Are you more comfortable buying products and services from somebody you know? Or do you prefer to do business with a stranger who you’ve never met before? To be honest, most people are comfortable doing business with people they are sure they can trust, this is especially true if you conduct your business online. Starting a blog for your business is a great way to establish a connection with your clients and customers. People interested in the services and products you have to offer are going to feel much more comfortable doing business with you if they have a sense that a real person exists behind the computer screen and the product! If you’re debating whether or not to start a blog for your business, debate no more.
Adding blogging as part of your social media strategy for your small or medium sized business is an excellent way to establish your brand as well as your company’s image online. Best of all, its an inexpensive way to interact directly with both existing and potential customers on a daily basis.
The truth of the matter is that nowadays the whole world hangs out in virtual space. After work, during work, after school, during the day, people are connected and browsing the Internet one way or another. It’s time that your business also joins the virtual world by getting in on the action. As a business owner, your blog will enable you to give out information about the services and products you sell and this information is accessible to thousands, even millions of people at a time.
Long gone are the days when business owners had limited promotional options. In the past, business owners both large and small had no choice but to spend large amounts of money on print advertisements, audio-visual advertisements, and outdoor advertisements in order to create awareness and sell their products and services. Nowadays (thanks to the Internet), business owners have many options available for reaching their target market, selling products, and creating awareness for their product- all without the need to spend thousands of dollars on near obsolete and inefficient marketing methods.
A blog is a better way to give your business a dedicated focus in cyber space while connecting you to your clients and customers. As a business owner the most important thing is to know and understand your purpose. Don’t just start a blog for the sake of starting a blog. It’s important to start your business blog with a solid purpose and even more essential is outlining what your goals are and what you hope to accomplish by starting a blog. An eye-catching and well designed theme or template don’t hurt either.
Creating a blog is a simple process. You have a choice between a free blog platform or a self-hosted blog. A self hosted blog is better if you’re concerned about branding in the long run. There are many blog service providers out there such as Blogger, LiveJournal, Xanga, and WordPress to name a few. The biggest platforms being Blogger and WordPress. You can openly register yourself on any blog service much like you would if you were setting up a new email account. You’ll need to provide your name, email, register a user name, and you’re ready to start. To make it more appealing to the eye and different from the default template provided, you will need to install a theme or template of your choosing. You can also add other widgets such as guest books, comment boxes, product suggestion widgets etc., which can be done by using plugins.
How a Blog Can Help Your Business:
1.) Provides Information
The very first thing a blog will be able to do for your business is give out information. Starting a blog is an ideal way to provide both existing and potential customers and clients with information about your products and services. Its also a great way to get publicity if you don’t have lots of money to spend on advertising. If managed well, a blog can be authentic source of useful information and a credible silent spokesperson for your company or business.
2.) Carves a Niche
The blogging world is an opinionated world. Bloggers are individuals with various ideas, most of which are influenced by zest and zeal. Thus, its very important that you find a specific market to target with your products or services. This is where blogging beats other traditional forms of advertising such as outdoor signage, buying bus benches, billboards etc. With a blog, you can structure your content strategy in such a way to attract only the people interested in your products (thanks to search engines and keywords). With other traditional methods of advertising, companies find themselves spending lots of money on billboards, without any solid idea if car #1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 etc is going to be interested in purchasing Real Estate, Insurance, Gum etc. while zooming past at 40 km/hr.
Finding a specific market for your product is not impossible, as a matter of fact, it’s very simple. For example, if your company designs fashionable eyeglasses, then getting in touch with fashion bloggers, sponsoring giveaways, and offering coupon codes is a great promotional strategy. If you design websites, then getting a hold of companies in need of website re-design or new website design…and so on and so forth.
3.) Is Cost-Effective
As mentioned above, blogging doesn’t cost a lot of money, and if you’re using free methods it costs no money at all. If you choose to have a self-hosted blog (yourdomainname.com website), hosting cost can range anywhere from $7.99 – $12.99/month depending on the hosting package you select and the hosting company you choose to go with. Having a self-hosted blog helps to make your business look more credible and professional.
4.) Provides One on One Attention
A great advantage to having a business blog is that it lets you get in touch with your clients and customers on a one-to-one basis. As more and more people start to visit your blog, not only will they gain access to information about your offerings, but they can also ask questions and hopefully get immediate responses to their inquiries. To improve customer satisfaction, you can also include a feedback box on your blog in order to allow your customers to further interact with you. Doing this has been proven to improve and retain customer loyalty. If you’re thinking both short term and long term, a blog is always going to be more beneficial in terms of longevity and cost when compared to other advertising methods.
5.) Connects to Social Networking
Networking is an essential part of building a successful and lasting business. Blogging provides a strong network of customers, potential customers, critics, competitors etc. all under one platform. This is why it works well for exposure and can even help you run your business more efficiently, while also helping you to be able to compete better.
Some people believe that blogs have gone down in value over time because of the millions of existing blogs available on the web and more blogs getting created each day. That’s not the case, keep in mind that some blogs out there may be providing content that’s of no use to you or your customers. Your main goal when starting a blog is to provide high quality, interesting, and useful content for your existing and potential customers if you want to make a mark for yourself, your brand, and your business.
Keep in mind that you can become a big fish in a small pond as long as you differentiate yourself from the millions of blogs in virtual space. As a business owner, you would be crazy not to make the most of such an opportunity! Starting a blog is one of the best ways to establish your business online, connect with customers, and get ahead of your competition. So what are you waiting for?
Jedi (J-e-d-d-y) Nyachiro is an Internet based entrepreneur living in Canada. She is also the founder of ThemeTemplateReviews.com, a website dedicated to helping both entrepreneurs and small business owners with finding the right tools to put together successful websites and succeed online. You can follow her @nomadbliss.
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Category: Startup Advice