I first heard of blogging in the late 1990’s when a bunch of my friends were setting up their own blogging websites. It’s more than 15 years later, and blogging has started to hit the main stream. But still, there will be many business owners who wonder if it is worth setting up a blog for their business.
Today we have a look at 5 reasons why a blog is great for business.
1. Build trust with potential customers
People buy from suppliers they trust
A blog is a great place to start building trust with potential customers. There is a multitude of research into the art of selling, but a common thread is that a potential customer is much more likely to buy if they trust you.
It often takes 5 or more connections with a potential customer before they trust you enough to buy your product or service.
A blog is a great way to build this trust with potential customers, and start connecting with them. The blog can:
- Show what your business is about
- Show what you can do
- Show that you know what you’re talking about
A blog can also provide a reason for a potential customer to join your mailing list. If they like your material and find themselves reading a few of your existing blog articles, they are much more likely to join your mailing list. They’re now a sales lead that you can actively engage with on a regular basis, leading them step by step closer to being a customer.
The key to this is to provide really useful information – something that your target audience is going to want to read!
2. Keep in touch with existing customers
It costs a whole lot less to sell to an existing customer than it does to acquire a new one
Through your blog, you can nurture your existing customers and turn them into repeat customers.
Your blog can:
- Keep them informed of new products and other company updates
- Provide a wealth of information to help them use their existing purchase further
- Provide a knowledge base of support material
Existing customers can be emailed directly, using the latest entries from your blog as the content of the email.
Your customers will get used to hearing from you on a regular schedule. When you have a new product to launch, you have a ready market of people who are already listening. Because they are existing customers, they are much more likely to purchase.
3. Build a community of loyal customers
Loyal customers are often the best advocates for your business
Having customers is great – after all, without them, you’re not in business. But even better than having regular customers is having a community of people who are highly engaged with your company and loyal to your brand.
Through your blog, you can interact directly with customers who comment on your articles. You can survey them to find out what they’re interested in, you can hear directly about suggestions for new products or improvements to existing ones. Your customers can also see some of your other customers and can chat with them.
This all helps to build a community and helps foster loyalty to your brand.
People love to be heard. Engaging with them via your blog shows them that you’re not just after their money, but you actually care about them.
4. Free advertising through improved search rankings
Why pay for advertising if you can get it for free?
Companies pay good money to have their advertising shown right alongside the top of Google search results. But there are a lucky few who have their results listed near the top for free.
Do a search for the keywords that relate best to your business. For many of the searches, you will find the top results are articles of useful information, provided in – you guessed it – a blog!
There are a large number of factors (around 200!) that are involved in the Google search engine algorithm. Providing a regular stream of really useful and engaging information in your blog ticks a few of the boxes and helps to boost your search engine ranking in the following ways:
- Up to date website – Google keeps track of how often the website is updated. A regular blog update keeps the website fresh in the eyes of the search engine algorithm.
- Backlinks for the most popular material – When someone links to your website, it is called a “backlink”. If you are particularly lucky enough to get some wide publicity for an article (for example, via a TV show, newspaper article or some viral social media), your article will gather a lot of backlinks. This boosts the search rankings not only for the given article, but also for searches on any keywords that relate to your entire website!
- Pages per session and average session duration – Google tracks how long each person stays on your website, and also how many pages each person clicks through. The longer the session and the more average pages that are viewed, the higher the website rank will be.
Over time, the blog grows into a back catalogue of useful information. By providing great material, and having a strategy of leading readers from one article to the next, you can boost both the pages per session and average session duration.
- Reduced bounce rate – Google also tracks the “bounce rate” – the number of times people land on your site but go no further. Obviously, they were not interested enough to stay. If you have a high bounce rate, it is an indication that your website is not that useful.
As mentioned above, with a back catalogue of useful information, users are much more likely to read more and the bounce rate will reduce.
All of these factors have a big impact on the overall ranking of your website. Having a blog that publishes regularly and contains high quality material will make a big difference to where your website appears in the Google search results.
[Note – I mentioned Google a lot here. There are many other search engines – the problem is that they all struggle for market share. (See some sample web search market share statistics here and here.) If your website ranks well for Google, it is likely that you’ve done the work that helps it to also rank highly in other search engines.]
[PS – I’ll talk more about other search engine optimisation techniques in future articles.]
5. A foundation for social media marketing
Your blog is the corner stone of your social media advertising campaigns
Social media has revolutionised many aspects of day to day life, including advertising. Using demographic information about users on Facebook and other popular social media sites, it is a lot easier to target your market and advertise to them directly. But what do you show them?
You guessed it – your blog provides a constant stream of material that can be shared on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, reddit, StumbleUpon, Pintrest, and the multitude of other social networking sites that are available. The blog articles can be shared for free and can easily reach thousands of people if you have an established network or ask a few people to re-share them for you.
You can also share the information directly in groups that are set up around a particular topic. This article for instance is going straight to groups focussed around small businesses and online marketing campaigns.
From there, each social media site (and your own website analytics) provides great information about which articles are the most popular. You can easily find out how many read it, which social media platform they came from and when they’re engaging with your material. This sort of information provides a whole new avenue for getting to know your customers.
If you’re going to pay for advertising, you can also work out (again, for free!) which article had the most traction and the most interest from your target market. Then your advertising dollars can be spent where you know it is going to work the best.
Again, this all comes down to having something to share with people in the first place. Having a regularly updated blog with high quality material is the single best way to get all of this going.
I hope I’ve convinced you that a regularly updated blog with high quality material is great for business!
Have you tried a blog with your business? How did it go? Let me know in the comments below.
Are you looking to set one up for your business? Let me know if you need any help. I’m happy to give you some initial help for free. These days blogs are really easy to get up and running.
Of course, if you’re looking for someone to write regular blog articles for your company, contact me – I’m ready to help!
PS – If you found this interesting, please share it with your friends by using the share buttons below. Thanks!
About the author
Leon Troeth is a Melbourne-based freelance technology copywriter. Leon loves helping small businesses use online marketing to boost their sales.