This is a guest post from Farhan Niazi, an IT professional with expertise in the fields of Web and Database Development. Niazi is the founder of SMB Tech Guide and is currently serving Sarhad University of Science and Information Technology, Pakistan as the Deputy Director of Information Technology.
There are many ways to reach your customers, but only a few that actually work. One of the ways that works the best is a business or corporate blog. If utilized properly you have a great reach for new business.
You could advertise on billboards, in magazines and newspapers, on radio and television. These are the traditional ways to attract business, and in the not-too-distant past, that was how you got your company name out there. But then, the Internet happened, which was the death knell for the yellow pages. Yes, there still are phone books, but how much business do you actuall get from the phone book?
The Internet allows an individual to research a problem and to browse different companies before a buying decision is made. Sometimes, that decision will hinge on what information the potential buyer finds, and where it is found. Many decisions can come down to pure feeling—a gut reaction to how much the person likes your web design, or how memorable your website and your information is. All things such as pricing being equal, if the buyer thinks a particular seller is honest and trustworthy—or feels a bond or connection to that seller—then a buying decision is made, and business is done.
A great way to establish that bond or connection is through a corporate blog. They can make a difference in your company’s success, and can market and reach out to customers while you are closed. Here are three reasons why your business should have one:
1) It’s an easily maintained, informal way to connect with your customers. It offers a less formal information-providing approach. It’s so much better than a weekly newspaper ad as it's not as salesy, and costs less than the ad does. You can have a “Forum” section at the end of each entry where customers can seek help, ask questions or express their opinions. Often, when people find that there’s a way for them to leave comments, it helps to bring down the walls that can exist. The blog also offers a way for visitors to learn more about your company and its products, achievements and innovations.
2) It gives your business a “voice”. To continue with the above thought—if you have a landscaping company, you could write a blog entry once a week on the subject of, for example, lawn care. When is it best to water your lawn? When should you apply pesticides, and what kind? When should you “feed” it? This kind of free advice doesn’t take away from your business—on the contrary, it adds to it. Based on your advice, which of these two do you suppose is more likely to receive a phone call from a customer whose yard had gotten out of control while he and his family were on vacation—the landscaping company that advertises on billboards? Or, the one whose owner takes the time each week to advise the homeowner how best to care their outdoor surroundings? You know, actually answering the common customer questions in the blog instead of wasting time dealing with those phone calls from people who might not even buy from you.
3) It provides a basis for an effective “inbound marketing” campaign. By making available a forum discussion area at the end of your blog entry, you give your customers a voice to comment, as mentioned before. However, to have that voice they must have first signed up on your site for a user name and password, and provided at least some personal information, which is now available as a valuable sales lead.
There are few ways to increase your readership that are easier and less expensive than starting a blog. The sooner you get going with it, the sooner you can begin to see some positive results.
Need to get your business blog started? Then download our guide to learning how to blog below. It will cover everything from writing your first post and choosing your topics to selecting photos and writing meta descriptions!