The marketing world is changing. Customers are no longer reliant upon sales people to contact them and let them know all about a fabulous new product or service. Instead, customers take control of their own buying experience. On average, an estimated 60 percent of the buying process is complete before a customer even speaks with a company’s sales representatives.
With the advent of the digital age, consumers increasingly turn to the Internet to learn more about the products and services that interest them. This means that businesses of all sizes must adapt their marketing strategies to meet the needs of these new technologically savvy customers. One of the best means of accomplishing this is by starting a company blog. For those who have never had a blog before, the prospect might sound intimidating, but it does not have to be. Having the opportunity to interact with potential customers on a personal level and share your thoughts and experiences, and might even be fun! Here is what all small business owners should know about building a company blog.
What is inbound marketing and how does it relate to blogging?
Inbound marketing is the term used to describe a new, customer centric form of marketing that focuses on bringing potential customers to your site and converting them into leads rather than going out and blasting your message in front of people who most likely do not want to hear it. By optimizing your site to attract potential leads, you will naturally gain the attention of people who are already interested in your business. You will build a relationship with them, educate them about the value of your business, and answer their questions. When they are ready to buy, they will turn to the company they trust.
Blogging is an excellent resource for capitalizing on the inbound methodology. Blogging provides you with a natural outlet to answer customer questions and to offer value to your website visitors, which will help you optimize the site for your customer experience. It will be the first interaction many potential customers will have with your brand.
It can also help customers find your business to begin with. Search engines work by crawling the countless websites available and using various factors such as keywords, the layout, and how often the site is update to try to determine how helpful the site is for page visitors. It uses this information to determine page rank. When companies blog, they organically incorporate industry keywords while also regularly updating their websites and increasing the number of pages they have to be indexed. When your content is especially valuable and customers turn to you for insight and education, they will also be more likely to share what you have written with their own social networks. You might even get others who like your page to link to it from their own sites. All of these factors help the webpage gain more traction with search engines, and therefore more likely to be found by searchers.
What blogging can do for your business
According to Hubspot’s State of Inbound Marketing, 79 percent of marketers with a company blog reported inbound ROI during 2013. Forty three percent of companies have also reported finding a new client directly through their blog. Incorporating a blog will help you establish yourself as an industry authority that customers can turn to when they have questions. This is the relationship that builds trust and positions the company favorably so that when the lead is ready to convert into a customer, they readily turn to the organization that they have a relationship with. Blogging will help you reach new audiences and be better able to offer value to customers at every stage of the buying journey.
How to get started
Begin planning the blog by creating a schedule for yourself. It does not have to be overwhelming, but it should be consistent. Aim for updating at least one to two times per week, always on or around the same days. If you can update more, that would be even better. The more frequently the blog is updated, the more return people tend to see.
Once you have created your schedule, you need to start thinking of blog topics. Think about common questions and concerns that you hear from customers. Industry news and your reflections or insight on the latest development can also be excellent sources of subjects for blog posts. Work to keep your blog titles compelling by adding keywords and actionable words to encourage people to click. As your blog develops, you will naturally find additional sources for blog topics, such as posts that were exceptionally popular with visitors and you can rework for another post or even remarks left in the comment section.
Blogs are wonderful resources for businesses of all sizes who are looking to grow their reach and consumer base. Even small businesses will find that this simple inbound marketing step can produce return. Take the time to establish a blogging routine and see how quickly this fountain of information can start turning page visitors into loyal customers.