What’s more memorable — your first bike or the moment you learned to ride it?
For most people, it’s the latter. A feature-packed bike has no value unless it delivers a pleasurable experience. The value comes from the sense of accomplishment you felt the first time you coasted without falling over. You gained the freedom to explore the world on your own. And your feelings of pride and attachment grew every time you raced home from school or learned a new trick.
If you want a business that’s bigger than the sum of your products, start selling an experience. Become a facilitator who shows customers how to reach goals and solve problems. How? Use business blogging to find out what matters to your audience and cater to their interests. Don’t just give people a bike; show them how to get the most value from it.
A business blog helps you change how customers view products and make buying decisions. You have to get people out of the commodity mindset and show them how your solutions can enrich their lives. Still asking yourself, “Should I start a blog?” Find out how and why you should use blogging to grow your business.
Benefits of business blogging
Attracting and keeping customers are the core pillars of every growth strategy. Sounds easy enough, but both of these goals are incredibly time-consuming. Blogging reduces the time and effort it takes to nurture customer relationships at different stages. Here’s how.
- Builds consumer trust: Blogging emphasizes teaching and sharing, rather than selling. Customers are more open to your message when you offer value without expecting a sale. They’re also more likely to drop objections and make a purchase if they have a lot of details upfront.
- Increases inbound leads: Blogs create an information trail that guides prospective buyers to your business. Blogging 16 times per month earns you roughly 4.5X more leads than businesses that post four times or fewer each month, according to HubSpot. Since leads often reach out directly when they’re ready to buy, blogging can shorten the path to a sale.
- Improves brand recognition: Consistently creating helpful content strengthens positive feelings about your brand. Customers see your business as an authority and come to you first when they need solutions.
- Increases customer engagement: Customers don’t always contact you with questions and complaints. Blog comments provide an informal forum to share experiences and resolve issues. You can even improve negative customer experiences by showing commitment to fixing problems.
5 things you need for a successful blog
When blogs fall flat, it’s usually because business owners don’t know what they want to get out of it. Businesses have measurable goals, so your strategy should reflect your target results. Line up these key resources to make your blog work for your business.
1. Flexible hosting
The Web is loaded with free options for hosting a blog, such as WordPress.com, Blogger, and Medium. However, most free platforms limit how much you can customize and monetize your blog. The name of a free host platform also appears in your domain, which doesn’t project a professional image.
Self-hosting is the best option for professionals, letting you adapt the site features as your business grows. Many website platforms offer joint hosting, such as our FreeLogoServices website builder, while a free software, such as WordPress.org, requires a separate paid host.
As you shop around for hosting, look for these important features:
- Reliable servers with few outages and high uptime guarantee (site functionality)
- Unlimited hosting for multiple websites
- Add-on domain capabilities (hosting multiple domains linked to one site)
- E-commerce support (for monetizing a blog)
- Flexible volume support (able to handle spikes in traffic volume)
If you’re already using a self-hosted solution for your website, you can update or switch your theme to include a blog.
2. Lead-capturing tools
A business blog isn’t about sharing your deepest thoughts for fun. The work you put in should yield strong prospective customers that you eventually turn into paying customers. Make sure you have a simple, unobtrusive way to gain leads.
Try not to hound readers with multiple pop-ups, as they might ditch your blog altogether. Start with a basic subscription box to ask for email addresses. As you gain subscribers, you may decide to add data analytics, free downloads, consultation forms, or booking apps to get leads.
3. Responsive site layout
Most customer engagement is happening on screens these days, so your site has to perform well on many devices. An effective blog helps you manage posts with ease while providing a good reading experience for users.
Regardless of the platform you use, select a site theme that automatically adapts for mobile devices. Make sure the design is clean and legible with an optimized setup. Your blog should have organized tags, keywords, and dates, so posts are easy for readers to find.
4. Well-defined target audience
Make sure you have insight about the customer segments you want to reach. The audience should influence your topics, approach, and tone of writing. Readers want to feel like you’re speaking to them. To gain their trust, you need to understand what pain points drive them to look for help, ideas, and reviews.
Use surveys, customer service logs, and established blogs to find out what questions your audience is asking. Then, plug your topic ideas into a keyword research tool to further refine your focus.
5. Content strategy and schedule
Posting with purpose and frequency is the most important part of content marketing. It’s hard to establish yourself as an authority if there’s no logic to your posting schedule. To stay on track and get results:
- Define your objective before writing each post. Know what type of value you want to deliver. Do you want to teach readers how to do something? Share a new approach or idea? Ask for feedback? Spread awareness about an event or product solution?
- Avoid salesy posts. Yes, there’s an obvious conundrum here. Your goal is to boost sales, but you shouldn’t actually sound like a salesperson. Readers question your credibility and integrity the moment you start trying to sell them something. Disarm the reader’s natural aversion to advertising by providing insightful information with actionable tips.
- Create content themes around popular topics. Give your content a longer life by creating series of related topics. You probably have multiple customer segments, all with different questions and perspectives. Break a broad topic into smaller sub-topics, and offer in-depth information that readers can’t just find anywhere.
- Plan around business events and seasons. Don’t blindly jump into topic after topic. Plot out key events, sales trends, and shopping seasons that fuel your business. For example, a party supplier should plan content around wedding, holiday, and graduation seasons. A strategic blog builds up to influential moments. That way, customers have your products and tips on the brain as they make buying decisions.
Growing your ROI from your blog
Blogging success doesn’t happen overnight, but your efforts increasingly add to your ROI. At the same time, positive results depend on how well you serve your audience. A HubSpot study found that 10 percent of blog posts account for 38 percent of total traffic. This high-performing, evergreen content is known as compounding posts, and they keep people coming back to your site.
Compounding posts appeal to a broad audience and offer tactical advice, such as tutorials, reviews, and process definitions. Balancing broad and niche topics can help you attract diverse leads and increase brand loyalty and sales. In turn, you learn more about your audience and identify new markets to pursue.
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