As a business owner, you may have encountered the term business blog and wonder what you have to do to get started. Is it even worth bothering? Well, if you’re not sure whether your business needs a dedicated blog, the following 10 reasons should help make up your mind
1 Buying habits have changed
The internet has transformed consumer buying habits. According to statistics from Eurostat, published in February 2017, 83pc of people in the UK made an online purchase during 2016. With so much information available to them, the power now lies in the buyer’s hands. They will typically use search engines to research their options before making a purchase. This is why your business has to stand out – and what better way to do that than by talking directly to your customer in a language they understand via a business blog.
2 A website without a business blog is just a brochure
If there is no human face to your website, then you are missing out on a big opportunity to capture visitors. What entices people in is the personal touch. It’s a Golden Rule of sales that People Buy from People they Know, Like and Trust. Make a video introducing the team. Think of your business blog as the friendly face of your company, and use it to inform, educate and delight your audience.
3 A blog section allows you to update visitors to your site with company news
Wouldn’t it be great to have your own readily available newsstand – one where you could shout Read all about it to every passer-by? Well think of your blog as your own personal online newspaper. You could use it to immediately update your customers about company news, regional and national awards, and any events you are involved with in your local community. Put content on your blog to show that your business is up to date with current trends, and use it to react swiftly to news items that affect your industry.
4 Your business blog lets visitors see if your company is a good fit for them
Not every customer is right for you – and vice versa. When you market your business, you are aiming to turn visitors to your site into customers. Well-written content addresses every stage of the buyer’s journey – from awareness of need, to consideration of options, right through to decision to purchase. The tone of your content and its relevance to your visitor will help them decide if your business is right for them. Remember, you are not trying to attract everyone – only those who are a perfect fit for your business. Some tips on How to Identify your ideal Customer.
5 It helps with search engine rankings
Four years ago, Google introduced the Hummingbird algorithm. It’s call Hummingbird because it’s ‘precise and fast’ and the aim is to make using Google a more rewarding and all-round useful experience. One of the most important takeaways from the latest update is that well-written, natural, more conversational content will be ranked more highly.
This is great news for business owners with a regularly updated blog. It means you can engage more naturally with visitors to your site and increase your chance of a good search engine ranking for those keywords. As more people see and share your blog posts, the cycle begins again, drawing even more visitors to your site. Win, Win!
6 Positions your company as experts in your field
Use your blog to position you or your company as experts at what you do. Write content quoting leaders in your field, link to authoritative websites, ask leading figures in your industry if they would be prepared to fill in a Q&A which you could turn into a blog post. The people you choose don’t have to be world-famous, just a respected authority. Depending on your industry, they could be a leading local restaurateur, a novelist, trade union leader or a cake icing expert. Or, write your own Q&A style blog post based on questions from customers that come up regularly.
7 Builds trust
Remember earlier I said people buy from people they know, like and trust. Use your blog to showcase the ways you put the customer at the centre of everything you do. Use your blog not to promote what you do but rather to show how you can help solve your customer’s pain.
Ask a satisfied customer if you can interview them and use it as a post. Ask them what you did right and what you can improve on. Customer satisfaction is one of the best ways to inspire loyalty and trust. Remember, it costs a lot more money to attract new customers than it does to retain existing ones. This type of post also shows visitors to your site just how much you value your customers. Se what sales and marketing experts Hubspot say about Ways to Delight Your Customers to Earn Their Trust
8 Helps you to see what your customers are interested in.
Analyse the performance of your blog posts to find out what your customers are most interested in. Check the number of views per post. This will give you some idea of your most popular content and steer you towards what to write about next. Filter your most popular posts by topic and look at the number of CTA clicks which shows the amount of interest in an offers you might be promoting. Write frequently and consistently and make sure you include posts that appeal to customers at all stages of the buyer’s journey
9 Helps your visitors to move through the buyer’s journey
What is the buyer’s journey? Put simply it’s the three research stages a buyer goes through before finally making a purchase. The first part of the journey is called the awareness stage. The potential buyer has a problem, or ‘pain’. They’re not able to pinpoint it yet, but they’re doing some research to find out a bit more about what the problem might be.
The second stage is the consideration stage. The prospect has identified the problem and put a name to it. They are actively researching solutions to the problem or pain.
The final stage is the decision stage, the prospect has decided on a way to solve their problem. They’ve created a list of vendors or service providers who can solve their problem and may be well on the way to whittling this down to a shortlist. At this point, they are ready to buy.
Different types of content suit different parts of this journey, so always keep this in mind and create posts for each stage of the buyer’s journey. . An awareness stage visitor to your website will be looking for posts based on research reports, more educational content. At the consideration stage, an expert guide might be useful and finally, at the decision stage, case studies, product information or a trial download would be appropriate.
10 Makes the experience of buying online more personal.
Having a blog on your business website is all about making the experience more personal for the customer. It should be educational, not promotional and buyer-centric – putting the consumer’s needs at the heart of everything you create. The traditional ‘interruptive’ methods of selling are dying. Now, it’s all about being part of the conversation.
Finally, just as distribution is the final important stage in print production, the same goes for your online content. Leverage your content by regularly and consistently posting on social media. You don’t have to be everywhere on social media, but you do have to be somewhere. Find out where your audience is most like to be found and go and meet them there.
Are you thinking of starting your own business blog? Have a look at this infographic. It lists all the key things you need to create a fully optimised blog post. Handy blog post checklist.
Image: Domenico Loia