Many small business owners have yet to catch on to the true advantage of blogging because they perceive bloggers as self-absorbed. In a recent US News and World Report article, a survey by Warrillow & Co. showed that only about 41 percent of small business owners have an interactive website, and if they do have a website, a blog is not high on the priority list for inclusion.
These statistics show that the small business community is not only small in size but in vision as well fastnewsisland.com. This Web myopia is limiting their reach. And it’s a shame because blogging can be a powerful tool for building your business.
Yet another study showed that half of the businesses surveyed closed sales as a direct result of their blogs. Blogs regularly delivered qualified leads to 70 percent of those business owners.
The ideas and nuggets posted to a blog by a good (or great) thought leader delivers a viral effect. One reader subscribes and then passes along the valuable insight from this blog, and the word spreads. That’s when you turn your blog into a driving force for your business. Here’s a rich opportunity for you to become the thought leader that everyone wants to turn to for creative, thought-provoking ideas to better their own business. Using a blog host like Typepad, Blogger, or WordPress also boosts your search engine optimization, because these sites automatically format your blogs so that keywords and phrases are picked up by search engines. And, of course, the more you update your blog with rich, insightful information, the more you will develop a following with customers and prospects returning more frequently. Ultimately, your blog will drive more traffic to your website and build your brand recognition in the process. The result? More leads, referrals, and sales!
The next question is, “Where do I begin?” The best way to get started is to read blogs that are pertinent to your business as a VAR. You’ll quickly see that blogs are written in conversational tone that delivers practical and insightful information in an easy-to-read manner. Here are a few thoughts on how to drive business through your blog:
– Discuss a practical situation without using ad speak. Using a promotional voice in a blog is a huge turn-off for most readers. Customers want to find relevant, useful information with your own unique experience mixed in. Define a particular problem that you experienced and then explain how you solved it. Better yet, consider what some of your customers’ problems might be, and present the challenge and a solution based on your own experience. This will encourage your customers to keep coming back for more. If you just talk about yourself and your services, it “sounds” like marketing, which should be used in your advertising, not your blogs.
– Promote your blog. OK, so this goes against a bit of what I just said regarding steering clear of ad speak, but if you want people to read your blog, they first have to find you. Add your blog URL to your signature on all emails. Link your blog to your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn pages. Allow readers to subscribe to the blog via email (with an opt-in option on your website) so they receive your blog every day in their inbox. Blog about other thought leaders when they relate to your topic so that you create an association with that leader (but do this in a thoughtful way so you’re not “using” them). At any opportunity, post a comment on other blogs where potential customers might be searching for similar information. This will send them to you searching for more.