If you think a blog is only what college kids use to document their study abroad adventures, we’d love to know where you’ve been hiding the past few years. Blogs are no longer reserved as online journals for insightful twenty-somethings or those who need a forum for their quirky hobbies. Blogging for your small business is crucial if you want to see growth. Even when they might not realize it yet, people out there in the big, bustling world of the Internet are trying to find your business through their searches. They have a need that your business fills, and part of your job is strategically guiding potential customers to you. Blogging is not only a way to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry–and therefore, as a credible source who’s savvy to the latest trends–but the more you blog, and the more skillfully you do it, the greater the chances your business has of being found.
We could give you endless reasons why you should be blogging for your small business, but here, we narrow it down to the 3 that we find the most compelling.
Engage Your Target Market
There is no form of advertising that engages your target market quite like blogging, especially when you’re trying to get your small business off the ground or nurture its growth. Traditional forms of marketing are no longer as effective at getting your message out to prospective customers. Whether you are using printed advertising, radio, or television, these mediums cannot form a connection with your audience like blogging can.
In the Social Media Examiner, Marcus Sheridan suggests that the content created when blogging for small business is a great way to find qualified leads for new customers. There are people in your community (whether in a geographic or broader sense) who are using the web to find solutions to specific problems. When these people enter relevant keywords into a search engine, they will find your content. If your blog offers real value and solid information, these interested people will be more inclined to purchase your products or services to solve their problems. By blogging, you create content that attracts high-quality leads for your business.
Build Trusting Relationships With Customers
Blogging transforms your relationships with your customers. Instead of simply trying to get the sale, you set a foundation by offering your customers expert advice. When your customers see you as a trusted expert that can help solve their problems, then they will seek out your products and services.
Take the example reported by social media expert Ty Kiisel in Forbes Magazine. He describes his experience helping a small nursery business to attract new customers. The people working for the nursery had accumulated amazing gardening and lawn tips over their years of helping customers. Kiisel encouraged the nursery owners to share these tips in a blog. Initially, the small business owner was worried that if he gave away the tricks of the trade on a blog, his customers would take this knowledge and shop elsewhere. In reality, the opposite happened. By positioning his business as a trusted expert, more people sought out his services. By blogging, this nursery brought more customers to their front door.
Turn Customers Into Ambassadors
You can convert your customers into your best marketing team with your blog. Combine your company’s blog with a solid social media strategy, and you can promote your content in a way that your customers can share. When a customer shares your content, his or her social connections see it–and it’s possible that those connections are also searching for a solution to a problem that your business can provide. Imagine someone crowdsourcing on Facebook for recommendations on a certain product or service, or answers to a particular question, and one of your customers posts one of your blogs as a response: that’s great (free!) exposure. It’s classic word-of-mouth with a new potential for that word to go viral.
With a blog, you have the opportunity to reach more people than ever before, even as a small business. Your content enables you to share your knowledge and establish yourself as credible, passionate expert in your industry. Regular, purposeful blogging is a sign that your business is alive and keen to the things potential customers care about. And here’s a simple but important fact that blogging boils down to: the more index pages you have and the more you use the language people type into search engines, the more likely it is that those who need what your business offers will find you.