Even though many credible and leading-edge business resources recommend blogs as key marketing tools for business, there are still quite a few business owners who question their value. I think this is primarily because they don’t see the connection between blogging and their business’ bottom line.
To understand the power of blogging you’ve got to first recognise blogs as a marketing tool.
A blog is all about creating and “maintaining” a dialogue with a target audience–the people who might potentially buy from you. This is one of the main objectives of a good marketing strategy however one of the most elusive…that is until the rise of online marketing via websites.
The challenge however with a traditional website is that it doesn’t offer the tools to facilitate two way communication the way a blog does.
Not only can you draw in members of your audience with a blog however you can get their feedback on your product or service through the unique dialogue features that are part of a every blog.
These “dialogue features” are essentially the blog post – where you tell your audience what you want them to know and the comment tool which allows your audience to respond to the information you share in your blog.
Not only can you have your audience communicate with you in this immediate fashion however you can include in your blog tools that make it easy for your readers to share the conversation with others.
Using any number of available “sharing” tools your readers can email a post or share it in their favourite social media forum with the click of a button. At the bottom of this post you’ll see a “Share This” icon. Click on it to explore how you can share a post with others or bookmark it for yourself.
Remember that many of these tools are free – including the “Share This” tool.
The Value of Feedback – Qualified Feedback
The comments section, which is a standard part of every blog that can be turned on or off, allows your prospects to easily tell you exactly what they think about your ideas, your projects–whatever it is you wish to share with them.
This is invaluable information that can help you develop your products/services or test them before wide-spread distribution. Comments on your blog can also provide online indications of what your audience currently likes or dislikes about your business and even possible indications of what they’d like to see in the future in your industry or from you in particular.
Of course not every visitor who decides to comment on your blog is necessarily a qualified member of your target market. Some are there for their own purposes and will offer comments of no value. We often call those spammers.
To get more qualified responses on your blog you’ll need to attract a larger audience. This is a practice that is followed in offline marketing. When offline businesses survey their market for general research, they’ll always seek to get the largest sample possible since not everyone engaged to respond to the survey will provide useful or even credible information.
The same applies to your blog. If you’re going to position your blog to be your tool for attracting customers and gauging the interests and motivation of your target audience, then you’re going to have to focus on drawing as large an audience as possible from your segment of the marketplace.
How Much is Enough Traffic?
When you’re creating a blog for business you’ll want to measure the success of your tactics and to do that you’ll need to get an idea of what success looks like when using a blog to market your business.
The obvious measurement is more sales. However there are other measurements that need to be tracked along the way to ensure your strategy is on track. First you’ll need to measure the volume of traffic you attract on a regular basis to your blog.
Some websites like Twitter attract millions of users a day. While some successful solopreneurs working out of their homes selling things like cookbooks or soaps might get 30,000 website visitors a month. Both Twitter and these solopreneurs could be considered successful businesses. The amount needed to succeed is something you’ll have to determine using tried and true methods.
A method often used to measure success online is the conversion rate tracking. Website conversion is the process of turning website visitors into prospects and customers. This rate is essentially a calculation that lets you know what volume of traffic you need to get in order to generate a sale (or some other action you want your visitors to take – like signing up for a subscription).
For example, if last month 1,000 visitors came upon your website and 10 purchased your cookbook, your sales conversation rate is 1.0%. This essentially means that for every 100 visitors to your website, 1 % will purchase your product.
As you implement new promotional strategies you’ll want to test their impact on your conversion rate. Your goal will be, of course to increase your conversation rate so that your financial goals are met.
One of the best ways to attract qualified traffic to your blog is to use Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) techniques. In a previous post we explored some SEO techniques – click here to read that post.
Another strategy comes under the category of good blogging practice: publish regular posts to your blog daily or at least a few times a week. Fresh, regular content is a very good way to keep your readers coming back to your blog. Satisfied readers will be happy to refer your blog to others and share your posts on popular and free social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.
Remember there are millions of users on Twitter each day and Facebook is approaching 1 billion users.
This “viral” type of promotion is one of the best ways to raise the profile of your blog and is one of the reasons why social media is so popular.
Promoting your Blog
As you can tell, marketing your business online is not a case of “build it and they will come” rather it’s a case of market effectively and they will come. You won’t know how effective your efforts to market your blog are unless you measure changes in your visitor traffic volume as a result of your marketing efforts.
There are a number of ways to market your website/blog and they include social media as mentioned above. However another great tactic is article marketing. Article marketing is a strategy whereby you or your writer prepare articles promoting your product/service and then syndicate those articles by sending them to popular content distribution websites like ezinearticles.com where they can be republished (with your credits) by thousands of website publishers who use these content resource services.
You can also promote your blog by participating as a speaker or sponsor for professional seminars and conferences in your industry or by holding your own online or offline seminars. You might also offer to provide a post as a guest blogger for one or more of the popular blogs in your industry.
There are numerous methods to promote online, however the goal is the same: attract your target market to your website/blog and increase your traffic volume to the levels you need to realise conversions (prospects to customers) and your financial goals.