Just a few short years ago hardly anyone knew what a blog was, but now, because they are so easy to set up and maintain, their popularity has blossomed beyond all expectations. Blogs are not just for ordinary people who wish to expound on their hobby or area of special interest. Blogs are for the smart small businessperson who understands the power of the published word online.
A blog can provide a low cost means of marketing online, a feedback mechanism for establishing your side of the story against someone spreading negative and potentially damaging things about you and your business, and a means of connecting and communicating with existing clients and potential clients. The purpose of this article is to explain these three main positive reasons why your small business needs a blog.
1. A Blog as a Marketing and Promotion Tool for Your Small Business
Small business internet marketing seems easy at first glance, but many have tried it and failed. Others have persevered, perfecting search engine optimization techniques, keyword density and linking strategies, which work for some but not always for others. They have followed the advice of every "guru," only to be more mystified at the end of the process than when they started out. They invariably end up thinking that there has to be a better way, and there is - a blog.
The search engines love blogs. Yes, a little optimization with careful keyword placement and some back links will never go amiss, but even the complete novice knowing nothing whatsoever can enjoy good results simply by regularly maintaining a blog. All it takes is a simple strategy, perhaps focusing on a particular product line and posting just once a day, to get results that will make a difference.
With time and as your understanding of blogging techniques improve, your small business internet marketing efforts will bear significant fruit. And remember, the cost of all this is negligible compared to newspaper advertising, for example. Of course, this is not the only reason why your small business needs a blog. What if someone is "badmouthing" you by blogging all over the Internet, perhaps because they didn't like something about the way you do business? How do you defend yourself and give your side of the story? You need a blog!
2. A Blog as Feedback Channel to Establish a Positive Image for Your Small Business
A real-life example of someone who found themselves dealing with negative blog posts involves a medical doctor who practices on her own in California. She treated two patients whose poor health situation was largely of their own making. She told them that they needed to take some responsibility for their own health. This was not at all what they wanted to hear. Feeling insulted, they started to blog about it online, giving only their side of the story and painting a very damaging picture of the doctor in the process.
If you were to go to Google or any of the major search engines now and do a search for her name, the only information you would find are negative, almost libelous, rants created by these two aggressive individuals who couldn't face up to the truth about their own health situations.
However, had this doctor previously considered the advantages of blogging for local small businesses to complement her business activities, she would have been able to limit at least some of the damage caused. Patient confidentiality rules would have prevented her from posting a positive rebuttal to the negative blog posts -her side of the story in other words. But she could have built up an archived library of positive and factual information about herself and her practice, automatically dealing with negative blog posts at the same time. Anyone then using Google to search for her name would still have found the negativity, but they would also have found the positive balanced view.
This type of situation can happen to anyone running a business, not just doctors. A blog for your business offers you the chance of great flexibility to promote your business, publish a positive image, and to communicate with all your clients, even those who don't know that they have yet to become your clients!
3. A Blog as a Communication and Connection Tool for Your Small Business
People love getting free things on the Internet. We all do, in fact. And one of the most successful things to give away and help build your business at the same time is a free newsletter. Traditionally, this has taken the form of a specially formatted email, but increasingly small business owners are turning to blogs for publishing their newsletters. They still send out an email to the people on their list, but only to send them over to the blog where the newsletter can be read online.
This is a great way to communicate with your existing clients. You can regularly give them useful information, making them realize that your newsletter has real value. And every so often you can pitch an offer - a special bargain offer perhaps, and a percentage will make a purchase that you would not have had otherwise. But it doesn't have to stop there. Your blog can be a tool for getting new customers too.
If you have carefully built up your business blog with regular and useful posts, the search engines will have noticed and in time your blog will be ranked according to whatever the search engines deem appropriate. Hopefully this will be a favorable placement, and if it is, people who search for the kind of product information you provide will find your blog.
When they are on your blog you can ask them to sign up for email alerts to whenever you make a new post, or whenever your latest newsletter is published. Once you have them on a list you can make offers to them and a percentage of them will buy. Blogging for local small businesses can be a wonderfully inexpensive and highly effective method of acquiring new customers with little effort.
There are many more ways to use a blog for any small business. Often it just requires your imagination to come up with new ways to use it. And you don't have to limit yourself to only one blog; you can have several, each one dealing with a particular topic, and all of them linked together. This can be extremely powerful if done properly, and it isn't hard to do either.
The three reasons I have offered you for why your small business needs a blog are indeed important ones. But they are not the only reasons. Don't waste time now trying to think up other reasons. Get a blog in place first, and then the ways to use your blog will become increasingly obvious. You really do owe it to yourself to get your own small business blog in place today!