Any business owner with his or her head screwed-on will understand the importance of a strong online presence. However, due to how dynamic the internet is, the phrase 'online presence' is a rather vague concept.
So where do you begin, social media, or your website? Or do you create something new altogether? Is there much point in creating a small blog for your business? An important element of any small business' marketing strategy should be the creation of informative content to share with their target audience. Selling products or services in the virtual space of the World Wide Web means that you need to develop strong brand awareness and earn the trust of your potential customers, as well as keeping the loyalty of your existing client base intact.
One way small businesses can achieve this is by writing regular blog posts that add value to their target customer. Rather than just re-tweeting or sharing content that others are writing, blogging gives businesses a chance to voice their own thoughts on a topic and share their in-depth knowledge with others so that they are seen as a leader and not a follower.
In addition to this, there are a number of other reasons why blogging is still an essential tool for small businesses in 2015.
Become a Thought-Leader
Writing regular posts that engage with your target customer will pay dividends. This could be done by either providing a commentary on current trends in the industry or tackling commonly asked questions by customers.
A survey carried out by GE Capital Retail Bank found that consumers spend 79 days on average gathering information before making a major purchase. If these consumers landed on your website while researching a specific product and your blog is able to provide them with sound advice and a solution to their problem, you have already established yourself as a 'thought leader' in your field. This will establish a connection of trust with the consumer in their initial research stage and ensure that when they are ready to buy, you are the first person they think of.
Even in the case of EOC Services, which offers air conditioning services to Chelmsford and surrounding areas an insightful blog is a possibility. EOC uses their blog as a source of information, rather than just a PR or marketing tool. This creates an outlet in which the company can be less of a seller and more of an expert in the field. This establishes a connection with their potential customer and increases their chance of converting to a sale. After all, if you try to hard-sell a product too early in the process, and before building some sort of relationship then you are more likely to scare your target audience away, especially in a more long-winded sales process.
Earn your Audience's Trust
If you are able to consistently produce original content that is interesting and engaging then it will make people want to read your blogs and inevitably could lead to further sales. Writing a regular blog post for your website enables you to create a voice for your brand, giving people the chance to really connect with you. Relationships drive business. Good blog posts will inspire conversation, increasing the likelihood of potential customers sharing your blogs on their social media channels, which effectively provides you with free advertising. Also, if your audience knows that when they come to your website, they can expect to read high quality and interesting material then they are more likely to bookmark your site and come back on a regular basis.
Increase Visibility Online
Blogging for your business is a great way to increase the visibility of your website in the Search Engine Ranking Pages (SERPs), which in turn will drive more traffic to your site and ensure that you get seen by as many potential customers as possible.
The way in which Google ranks websites in its SERPs has changed. Google deems websites to be more valuable if they regularly produce quality content that is highly relevant to the target audience. It is important to include SEO within your blog content but the number one rule is to keep it looking natural by writing for your target customer and not Google robots. Google is becoming more sophisticated in recognising meaningless keyword-stuffing and other black-hat SEO tactics and hands out heavy penalties for companies that do not operate within the rules. The other benefit of regularly blogging is that you will be able to target long-tail search terms, meaning that you will be increasing the chances of bringing new visitors to the site.
Increase Visibility in your Wider Community
If you are a smaller business, your target audience will be the community in which your business is based in. For this reason, it is of extreme importance that you are visible to the people of your local community, before you think of further domination. A blog can help you do this. By mentioning, and discussing your business' relevance in the wider community, you can gather interest from local organisations and charities. Mentioning them in your content and linking to them on social media can help you gain their trust and can help you grab their attention. Social media will help you share their audience, by encouraging them to read your content, and hopefully browsing your website as a result.