If you’re like many small-business owners especially in the frum world blogging might seem risky hi-tech pointless or just plain confusing. Yet any web marketing expert will tell you that your website will perform better if it includes a blog. Here are five reasons why:
1. Free Advertising
Let’s say you run a kosher pizzeria in Monsey. Every single day people search Google for keywords like “kosher pizza Monsey NY.” Wouldn’t it be nice if your restaurant showed up at the top of the search results every time guaranteeing you a steady stream of new customers? All without you paying Google a dime? Consider this: One of the most important factors in determining how high a website should rank on Google is fresh quality content — and a blog is a natural way to do this.
2. Wanna be Famous?
When there’s a lot of competition in your field (for example the weight-loss industry) a blog with strong original content can make you stand out — and even make you a minor “celebrity” in your own field. Instead of being just another name at a professional conference you’re far more likely to be recognized — “You’re the Rachel Cohen?! As in the Weight-Loss Lady? I love your blog!” People tend to be wowed by “As Seen on Google” glamour and are much more likely to take an interest in you refer clients to you propose a joint venture agree to introduce you to a bigwig or just plain hire you.
3. Don’t Call Them They’ll Call You
Blogs are one of the essential tools for “inbound marketing” a marketing approach that aims to earn the attention and respect of potential customers by giving them the information and entertainment they seek. This is unlike traditional “outbound marketing” which involves buying people’s attention through telemarketing ads or flyers — essentially interrupting whatever they were doing to give them a sales pitch.
“Inbound marketing is especially effective for small businesses that deal with high dollar values long research cycles and knowledge-based products” says Brian Halligan author of Inbound Marketing: Attract Engage and Delight Customers Online. “In these areas prospects are more likely to get informed and hire someone who demonstrates expertise.”
Take the example of a business selling surgical socks. This is a relatively expensive purchase and most customers ask a lot of questions about fit side effects etc. before buying. If you’re smart you’ll turn all the common questions people ask into several blog posts. As a result your website will become a resource for anyone researching surgical socks. And once you have earned their respect readers are likely to become customers — without you ever giving them a sales pitch.
4. Get Mass Exposure
Even the humblest small-time blogs have been known to get massive exposure and even beat out huge corporations with millions of dollars in marketing budgets.
As an engineering student New York-based Limor Fried decided she wanted to create the best online resource for learning how to build electronic devices. Ten years later her company blog has over 10000 articles and continues to publish up to five helpful step-by-step tutorials per day making it the Mecca for anyone interested in electronics. As a result Fried sells about 5 000 DIY electronics kits a month has over 50 employees and was named Entrepreneur of the Year by Entrepreneur Magazine.
You too can make your blog a go-to resource for people interested in learning more about your field — be it wig care buying real estate in Israel or parenting special-needs kids. The web has a democratic way of letting truly knowledgeable creative and well-written blogs rise to the top which translates into more traffic and more potential clients.
5. Be (In)Credible
One of the easiest ways for businesses freelancers and just about anyone to gain credibility is to run an active valuable blog related to their industry. Not only will people who find and contact you via your blog consider you an expert but even prospects who found you through other means will raise their opinion of you after seeing your blog.
For example let’s say you are a self-employed interior designer and you receive an email from a potential customer who is looking to do a bathroom redesign and heard about you from a friend of a friend. These leads are often quite weak since the person doesn’t strongly prefer you over any of your competitors (who they will no doubt also contact).
Instead of launching into a sales pitch you can simply direct them to the category of your blog where you showcase your most incredible bathroom ideas designs and projects. Seeing blog comments and social media shares will provide “social proof” of your credibility. If they are the right kind of client for you you will be in a much stronger position when you start the sales conversation because they now like you and your work. You’ve gained credibility without doing any selling.
Four Signs You Should Not Blog
1. You’re Addicted to Your Sales Pitch: Never do blatant self-promotion in your blog posts. This will turn off your readers and undermine your credibility as an objective expert.
2. You Find Your Field Boring: If you find your own products or services tedious you’ll have a hard time keeping your readers interested. The best blogs are written by people with a passionate interest in the subject matter.
3. You Need to Boost Your Profits Yesterday: Blogging is no get-rich-quick scheme. Expect to spend three to six months blogging consistently before it generates the first significant sale.
4. You Have No Sense of Humor: The tone of blogs tends to be less formal more friendly and often quirkier than your average how-to manual. If you are uncomfortable with this you may struggle with blogging.
Note: Most of these problems can be overcome by hiring a ghost-blogger to write your posts as is common practice on business blogs.
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