I am still surprised when business people ask me why I bother writing a blog. Why would you not blog? You find me a marketing tool that is as cheap and easy to do as blogging and I will give that a go too. Small and micro businesses don’t have the money to splash around on advertising so we really need to be looking at alternative ways to promote ourselves. It costs next to nothing to set up a blog on your website and you are then able to promote your business world wide.
As I see it, the main benefits of blogging are:
1. Fresh content on your website.
We know that search engines like sites where the content changes on a regular basis. By posting on your blog at least weekly you will help to boost your search engine rankings.
2. Build or establish relationships with your customers.
Blogging is a much more personal approach to connecting with your potential customers than advertising. A good blog is interactive, building conversation between you and your readers. It gives you the opportunity to get to know each other and allows your readers to build up a level of trust in you. How much easier will that make it when they are deciding whether to order or not? You turn readers into customers. They find you; you don’t have to go searching for them.
3. Build your brand and reputation.
Often businesses can all look the same. Their ads are the same; they are promoting similar products and targeting similar markets. Blogging allows you to show your point of difference and position yourself as an expert in your chosen area. Over time you and your brand will become associated with your particular niche. Just remember that to do this you need to keep your blog focused. You can’t build a brand or reputation by blogging about anything that springs to mind!
4. Get direct feedback from your readers.
Blogs are very flexible and allow you to interact with your readers. You can ask for comments, run surveys or polls and even conduct competitions. Once your blog has been going for a while you will have no trouble in gathering opinions from your readers. What a great way to help you decide on a new product or direction than by consulting with the people you hope to sell your products or services to.
5. Extend your creative outlets.
Small business owners are often creative and entrepreneurial creatures. Day to day business can become a grind and you lose the opportunity to use that creative ability. Blogging gives back that opportunity. I think this is one of the most overlooked benefits of all. Writing may not be your strength but it doesn’t have to be. Your passion, enthusiasm and flair are what will make your blog attractive to readers. Use your blog to float ideas and designs. Use it to record your plans. Use it as you need to use it so that you can keep that creative edge that you had when you started your business.
If you don’t have a blog at the moment then why not consider adding one to your website? Remember, though, that you will need to keep the content fresh for it to work. As you start attracting readers you will enjoy it more and more. It costs very little to give it a go, and there are many blog communities around that can support you along the way.
See you on your blog!
Articles are wonderful things for showing off your knowledge. They can be a great tool in your business toolkit and will sell your service or product in a way that is totally different from your regular sales methods.
If you have written an article you can do lots of things with it.
*Submit it to article directories
*Add it to your blog
*Include it in your newsletter
*Share it on Twitter or Facebook
*Add them to your website
*Answer questions at LinkedIn or Yahoo with a summary and link to your article.
*Link to it on forums when relevant.
*Offer it as a free downloadable report for new subscribers
*Submit it to magazines both print and digital
When you look at that list you can see that it makes sense to invest the time in writing articles for your business. If you can’t do it yourself it is a worthwhile investment to have them written for you. If you have an article and have only used it once then you need to look at other ways to make it work for you.
Despite the slump in the economy and the drop in retail sales, online sales are on the rise. It seems logical that consumers will search online and save all the money they would otherwise have spent on petrol, driving from store to store. That opens up a huge opportunity for online retailers but I don’t think it is one that we are yet using to our advantage.
Online advertising is something that we need to incorporate into our marketing strategies. It could include web banners, ads in digital magazines, blogs or e-newsletters.
Digital advertising has a lot of advantages over traditional forms of advertising.
* It is interactive. Your ad can be clicked on and the customer buys straight from your store.
* It can be viral. Links to online magazines are always shared with friends meaning that more and more people will be exposed to your ad.
* It is trackable. You are able to see where people are coming from by looking at your stats. No more guesswork. You know which ads are working for you.
* You can use video and other formats. You are not restricted to plain text or graphics.
* Your ads are online and linked. That can help you improve your Search Engine ranking.
* Digital media often targets niche markets that print media does not, bringing you directly into contact with your target market.
* Media such as online magazines are promoted vigorously using social media so your advertisement is being promoted at the same time.
* Digital magazines and ads can be embedded on other sites or even printed out.
* Once your digital banner or advertisement is created you can use it again and again by submitting it to many sites where print ads are often suited to just one publication.
* Best of all, digital advertising is incredibly cheap compared to print media. It may even be packaged so that you gain a number of benefits or multiple ‘exposures’ for the one price.
To get the best out of your online advertising you need to incorporate it into your advertising strategy. Do some research and locate online mags or sites that are targeting your market and contact them. Ask for their guidelines so that you can submit an article or an ad. You can offer your products for review or as a competition prize. Find out the magazine deadlines and plan ahead. Don’t forget to add the editors of online magazines and blogs to your mailing list so that they receive your press releases.
I think that this year will see amazing growth in the area of digital magazines and we need to go along for the ride. The only way to benefit is to use online advertising as an integral part of your advertising strategy. Plan it and follow it through and see your business grow.
Anne at Clever Streak
Phone: 0428 393 100