Once upon a time, if you ran a business, you focused on the product you were selling and the customers you wanted (or already were) selling to. Aside from the necessary running costs, that was pretty much all you had to worry about.
Now, every high street shop is expected to have an entire online dimension to its business that includes a website, Facebook page, Twitter account, Pinterest board and, yes, a regular blog.
Itâ€™s not only for big brands either. Just ask yourself when you last used the Yellow Pages over Google? Our lives are led, if not in front of a screen, at least heavily dictated by our smart-phones or tablets. If we need a service or product, we click on our nearest browser and start an online search. Even when looking for a local tradesman (not businesses typically associated with an online presence), an internet search is often the starting point.
And there begins the competition to attract attention. Search engines offer almost innumerable pages of information, with each subsequent page generally becoming less relevant to your search. If your business is not on the first page – and preferably listed in the top five search results – how likely is your customer to continue their search to pages 2,3 or 33?
Of course, there are plenty of things that a good website will contain that ensure its high-ranking visibility (thus Step 1 in any website appraisal begins with a technical diagnosis – more about this in a future post). But a blog is a simple and effective way of maintaining regular contact with your existing client base, as well as drawing new customers in.
Loyal customers who already know and love your brand will enjoy reading your blog to hear about new products youâ€™ve launched, upcoming courses you’re running and last minute-deals, not to mention associated products, brands or places that complement your’s.
But where a blog can really come in useful is attracting new customers who didnâ€™t know they needed you…YET! A blog Boxstuff provided for a seaside holiday cottage was a simple recipe for cooking sea bass. Seafood-loving, cooking aficionados searched online for sea bass recipes and, via the post, entered the holiday cottage website. Given the innate curiosity of us humans, theyâ€™d then flick through a few photos of the beautiful Grade II-listed cottage and its stunning Solent views. Of course, it didnâ€™t necessarily result in an instant holiday booking every single time a visitor read the blog post but it did put the cottage on their radar when they might never have thought to look for it before.
The alternative approach used to be expensive advertising or direct marketing that would generally end up in the recycling bin. And consumers are more likely to read and register interest with something they’ve found than something they feel they’re being sold.
So, the question is not ‘why have a blog’ but, can you afford not to?