Small business owners, especially those that deal largely in internet sales, need to use marketing techniques that draw a specific brand of customers. More than ever before, this means that people across the globe can purchase small businesses’ services or products no matter where they call home. The old term is “cottage industry” and it has become a reality for many business hopefuls. Because of this, small businesses can be more targeted in who they try to reach. Sales are going to happen because the market has expanded to billions of online purchases. Despite size, you can compete with anyone these days.
But, what does that have to do with business blogging?
We all understand that sales is not a part of blogging. Many different gurus have warned against this trend as people see those types of blogs as infomercials. Who wants to start reading something enjoyable only to find that they are being courted for a sale? No one. A business blog is about connecting with prospects and customers; it is about sharing yourself rather than your service and/or product.
How do you separate the two?
Sure, the blog is still a part of your marketing effort. It doesn’t matter how you do it, marketing is all about getting your name out there to the right people. A blog does that. Humans are relational animals… we run in packs. No one wants to be a lone wolf (or at least 99% of people don’t) because it is innate that we seek out others to connect with. That is why a blog is part of your marketing strategy whether you formally recognize it as part of that business element or not.
People will buy from you when they trust you. They will only trust you when they know you.
Take a large company like Walmart as an example. When you first realized that there was such a store, you probably heard from friends. Need an inexpensive tire, clothes for the kids, a shotgun, groceries? You can buy it at Walmart. The reason people trust Walmart is because they know through experience that they will be able to get what they need there. The same logic can be applied to any business.
Sure, you’re not in the same business as Walmart, but giving the customer what they need is the biggest part of the job. When you write a blog, you are selling yourself. Hopefully you are not making any overt attempt to sell something with your blog, but you are selling with your blog nonetheless. Your blog is about you and it is you that the prospect and customer want to know.
A blog is like a journal, in some respects, that discusses a particular expertise. Writers like to read blogs from other writers who have been successful. Carpenters like to read home improvement blogs. Online coaches will likely read successful small business blogs, marketing blogs, etc. These sites are not about sales, they are about giving. The blogger gives the reader something for free. It may be a piece of advice, information on a task they want to know how to do themselves, or how to run their business, etc. Whatever the blog is about, it is also about forging a relationship.
A blog is a conversation. You are not going to write something that may take hours of thought and excruciating time spent at a desktop hoping that no one reads what you upload. The idea is to have others read what you are saying in the hopes that you can connect with someone else. This connection may lead to sales or not, but it will give you something valuable.
So, why do you as a small business owner need a blog?
Yes, the relationship part is necessary, but there have to be other reasons as well. You are busy and writing a blog post and marketing it even twice a month can be time consuming. It takes away time that you could be actually producing, bringing in sales, providing services to clients or sending products to customers. Why should you take time out of your busy day to write a 500+ word article for your audience?
It gives you a chance to give back. You may have an opinion from your expertise that others need to know about. You may understand something on a level others do not. By giving back, you make yourself and others better.
Our job is to connect to people, to interact with them in a way that leaves them better than we found them, more able to get where they’d like to go.
~ Seth Godin
It can actually increase sales. Even if you never mention your company or the services or products you sell, some people will be interested enough in you to seek you out. This can lead to a deeper relationship and a loyal customer.
It gives you a better voice. Some people can write and others can’t. It is just a fact of life that people have different talents. So maybe you don’t believe you have anything to offer. Well, get someone to polish it up, but get your voice out there. You have something unique to offer the world. Also, you can improve your thought processes by doing it.
Small business owners need to use everything at their disposal to draw people to them. It is easier today because of the internet, but people will not know your name if you are not out there revealing you