A blog can increase your sales and profit. In his new Wordtracker Masterclass book, Blogging for Business, Chris Garrett gives a detailed guide on how to run a successful blog. Here, Chris lists 13 reasons why your business needs a blog.
1. Attract an audience
Every business needs traffic, whether this is foot traffic in a high street store or 'eyeballs' to an online store. A good blog not only generates traffic, but also helps retain that traffic, keeping people coming back and growing in loyalty.
2. Inform, interact and learn from your audience
Informed and educated visitors become confident, loyal customers. More people are turning to the internet to research before they buy. You can position your company as a go-to resource, thereby winning more business. Plus, with blogging, information flows both ways. You can gain insights into your customers' minds, their needs, challenges and preferences. Comments, feedback forms, surveys and polls become instant, spontaneous market research tools. It’s like working with a free focus group that tells you which products you should create and why.
3. Retain your audience
Too many marketers focus on gaining initial visibility through advertising or attention-seeking stunts. If that tactic does not convert into instant sales, the budget and effort are wasted. With a blog you can hold prospects' interest for longer, winning customers round over time, and bringing them back to hear from you long after their first contact. No need for spammy, desperate-sounding sales messages.
4. Energize your audience
Even better than a growing, loyal audience is a growing, loyal audience that takes action. A blog can motivate your visitors to do things. All you need is copy that warms them up, a motivating story and a clear call to action.
5. Recruit help, contacts, employees
Why spend thousands on recruitment consultants and advertising when you have the best recruitment mechanism at your fingertips? Your blog audience is the most likely to respond and the most likely to be appropriate future employees and networking contacts.
6. Respond to stories and customers
Customer service and public relations have never been more important; a bad story can spread around the web’s social networks at speed. Your blog becomes a responsive outlet to explain your side of any story and douse the fires of negative activity.
7. Links for direct traffic
You can’t beat valuable, authoritative content for attracting links from other websites, forums, discussion lists and social networks. These links bring a quantity of attention, as well as quality, targeted visitors that turn into good leads.
8. Links for SEO
As well as the direct traffic benefit of leads, links are important in bringing in search visitors. The more linkable your website, the better your search results will be. Very often traditional websites are difficult to link to and not easy for search engines to index. This can be due to the website's structure, the software it's built with, or its overly complex URLs. Blogs are almost always superior in this respect.
9. Building trust and familiarity
Trust is vital in making sales and important for encouraging visitors to opt into your lead-generation process. By starting with compelling information and resources, and by encouraging repeat communication, you build familiarity. Over time, this creates a strong bond of trust, making sales so much easier.
This positive attention and these value-based, long-term experiences don’t just create trust. They help to create a stronger, better brand. This leads to word-of-mouth advertising, which is one of the best forms of promotion you can get.
11. Grow a community
Through discussion, interaction and comments, you can help forge a sense of community that can be strengthened both online and off.
12. Offer better service
Your blog provides multiple routes for customers and prospects to get in touch. It can show your human, approachable side, allow better customer interaction, and improve customer service.
13. Initiate more sales
All of these benefits add up to more new and repeat sales from much happier and better informed customers.
About Chris Garrett
Chris Garrett is an internet consultant, writer, web geek and co-author of the popular ProBlogger Book. Since 1994, Chris has helped thousands of individuals, non-profits, small businesses and blue chips make the most of the web. In 2005 Chris founded OMIQ to help organizations attract, engage and retain audiences online. You can find out more, and grab two free ebooks, by visiting his blog at chrisg.com
Chris is the author of Wordtracker's new e-book, Blogging for Business.