Did you know that 77% of all adults research online before shopping for a local product or service (according to the Kelsey Group)? Did you know that 36% of US adults think more positively about companies that blog? (According to Universal McCann Wave3 research).
So really why does a small business, say the quaint gift shop in Downtown Fairfield, CA or the fence builder in Anytown USA really need a blog? Does it really make sense? Well, I’m going to give you 5 good reasons why every small business needs a blog.
1. Blogging helps you get found. The fact is, blogging helps with SEO – that big scary acronym we in marketing and social media like to throw around is simply “Search Engine Optimization”. What does it mean in the real world? It simply means that every time you post fresh content to your website or blog, Google’s site-crawling robots jump up and down like high school cheerleaders hyped up on Red Bull cheering, “New content, New content, Rah Rah Rah.. Let’s Go!”
Search Engines love new stuff and their “spiders” will crawl sites with new, quality content more frequently. So the more you post, the more authoritative your site becomes. In the search engine world that means your chances of getting found when people start Googling “unique gifts in Fairfield, CA” or “fence repair in Anytown USA” will be greater.
2. Blogging builds trust. What is marketing? Marketing is getting people who have a need to know, like, trust, and want to buy from you. How are people going to get to know like and trust you if you hang out in your store or office all day and they never get to hear all of your wonderful and creative ideas, experience and expertise?
Blogging is such a great way to reach large numbers of people (yes even local people) that you would never be able to reach offline. By writing quality blogs about your industry, your customers, and your business – making it fun and informative (and without selling) your target market is going to start realizing that you know your stuff.
They are going to start turning to you as a trusted source and an educator. People like to buy from competent businesses. We as consumers want to trust our fence builder, chiropractor, or marketing coach before we work with them. How can we do that if we don’t know them? Blogging gives us, as small businesses, the perfect avenue for showing people that we know our stuff; we are knowledgeable, friendly, consistent, and maybe even kinda fun!
3. Blogging positions you as an expert. In addition to building trust, blogging allows you to show the world how much you know about your business and industry. Blogging is a way to tell masses of people all at once that you understand them; you know how to solve their problem or fulfill their need. By telling stories and sharing facts and tips and advice you are not only telling, but demonstrating that you are an authority in your field.
By writing helpful and thoughtful content, you are building trust and qualifying yourself as a go-to resource for information; creating that great top-of-mind awareness we all want when our prospects make the move to buy!
4. Blogging opens a dialogue with/engages your target market. What a better way to get your audience / target market engaged than by writing provocative and thoughtful blogs? You can use even use your blog to do research. Ask a question and invite people to comment. Learn about what is missing in your industry or what your readers would like to learn about – and respond to those comments. Voila – you are engaging your audience – you are getting them interested in your subject matter. Even if they don’t post comments, they have clicked on some link somewhere to come to your blog, so you have already engaged them. With an RSS feed on your blog, readers can subscribe, so every time you post something new they automatically get it. This is how you build a following.
5. Blogging broadens your audience. How many new prospects do you talk to on a daily basis? Really? Yes, you may belong to some networking groups; you may even do some cold calling. But what if you could get people to want to come to you? That is what blogging does. Again, writing relevant and helpful content will draw people that you would never be able to reach with your usual sales tactics. The great thing about social media and blogs is that people share them! Yes – if they read something they like, they’ll post it to twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn – or in some cases all three. Think about how that expands your reach and broadens your audience. And the best part – it’s free!!! Yes, you may need to spend an hour or so writing something a couple of times a week – but how many cold calls would you have to make to reach the same number of people you can reach online with great content (potentially thousands in seconds!)
If these 5 reasons don’t convince you to start (or increase) your blog, I’m not sure what will!