Blogging is not a dirty word, yet many businesses still don't believe a company blog will bring value, let alone ROI. While I do understand that a business may think their customers don't buy online or aren't the demographic that is online very often, there are still reasons you should have a business blog. Here are five reasons why a blog can bring value, bring customers, and even show business owners a return on investment.
Competition is just the nature of the beast when it comes to running a business. Your competition could be across the street, across town, or on the other side of the world. Today's online business environment opens you up to new markets, but also new competition. Taking advantage of effective marketing tools puts you one step ahead of the competition. Staying on top of these tools is essential for the bottom line, your employees, and the future of your company. A business blog done right will have you stepping over that competition.
An active business blog that brings value and educates people about the industry you're in gives you authority. It shows people that your company is knowledgeable, current on the latest industry happenings and takes an active role in communicating with people. If a potential customer was researching online about a particular product, and they visited a website with lots of important industry versus one that doesn't, which company do you think they will choose? The one that is an authority, or the one that isn't?
Create ROI with an Inbound Strategy
A business blog needs to have a strategy behind it. You can't just post content just for the sake of posting something. You need a solid strategy where every post has a specific goal.
Inbound marketing uses your company's blog to post content that addresses the pain points of your specific buyer personas or ideal customers. This content uses long-tail keywords, social media, and other SEO practices to appear in the search engines when those potential customers are looking for it. It's all about giving the right content, to the right people, at the right time.
This content then uses calls-to-action, free gifts (ebooks, case studies, etc.), data-collecting forms, and carefully designed email campaigns to move site visitors down your marketing funnel. We want to first grab their attention and bring them to the web site, then convert those visitors to leads, and finally convert those leads to customers. It's a proven strategy that works and gives you qualified leads based on hard analytical data. That site data will show how your campaign's ROI, where things can be improved and what your site visitors respond to.
Turn Customers into Advocates
Turing a website visitor into a customer is a fantastic thing. May fireworks light the sky and trumpets sound. Your job isn't finished though. You need to keep them as a customer and turn them into a powerful brand advocate. Getting customers is hard work, losing them because you don't follow up and stay top-of-mind is all too easy.
Use your business blog and social media channels to turn those customers into brand advocates. Inform them of new products and services, share your company culture and conduct staff interviews, address customer questions and show them you truly care in a public way. Do this, and your customers will be the ones lighting the fireworks and playing trumpets!
Give Your Company a Voice
People like with connect to things. This is easy to see when popular bands and sports teams sell out 50,000 seat stadiums on a nightly basis. Your company also has this power. Just look at companies like Amazon, Google, Facebook, and JetBlue. They do a phenomenal job of forming connections with customers by using personality, content and user interface. These are big companies, but there are countless small businesses doing the same thing. They are creating loyal customers that love their brands.
The voice you use in your content should be one that relates best to your buyer personas. It could be lively with dashes of humor, or it might be luxurious and proper. It should be a writing style that sets you apart and gives your company a personable voice that people can connect with.
Become Google's Friend
You can't get people to your business website if they can't find you. An "About Us" or "Services" page just isn't going to rank very high if the person searching doesn't know who you are and types in your company name. You need content that addresses the questions they are physically typing into search engines.
Google, the king of search, loves fresh value-driven content. Use your business blog to consistently feed Google this content, and you'll begin to see increases in your organic search traffic. This organic search traffic is new people that have probably never heard of your company before and are now dipping their toes into the top of your marketing funnel. The more people in the top of the funnel, the more people whom will convert at the lower levels. This is another way to strengthen your website's ROI.
The days of having a simple brochure-style website site are over. Your business needs to provide fresh, valuable content that addresses the pain points of your buyer personas. The tool to accomplish this is your business blog. A blog will position your company as an industry authority, show you a positive ROI, help keep customers and turn them into brand advocates, It will also give your company a voice that people can relate to, and lets the almighty Google and other search engines know that you have more than just an "About Us" page. A business blog can do many things that will have your company leaping over the competition and improving the bottom line.