keeping up with a daily business blog just might be more than you want to take on. There may be someone in your company who has writing talents and would be a logical candidate to take on this task. They already know the business, so just give them ideas for posts and let them run with them. If that's not an option, hire a blog writer to fill in the gaps and get you the exposure you're seeking.
So have I calmed your fears and helped you to see the marketing potential of starting your own small business blog? Great! Now let me point out some of the benefits you will reap.
Research by Hubspot, a leader in inbound marketing, shows that companies that blog generate 55% more web visitors than those that don't. Keep those visitors coming back by providing information, help and interaction in your blog posts.
Hubspot also shows that businesses that blog generate 65% more leads than those businesses that choose not to blog.
Blogging opens the lines of communication with your customers/visitors, so not only can you inform more people, but you will also receive valuable feedback that can grow your business even further.
Blogging is a great marketing tool that is relatively cheap to set up and maintain. When you consider the costs of outbound marketing (mailings, telemarketing, purchased lists), it is easy to see how much further your advertising dollars will stretch.
So clear your virtual throat and start blogging! Let me know in the comments below how starting a small business blog can work for you.