Much has been said about the demise of blogging. But if you market on the Internet, or you market offline blogging is one of the best ways you can reach out to your customers – past, present and potential.
Here are 7 reasons you should start business blogging today.
1. Build long-term relationships – Blogging is one of the best ways to build long-term relationships with prospects and customers. A blog helps create a community of users – marketers can connect with their entire community of customers and talk to them as if they were talking with each of them in person. Visitors will feel they belong to the online community growing around your blog.
2. Branding – the Web is an extremely competitive marketplace. To stand out you must differentiate yourself and with social media, including a human touch is paramount. A blog puts a human face on your business. By engaging visitors in online dialogues, a blog helps you establish rapport and build relationships with visitors. With a blog you can separate your product or service from the competition … especially the competition that doesn't have one.
3. Feedback – Forget customer surveys, a blog is ideal for gathering feedback from prospects and customers. Blogging creates the opportunity for instant feedback. I can think of many blog threads and comments both on mine and other blogs that told me more about my customer's needs and desires than any expensive and boring marketing survey.
4. Word of Mouth – Blogs create word of mouth by giving readers useful information and tips. When you blog to help visitors solve real problems, people will tell their friends about you and in most cases they will also send your link. This has been one of the ways both my blogs have become visible. That means every person who reads your blog and finds it useful becomes a potential marketer for your business, just because they find it useful. This is far more powerful than any paid promotion; it is a vote of confidence.
5. Search Engine Optimization – Useful content is the key to search engine ranking. Blogs are far and away better for this because they are regularly updated. Each time they are search engines (of which Google is still King) detect the updated content when they crawl your blog. Continually updated, useful content is good for your visitors … after you have been blogging a while your visitors will look forward to new, fresh content and will come back for it.
6. Social networking – Make your blog part of your social network. As an online marketer I direct people first to my blog before my website. Remember what we said about presenting a human face? Do this for your business with your blog whenever you can. A blog is about connecting and sharing. Social networking sites like Facebook and YouTube prove the popularity of online communities. It's because they provide a space where people can share common experiences. As you build your own social network, your blog can be a central hub of that network and community.
Once you have a community of users excited about your product they will feel connected and will tell their friends about it. You have an opportunity to create a niche market around them. You can invite your customers to submit their own video or audio testimonials to publish on your blog. People love to comment on video feeds making them excellent for starting comment threads.
7. Engage hearts and minds – I recently came across a blog post via a social networking site. It asked 3 simple questions about photography, one of my hobbies. Within hours passionate visitors had added their thoughts to the thread. Result? Not only did I and several others learn a lot from the comments, I learned new ideas to build community and share content. I made new connections and powerful tactics to share with others.
It's just one example of how blog threads can engage the hearts and minds of your visitors. Every business must aim to do this or their potential for doing business in a web 2.0 world will be limited at best.
Make blogging the core of your customer relations strategy and increase your chances of building solid relationships with your customers.